NR/NR/NR BAYLOR (7-6, 3-6) 31, RV/RV/NR BOISE STATE (10-3, 6-2) 12
CHASE FIELD • PHOENIX, ARIZ.
DEC. 27, 2016 • ATTENDANCE: 33,328
THE MODERATOR: We'll begin with opening comments from Coach Grobe.
COACH GROBE: Well, that was fun. Fun for me, especially, because of the players. I love these guys. You know, everybody talks to me all the time about how tough this must have been.
But honestly, it's been an honor for me to have the opportunity to be with these young guys. Some of the best kids I've ever been around.
I'm proud of our coaching staff. We hit a couple of bumps in the road midway through the season, and we kind of regrouped and took us a couple of weeks and finally got the players regrouped a little bit. And I thought down the stretch, especially at West Virginia, I thought we played really well and had a chance and didn't make it happen.
So tonight's very rewarding for me to get a win, to watch our kids play as hard as they did tonight, to get out there and have fun playing football and get a win.
And so for me I'm very gratified that we won tonight. But mostly because of our players and our coaches. They've put in a lot of hard work. And I'm just blessed and honored to have a chance to be here this season with these coaches and players.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Jim, that was probably the most dominating performance of the year, considering the opponent. Did you see that coming from both sides of the ball?
COACH GROBE: Honestly, no. I'd like to say yes and it would make me seem really smart. But I didn't see that coming. I know Boise State had a great year. Could easily have been undefeated, and they have great tradition.
And we knew we had our work cut out for us. They did a lot of things on both sides of the ball that gave us problems coming in. First, I'd like to congratulate them for being here, and I thought their kids played really, really hard tonight. I thought they were well coached and played hard.
But from my standpoint, you know, I was really going into the game hoping to be there in the fourth quarter with a chance. And we got a lot of big plays on both sides of the football and just probably played as hard as we've played this year.
And the one thing that was really fun for me tonight is our kids enjoyed it. You know, a lot of smiles on the sideline. A lot of kids playing hard and enjoying being out on the field. Our guys looked like kids out there playing, and that was fun.
Q. What does this mean especially for the senior class, because they have accomplished a lot in their four years, winning two Big 12 Championships and going through and overcoming the last 12 months? What is this like for the senior class here?
COACH GROBE: Well, it's got to be very, very rewarding for our guys. You know, I think it was maybe, the things that we've gone through this season have maybe been the hardest on the seniors. I think it's been hard on our entire football team to stay focused.
But it's really been hard on seniors going into their final year. And so much was directed off the field, you know, directed to outside stuff that had nothing to do with football.
And so for our seniors to hang in there the way they have, show the leadership they've shown, and to actually finish it off, you know, to play great in their last game, I think, you know, it just tells you what kind of character our kids have. And I think those seniors gave us some great leadership, especially these last few weeks getting ready for a bowl game.
We wanted to be here. We wanted to be here. Our guys wanted to play again. And I think that came more than anything from our senior class.
Q. Do you think there was carry over from West Virginia because of how you played despite the loss? And when you keep saying how much fun they had, when was the last time they did that?
COACH GROBE: Well, I think there was so much pressure on our guys and so many things going on in the middle of the year that there was a lot of stress, both with our coaching staff and with our players.
As the season went on, I think that went down a little bit. I think our coaches finally calmed down. I think the players kind of settled down. And we kept working really, really hard, but I just didn't sense a lot of joy.
And when we went to West Virginia, I felt like we wanted to play well when we were up in Arlington, but we turned the ball over a bunch and just didn't play our best football.
And then at West Virginia I sensed something different. It seemed like, hey, let's go have fun, let's go play football, let's go beat a really good football team. We came close.
And tonight it was just an extension of that. Really as I watched our players, I thought these guys are having a ball. These guys are really enjoying playing tonight.
Q. Aiavion, how key was that to stop the running game like you did, and then creating the turnovers, particularly down in the red zone?
Aiavion Edwards: It was huge for us. This whole week preparing, we've been preparing for the run game. They've done a great job this season. Their running back has done an amazing job. He's one of the best.
And we knew we had to stop that, and once we did that, I think that it made our game plan and made their game plan a lot simpler.
Q. Zach, you went to KD all night and he really burned them. Was it something about their defense, or what was happening out there that you kept going back to him?
Zach Smith: Yeah, I mean, they were just kind of giving us some one-on-one coverage, and with KD and with him on anyone one-on-one we think it's a win for us.
