Game Talk

Sims gets in on the game-ending tackle (Getty)

Mason Crosby's 55-yard field goal in the fourth quarter proved to be the winning margin. Crosby, and several of his teammates talk about the win, some of the key plays that occured, and what the Buffs need to work on in the coming weeks.

Mason Crosby
Crosby's 55-yard field goal in the fourth quarter ended up being the margin of victory for the Buffs. It tied for the fourth longest in CU history, and the first 50-plus yarder since Mitch Berger hit a 54-yarder vs. Miami in 1993.

Question: What were you thinking when you were lining up for that 55-yarder?
Answer:
It kind of surprised me because they had called punt team out there. And then I guess during the time out (Coach Barnett) changed his mind. I really didn't have time to think about it, I just ran out there and kicked it, and everyone blocked.

Then it was awesome what the defense did out there on that last stop.

Q: When you hit it, could you tell it was going through?
MC:
Yeah, when I hit it I looked once and then I just started celebrating. It was so exciting.

James Garee
After giving up 403 yards through the air to Justin Holland and Company, the Buffs made a goal line stand as time ran out to preserve the win. Jordon Dizon stopped Marcus Houston on a 2nd and 1, and J.J. Billingsley tackled Tristan Walker on the next and final play.

Q: Can you imagine a more exciting way to end this game?
James Garee:
No. It wasn't perfect, but we won.

Q: You guys did what you had to do.
JG:
We did. We were struggling, but we picked it up when it mattered. We showed heart. This team has great heart.

Bobby Purify
Purify carried 26 times for 189 yards (7.3 per carry). He became the 15th player in CU history to run for 2,000 career yards with the effort, and he now stands at No. 11 on the all-time chart. He had to leave the game in the second quarter after his vision blurred following a play.

On the play that caused him to leave in the second quarter.
BP:
The top of my helmet came down (during a tackle, and pressed against my eye) and kind of blurred my vision. When the helmet came down, the forehead pad pinned my eye at the same time somebody hit it, and that pinned my eye back and made me real dizzy.

Jolly had to go in for a few series because I couldn't really see. I had to take of a few plays and regain my focus.

Q: How satisfying was it to come back and have a game like this after being hurt last year?
BP: It was very satisfying. I don't care if I had run for negative five yards as long as I helped my team get the win. That's our main focus right now, just to keep on trucking.

Q: Could you see an improvement in the offensive line play from last year?
BP: Can you guys see the improvement? I wasn't getting hit until about 7 or 8 yards down the field, and that was by the secondary. Our receivers did a great job, Lawrence (Vickers) did a great job, tight ends did a great job, everybody.

Terrence Wheatley
The CU pass defense gave up several big plays. David Anderson led the Rams with 9 catches for 156 yards, most coming in the second half.

On why CSU got into a passing rhythm in the second half.
TW:
A lot of the stuff that happened was basically our fault. A couple blown coverages and a couple people not doing their assignments. It was pretty much everything we've seen from them, so it really boiled down to what we did.

It's all correctable things. Some of the plays that they made were just great catches. There's nothing we can do about that. There's no technique to stopping stuff like that.

We definitely feel about playing a game and show everybody that what happened in the offseason is behind us. But again, to give up some of the plays we did is kind of hard to swallow. But we'll just watch film and make the corrections needed and get ready for Washington State.

Brian Iwuh
Iwuh's interception and return for a touchdown put the Buffs up 27-17 at the time. It was his first career pick. And, remarkably, it was the 10th time in the past 13 years that a CU player has returned his first career interception for a score.

On the interception
BI:
The game was just coming down to whoever was playing the hardest. And we hadn't had a turnover the whole game. When we came off the field our coaches were preaching, ‘Get a turnover! Get a turnover!' I wanted to step up and get one, and I'm happy I was able to get that chance.

Q: When you caught that did you have a sense you could get to the end zone?
BI:
I just ran. I guess it was a miracle. I thought I was going to fall down I was so tired. But I managed to make it there. And the team really hustled to get blocks for me. That's probably why I got it.

