Stoops: My compliments to coach (Bill) Callihan, his staff, the Nebraska football team. It was a fun, hard-fought game. They played well, we played well.
Everybody had their moments at different times. We just, fortunately, made some big plays to start the game. We made some good turnovers defensively, the huge drive coming off our own 1-yard line. Paul was sensational throughout that drive.
We just played great, great defense the entire night. Starting the third quarter, I don't know how many times they had possessions with great field position and we were able to come up with stops.
Just feel fortunate and blessed to be able to work with players like Malcolm (Kelly), and the guys in the locker room are just a special group of players. Very selfless, very much of a team.
They just pulled together the entire year and never made excuses. We had plenty of excuses if we chose to grab on to them — nobody ever did. They just kept working through the year.
And the assistant coaches deserve a great deal of credit. Managing the different personnel changes we've had through the year, they've done it in a great, great way. Again, just fortunate to work with all these people.
On if he told Kevin Wilson to 'keep it going, keep rolling' after the big pass to Jermaine Gresham
Stoops: I don't have to tell Kevin. Everyone makes an issue. We felt the way they were trying to defend us the opportunities were there (to pass), and we were gonna keep taking advantage of it.
I don't tell Kevin what to do. Ocassionally, he'll ask me my opinion in certain situations when he wants my opinion. But I'm listening all the time and he did an excellent job.
On how big was the pass from Thompson to Gresham on third down down at the half-yard line
Stoops: Huge. When you get that big one on third and 14 from your own one-yard line that's pretty big. I don't know if that's exactly right, but it was a big play.
On the resiliency of the defense
Stoops: They were awesome. Maybe one of our best defensive games. We gave up a couple big plays, but again compliments to Nebraska. They're a good football team and they're going to do that.
But boy did we come up with a lot of big plays, turnovers and stops when we really had to have them. I just thought the secondary, I thought the coverage was just outstanding. They came with interceptions, pressure was there.
Outside of a few plays, we settled in and really defended the run, which we felt the biggest part of the game and played it well.
On Malcolm Kelly's touchdown pass where he was able to get one foot in bounds
Stoops: Paul threw a great ball. Malcolm's a big target and he can go up for the ball. Paul knows that and he put it in a great spot. And again, he (Kelly) has the ability to be able to get a foot down and make a big play.
On if they went into the game with the mentality that they would pass as much as they did, or did that develop as the game progressed
Stoops: We went in ready to throw the ball a good amount. We felt the way they would try to defend us that it would be there, and we would have to be able to work it throwing the football more. So it was about according to plan.
On the play of Paul Thompson tonight and this season
Stoops: He's the best. He's what you want. If you could go out and recruit guys like him every single day you would — his character, his toughness, his attitude, his leadership.
He's in that huddle with a bunch of young guys that they all look to him. He's been kinda like their pops (laughs). He's been a great influence on all of those young guys in the huddle.
On if the 99-yard drive was the biggest plays of the game
Stoops: Drive of year. Without question. It was huge. Just a lot of great plays.
I thought Paul threw some great balls on that whole series and we executed in a great way and punched it in. That was a big blow to them.
On playing Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl
Stoops: That'd be great. I've been lucky and fortunate to be in a lot of bowls, and all the BCS bowls but the Fiesta Bowl.
As a coach, I haven't been in it or as a player. I talked about that with my wife, Carol, this week. That would be pretty special to win a Big 12 Championship and play in the one I haven't been fortunate enough to be in.
I know John Junker and the people at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl are some of the best. They're as classy as they come, so I'm sure it will be a great trip.
We're excited to play Boise. Are they already in? I haven't paid attention. That tells you where my mind's been. If that's the case, then great. It's a great bowl and we're looking forward to it.
On this team being more competitive than his previous teams that won the Big 12, who seemed to be more dominant
Stoops: That's fair to say. Super competitive, resilient. Just a great will and determination to 'em. All of those.
Maybe we're not in a position where we're blowing people out by 30, but that's OK. There's a lot of different ways to win and I think this team as found that.
We trust our defense in tight situations, our offense comes up with plays when we have to, our kicking game's been solid all year. I think you say it in a really good way and I would agree with that. They're just incredibly competitive.
On with what happened to USC today, did the thoughts on what happened against Oregon creep in today on what 'might have been' for you
Stoops: You know what? We can't do anything about it. For us to sit here and make an issue of it is not going to come off the right way. So you guys call it what you want and we're going to get ourselves ready to play the next game.
We'll have some great bowl practices, work out young players and keep developing them and look forward to the challenge in the Fiesta Bowl, and enjoying the Fiesta Bowl.
Stoops on title: "They just pulled together"
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