So I just tried to -- I go to him on some plays and he gets the job done. He's a big play-maker, so I go to him and he usually gets the job done.
Q. Zach, how much have you grown up, and where are you now compared to that moment when all of a sudden Seth Russell was injured against Oklahoma?
Zach Smith: I'm the same guy, but I feel like I have a lot more underneath my belt and a lot more confident in my game and going out there and going and getting the win.
This is a huge win for this program, I mean this team, the seniors, and it's going to translate over to next year. So it's a great time and I feel a whole lot more confident.
Q. Zach, building off of that, that was arguably your best performance as a starter. How important in the last game of the season, with what you've said, with next year coming soon, to put the right foot forward now?
Zach Smith: Yeah, I mean, I think it's huge. To go out and lose the last six games and then come in and win this game -- I'm sorry about that -- but win this game, I think it's huge going into next year, because I mean we're going to have a lot of confidence knowing what we can do, and we just showed a little bit of what we can do tonight. So that's huge going into next year, and we're going to build on it.
Q. Jim, you've said all along it's not about you, but how good did this feel? And then was that kind of a special moment when the players dumped the Gatorade on you?
COACH GROBE: Yeah, you know, I don't want to downplay how excited I am and happy that we won the last game. I mean, it's going to be a big win that stays with me for a long, long time. I'm truly blessed to get a win tonight.
I appreciate the guys giving me that. I'm just -- I told the team in the locker room after the game, what an honor it's been for them to let me in their family. And I'm sure when I first got here, you know, they were scratching their heads about this Grobe guy.
But tonight, you know, when they throw a bucket of Gatorade on you it makes you feel pretty good. So it's just an honor. And we've been through a lot this season, and I see Mack Rhoades sitting back there, and I've got to thank Mack for the support he's given me and our staff.
And Dr. Garland, I have to thank him. I think he has been a really steady influence. And so for me, personally, we've had a lot of help. We've had a lot of help. I've had a lot of help. And, but it was kind of fun getting dunked.
Q. Jim, there's been so much said, written about this Baylor football program. You've been in the middle of it now for the last six months. What will you say about this program with what you saw these players and coaches overcome?
COACH GROBE: Well, we've got, first of all, we've got a great school. Baylor is a fantastic school. We've got great people at Baylor. And the fun thing, I think, going forward, you know Zach kind of alluded to it, right now as far as graduation, we lose one guy on offense. We lose Kyle Fuller, the center, on offense.
Defensively I think we maybe lose three seniors on the defensive side of the ball. So a lot of these guys have an opportunity to come back, and I don't think Mack could have hired a better guy than Matt Rhule. I think Matt Rhule's going to a great job here. He's going to do great things.
And we've got depth issues. That's going to be a problem going forward. But I do think that we've got a great nucleus coming back next year for Matt to work with. And we'll lose some old guys like this guy on my right that will be missed.
But it's just been, for me, I just can't begin to tell you what an honor it's been to be at Baylor. Baylor Nation is fantastic and I couldn't be more proud.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
BOISE STATE POSTGAME QUOTES
THE MODERATOR: We'll begin with opening comments from Coach Harsin.
COACH HARSIN: All right. Well, first of all, congratulations to Baylor. They played extremely well. That was a good football team. We knew that coming in. And we didn't really even talk about their record because we knew what type of football team they had.
Disappointed, obviously. Wanted to come in here and play better. And certainly thought that we prepared to do that and it didn't show tonight. I did think that our guys played hard; we just didn't come out with some of the things we needed to execution-wise when it was all said and done. That responsibility falls on me making sure that these guys are prepared.
But still very proud of this team and told those guys that in the locker room. Proud of the senior group. We've had a tremendous group of young men that are seniors right now that we're going to miss.
And you started looking around that room, there's some hard guys to replace. At the same time, we've got a team coming back that we've got to learn from this moving forward, and find a way to be better in the end when it's all said and done.
But proud of our coaches and players. Disappointed that we didn't get the win tonight. But certainly did see our guys go out there and fight. Just came up short there at the end. So, with that, open it up for questions.
Q. The red zone struggles again, second game in a row, four trips inside the red zone you get six points. How tough was that?
COACH HARSIN: You saw it. Your question answers itself. It's really tough. When you're playing a team, doesn't matter who you're playing, you're trying to score points when you get in the red zone. We didn't do that. The field goals, they're only going to last so long.
You've got to find ways to get six points on the board, and we didn't do that tonight.
