View from the locker room: Jay Cutler

In his final game as a collegian, Jay Cutler threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns in a thrilling 28-24 win over Tennessee. The senior went out in style, as his last pass turned out to be the game-winning touchdown. Here's the complete text of Cutler's final college postgame press conference.

Q: Jay, how is the team handling this vitory in the locker room?

Jay Cutler: I think we're definitely in shock right now. I don't think it's really hit us yet. Obviously it's unbelievable, to go out with a win... for the seniors, for this program, for Nashville, for Vanderbilt... it's going to be very memorable.

Q: They stopped you the whole second half. What kind of adjustments did you make on that last drive?

A: We went back to what we had been doing in the past. [It was] what has worked on the past two-minute [drills]. We just went back to basics. Earl [Bennett] and I were just playing football out there, me throwing to him.

Q: Talk about the last touchdown.

A: I was just gonna stick it in there one way or another. Earl was getting the ball. He knew it, and I think they knew it too. That was the plan. I threw it low and hard, and he picked it up.

Q: Jay, what are your thoughts on Tennessee's final drive. You were just sitting over there, and it looked like you didn't want to look at what was going on.

A: (Laughs.) I was a little nervous! We had had trouble stopping them all day long. But our defense has made big stops all year long, especially with time running out. They stepped up once again. It's tough, with time running out, and they made big plays.

Q: On that last play with Clausen, you're on the phone to the pressbox. Who were you talking to?

A: I was talking to the quarterbacks coach, Coach [Jimmy] Kiser. I was just trying to get a few words from him before it was over.

Q: What were you asking him?

A: I was just asking him, what do you think? He said, I think we're going to stop them. I said, I think so too.

Q: How difficult was it to walk off the field those two times late, and Bobby decided to punt?

A: It was a good decision. It was tough though. They were messing around doing some different stuff. We were doing some new stuff. On that last drive we went back to our basic two-minute drill, and that's what got it for us.

Q: Does this soften the blow after last week?

A: Definitely. We didn't get to a bowl game. We didn't get to our goal, but to go out on top like this against Tennessee when it's been so long, it's going to mean a lot.

Q: Jay, are you going to think about life after Vanderbilt yet, or are you just going to be a college kid for a while?

A: No, I'm a college kid for a few more weeks here. It's going to be hard leaving these guys. Just seeing them in the locker room, they've meant a lot to me through the years, and they're going to mean a lot to me in the future. The other stuff will come soon enough, but for the next few weeks I'm still a senior.

Q: I know you're still a kid, but to see guys like [Vanderbilt equipment manager] Luke Wyatt, and you see what this win means to them. Is it cool to feel a part of history?

A: Definitely. You see those grown men that are just crying, because it's been so long since we won. It's tough to tell just how much it means to Vandy and to the program, and what a huge win it really is.

Q: You went to Earl every time on that last scoring drive. Teams are keying in on him. What was he doing to get open?

A: We're putting him in spots where he's probably going to get the ball, where it's likely the throw is going to be. Then it's just me throwing it up to Earl. We've got a different play called, and I just know that he's running the fly [pattern]. Not many people can guard him. We knew the corner that was on him was a little weaker. All game we never really got a shot to take it to him. There at the end it was just Earl making football plays.

Q: If you had to pick one team you wanted to beat, is Tennessee the team?

A: I don't know. To our seniors I don't think the rivalry really means as much, because we haven't won in so long. We wanted to get out to a good start. We're trying to renew the rivalry, make it a little more competitive, and I think the next couple of years it's gonna be.

Q: Jay, when you run out on offense with a minute and a half left, no time outs, were you feeling doubt, or confidence, or what?

A: Confidence. We've been there many times before, and we've executed. That first play always seems to be a big one. We always seem to pick up a lot of yards on that first play and get the ball moving and get the defense a little flustered. We did it once again. I hit Earl, and we were off to the races.

Q: You've had so much heartache in your career. Once that clock turned 0:00, what was it like?

A: It was just unbelievable. All the ups and downs we've had. For us to go out on top, and the seniors and the rest of this program to go out on top, it means a lot. I think when we look back, the other games are going to fade from memory, but I think this one is going to last a long time.

Q: Are you having dinner with family and friends tonight?

A: Possibly!

Above photo by Stan Jones.

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