Matt McChesney
On the final goal line stand
MM:
We just put so much into making sure we won this game. When we got down there there was no other option. We either stopped them, or they kicked a field goal and we went into overtime. There was never a doubt in anyone's mind on this team that we were going to win this game.

Q: What were you saying in the huddle those last two plays at the end?
MM:
They gotta get in to beat us. And if they don't get in, they don't beat us. And we said they weren't getting in. They didn't, and they didn't win, and they can take that back to Fort Collins again.

Q: Were you surprised they didn't try to pass down there at the goal line?
MM:
They didn't have anymore timeouts so I thought they would try a pass. But after they got the one, they pride themselves on being a physical team, and they are a physical team. And there was no doubt in my mind they were going to try and put in by running the ball.

Q: Thinking about the problems in the second half, what do you need to change on defense?
MM:
We've got to patch up some holes. There was problems in coverage, and there was problems when we didn't get to the quarterback. They did a real good job of mass protection all night. They were very efficient. But our guys played really hard, and I'm proud of the secondary. They didn't quit. But we've got to look at the tape.

There's no excuses. Youth isn't an excuse anymore. We can't use that as an excuse. Some things happened and we've got to patch it up.

They did some different slide protection stuff that we weren't anticipating. But we just gotta look at the tape and get better for Washington State, who also won a close game this weekend.

J.J. Billingsley
On the final game-saving tackle
JB:
I was just listening to Coach Bray in my head saying, ‘Read your keys, J., read your keys!' So I thought all right, I'll read my keys. And when the tackle pulled, usually when they do that on the goal line, they throw that little pitch out. So I just ran to the pitch, and beat everybody before they could block me.

It was fast, but we knew the play. We read our keys and played.

(When I hit him) I heard cheering. And we were so closed to the CSU fans, I was like, ‘Dang, he scored!' But then I looked up and he was on the three outside the goal line.

I hit him first and then I felt somebody cleaning him up.

NOTES

Tunnel of Fans
More than 1,000 fans showed up more than two hours before kickoff and lined Stadium drive from Folsom Ave., up to the Dal Ward Center in order to greet the team when it arrived. Two buses carrying the players stopped and the players and coaches walked through the cheering tunnel of fans to the locker room.

"I really liked that," Brian Iwuh said after the game. "That showed us that there is people out there that really care about us, and are really supporting us, and it's not just all the negative things that have been going on this past year."

Record Crowd
A record 54,954 were in attendance. That eclipsed the previous record of 54,215 set last season vs. Oklahoma.

In recent years, Colorado crowds have fallen into the habit of arriving to the stadium right before kickoff. The CU students broke that tradition Saturday, nearly filling their section — 12,000 strong — a good half an hour before the start of the game and stood on their feet through the entire CU warm-ups.

Surprise Starters
There were two surprise starters on defense. At corner Lorenzo Sims and Gerett Burl were in the lineup at the game's outset, after Terrence Wheatley had been listed No. 1 on the depth chart opposite Burl earlier in the week. Wheatley, however, battled a groin injury during preseason camp, and Sims and Burl got a lot of reps in August.

Also, free safety Tyrone Henderson started in place of J.J. Billingsley, who had a sore knee. Billingsley entered the game in the second quarter. He said afterwards that his knee was still feeling a bit sore, but that he expected to be 100-percent for the Washington State game. The only other injury was to Iwuh, who had a slight shoulder issue. He is probable for WSU. Brandon Caesar and

Five True Frosh See Action
As expected, LB Jordon Dizon started Saturday, becoming the first LB to start a season opener in CU history, and only the sixth to start a season opener at any position. He ended the game tied for most on the team in tackles with nine.

DE Alonzo Barrett also saw his first action, as expected. The surprise came when WR Reggie Joseph, RB Byron Ellis, and WR Patrick Williams also got in the game.

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