Q. Surprised at all, I think a lot of people maybe not you guys, but a lot of people expected Baylor to come out slow and uninspired. It seemed like they looked motivated. Maybe you came out slow. The start of the game, were you surprised at all about how that went?
COACH HARSIN: Was I surprised that Baylor played hard and do they have good players? No, not at all. I thought we started fast. We had a turnover early on in the game.
And that's a fast start for us, too. So I thought both sides came out ready to play. But no, we didn't think that Baylor was not going to come out there and show up. We thought we'd come out and play as well, which we did early on.
Q. Tough sledding on the ground for Jeremy. I think 46 yards, 19 carries. What were they doing, I guess, for him not to have much success?
COACH HARSIN: I don't think it was him. They did a good job up front. They moved their "D" line and they got on some edges. But I thought he ran hard. We just got behind. We had to get into position, too, where we had to throw it a little bit more.
We were not able to run it as much as we would like to. But I thought when he did run it -- early on they did a good job. I thought we settled in, found a few concepts that were working well for us and he was running physical.
And then we needed to throw the ball a little bit to get ourselves back into field position and try to get some touchdowns. But they did a good job with their safeties at times where we couldn't get to them and some of the wide receivers. But I thought he ran really hard and did a good job tonight in pass protection as well.
Q. Have you all played against a faster receiver than KD Cannon? And how difficult was it to contain him?
COACH HARSIN: Well, yeah, he's one of the most elite wide receivers in the country. He's one of those top players. We've seen some really good ones.
And I thought our guys did a good job. He's going to make plays. You can't double cover him the entire time.
There are other guys on the team that can go out there and play, but he's certainly a great player and a guy that you gotta make sure that you know where he's at all the time. And he made some plays tonight and made great catches.
But we've anticipated it and we've seen some great players too on the perimeter. I thought our guys battled well against him and knew what they were getting into.
Q. How costly were the two interceptions from Brett? You were driving both times?
COACH HARSIN: We talk about turnovers all the time, right? Whether it's a fumble or in special teams or an interception, either way they're all costly. And we had some opportunities there. And they also made plays, too.
Without going back and just watching exactly what happened, Baylor also went up and made some plays. They did a good job on the defensive side, which they've got good players. But it certainly slows you when you have those turnovers and you're taking points off the board, regardless.
And your defense has got to go back out in the field.
Q. Do you feel like the game kind of turned a little bit on the roughing-the-punter call that may or may not have happened? It seemed like after that they got some momentum back.
COACH HARSIN: That was a big penalty. I'm not going to comment on the call itself. But it was a momentum-changer, yes. I thought our defense did a good job. We got a stop in there.
And then we had an opportunity to get the ball back, probably with fairly decent field position as well. And that penalty came up and it gives them a first down.
So anytime -- that's a possession taken away from you when you do that. And the defense had played well in that drive. So that opportunity did hurt us.
Q. Do you think the defense played well enough to win this game? And comment on that effort and how the offense had to play based on how many points you had to score?
COACH HARSIN: Yeah, you know, overall no because we didn't win the game. I wouldn't say anybody on our team -- special teams, offense or defense -- because we didn't win the football game.
Certainly the offense did not put up the points that we hoped they would. And this is an entire team. If we start breaking it down by phase and somebody did this, somebody did that, that's not what we're about.
So we should have put up more points. We wanted to put up more points. We had some opportunities there. Was hoping in the special teams area we could get some more field position.
I thought we had some good opportunities there with returns. We slipped on a few. But overall this is a team game. So we didn't win the game. That happens to fall on the team. Happens to fall on me, and you gotta give Baylor credit, too, they came out and played well.
Q. You look at the guy on your left and on your right. What will you remember most about this senior class?
COACH HARSIN: Yeah. Well, I said it. There's a lot and too much for me to talk about right now.
It's a fantastic group. It really is. And these guys, they came here to play in games like this. They came here to play under the expectations that we have. And these guys have left a legacy not just on the football field but with this team, with these young players, with this coaching staff, with this program.
This has been a group of guys now that -- I've been doing this for a while and this senior class is really special. And so when I said that, you look around there, and yes, every year you're going to lose a group of seniors.
This one's going to be a tough one not only because of what they did on the field, but because of who they are and what they've brought. And we had adversity this season. We've had some things happen to us that have not been favorable. And these guys never once flinched or folded. And they would come back and try to lead this football team just like we did after the Air Force game into this one.
And that's what these guys have brought to this program is that. And they'll continue that. When they go on and play or they go on and do whatever they do, this is the mentality that this group of seniors have.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.