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November 26, 2012

Walter Kazee

Leon McFadden

Dominique Sandifer

Q.  What are your thoughts?  You get to play BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl?
LEON McFADDEN:  It's just good to be rewarded with a bowl game after our success this season.  We're all excited about being able to play in Qualcomm Stadium in front of our San Diego County.

Q.  Do you regard BYU as a rival?
LEON McFADDEN:  No, not necessarily a rival.

Q.  How do you feel about them in general?
LEON McFADDEN:  Oh, just it's a good team.  We have respect for that team.  We're going to approach this game the way we've approached every other game.  Play to our highest ability and go out there and have fun.

Q.  Were you holding out hope at all for the Las Vegas Bowl, something different?  I know you've been to the Poinsettia Bowl already, perhaps something different?
DOMINIQUE SANDIFER:  No, a bowl game is a reward.  We set out what we wanted to do, and that is win the conference championship.  We did that, and now the bowl game is a reward for us at the end of the season.  We can go anywhere; we're just happy to have this opportunity.

Q.  How different is a bowl game as opposed to a regular game against a conference team at Qualcomm Stadium?
DOMINIQUE SANDIFER:  I mean, a bowl game is like I said, it's a reward.  So it's going to be good for the seniors and us.  We're in it how we began it at Qualcomm.  That's going to be fun to be in the stadium, the atmosphere of a bowl game.  We've been there three years in a row, I want to say, and it's always nice to have a nice reward at the end of the season, and especially this year being the Mountain West Conference Champions.

Q.¬† Did you guys expect to end up‑‑ I mean, the season to end this way with you guys winning the championship, 9‑3, going to your third straight bowl?
LEON McFADDEN:  Oh, yeah, definitely.  All season we talked about us seniors leading from the front and holding everybody accountable to their job.  Also, we started building this foundation when we went to the Poinsettia Bowl two years ago.  We've had the same mindset for the past couple years, and it all worked out after all the hard work.

Q.  All three of you guys were here two years ago when you went through BYU last and that whole replay fumble thing happened.  Is there any added edge or desire for revenge after that?
DOMINIQUE SANDIFER:  No, it's football.  It happens.  I mean, you can't control everything.  In football you're going to get calls your way, you're going to get calls against you.  I mean, you're going to get calls against you and calls for you.  It's just football.  It happened, and that's it.

Q.  Walter, when did you hear when you tore your ACL and you'll be done for the season?
WALTER KAZEE:  About halftime.  I went in and they told me it was torn.  But the team picked me up and went out there and got the job done, and we still won the game.

Q.  Can you reflect back on your Aztec career and everything you and the program have accomplished?
WALTER KAZEE:¬† It started out rough for us when I first got here.¬† We're not good as a team‑‑ well, we were good, but we've never really seen our potential.¬† And now that we've won the conference championship, it shows how much hard work we put in as a team staying together and believing in each other and obviously it paid off.

Q.  Do you remember what happened on the play that you tore your ACL?
WALTER KAZEE:  I think I hurt my knee my first run, and I just kept playing on it.  Then I finally couldn't run anymore after I made a cutting to back to my left, and that was the end of it.

Q.  So you pretty much stayed in for the entire half with a torn ACL?
WALTER KAZEE:  I think so.  I don't know when exactly I tore it, but, yeah, I've finished out the half.
LEON McFADDEN:  You've seen the commercial.  He's a tough guy.

Q.  You came out before that, right?  The first one, what happened there?  Was that related?
WALTER KAZEE:  Yeah, I think they all just kept happening every time I got hit.  It just tweaked it a little more every time, and then the last one just finally I couldn't do it anymore.

Q.  How do you describe the frustration of not getting to play anymore?
WALTER KAZEE:  It is very frustrating.  I love football, I love playing with these guys.  They're like my brothers, and I'm disappointed that I can't play.  But then again, I'm happy for the success we've had as a team.  It's been a great season for us, and I'm proud of these guys for bringing us this far.
It's just good.  I can't really be too disappointed, because we did what we said we were going to do this season, and it's happening.  This is just the reward.  But I'm going to be on the sidelines cheering my team on.

Q.  Leon, did you by chance see the charger game and the run where they ran on fourth down?  What did you think of that?
LEON McFADDEN:  Yeah, I was actually at the game, and I saw that.  Just guys fuelling asleep.  Ray Rice was hungry for the first down, and guys didn't make plays when they needed to make plays, and that's what happened.  It's disappointing that he wasn't down before the first down marker.  But, with football, it's a tough game, and you saw who was the tougher person in that situation.

Q.  Coach said that really the biggest benefit of being in a bowl game were the extra practices.  You guys didn't have that last year.  How beneficial is it to have the extra practices heading into a bowl game?
DOMINIQUE SANDIFER:  I think they'll be good for us.  It's always good to practice more against your opponent.  Get to know what they do a little better and make us more prepared for the game.

Q.  Is it also kind of like a spring practice type of feel, like practice three times a week and the young guys scrimmaging and stuff.
DOMINIQUE SANDIFER:  Yeah, with the extra bowl practices, it's always good for the younger guys in a program.  Some of the guys who didn't get to play this year, those extra practices can help them and condition them for next year.  So at the same time, we're playing for the bowl game now, but it's also building for our future, and that's something you really want to have.

Q.¬† Coach said after the game he thought the two‑week layoff had an affect in the way you guys played in the first half.¬† Like now there is a month‑long layoff between now and when you're going to play in the bowl game.¬† How do you keep motivated and keep that momentum going?
WALTER KAZEE:  I think we just have to keep the energy high.  Obviously, we don't want that to happen again like what happened the last game.  So we just have to put emphasis on going out there and practicing fast and playing hard because stuff like that can happen in a football game.
LEON McFADDEN:  As Walter was saying, the energy has to stay consistent.  As seniors and captains on the team, we have to keep the younger guys motivated and let them know that this hard work we've put in this last year is not over yet.  We have one more game.

Q.  Did the energy seem like it's a little dead in the first half of the last game?
WALTER KAZEE:  I don't think it was just dead.  I think we felt like we were going to win the game, and nobody came prepared, and then we realized we were in a fight just like every game you feel like it's a fight.  So at halftime we stepped our game up and got the job done.

Q.  Where did you watch the rest of the game from?
WALTER KAZEE:  On the sideline.  I was out there after the doctor told me I was out.  Just got dressed and went back out to the game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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