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VIZIO FIESTA BOWL: BOISE STATE v ARIZONA


December 31, 2014


Jay Ajayi

Donte Deayon

Bryan Harsin

Grant Hedrick

Thomas Sperbeck

Tanner Ross


GLENDALE, ARIZONA

Boise State テや 38
Arizona テや 30


THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll start with an opening comment from Coach Harsin.
COACH HARSIN:テつ Thank you.
What an awesome game between both teams.テつ I really mean that.テつ We have tremendous respect for Arizona.テつ We did coming into this game.テつ There's a reason why they're a top‑10 team.
I know our players, there wasn't a whole lot of motivating throughout this bowl prep, all you had to do was pop the tape on.
I want to congratulate Arizona, first, on their season, being in this game, playing a hard‑fought game against us.
On the flipside of that, our team, we talked about four quarters, we talked about every unit having to play their very best.テつ I thought we started fast offensively and defensively.
Obviously Arizona is going to make some plays.テつ They made some adjustments.テつ We didn't have the second half on the offensive side, but we did do enough.テつ We kept battling and fighting.テつ I thought the defense really stepped up.テつ We had a turnover on defense that went for a touchdown.
Those are things in games when you've got that and you can score, especially on defense, you're probably going to win the game.テつ That showed up.
But most importantly, really proud of our team, just the way they fought, their demeanor and their mentality leading into this entire game.テつ It doesn't happen just on game day for three and a half hours.テつ They've been doing this for the last two weeks of preparing themselves, to come out here and play on this stage their very best.
Our coaches did a fantastic job prepping these guys and having a great game plan for them, getting them ready.テつ But these guys, this group of guys up here, the rest of their teammates, they're the ones that got it done.
Really proud to represent this program and be a part of it and excited about our Fiesta Bowl win.テつ This is the best bowl game we believe.テつ We appreciate Vizio for sponsoring it as well, and for us to be a part of it.
Just another awesome opportunity for the Broncos to come on a stage and play like this at the highest level, go out there and win.テつ It says a lot about our players, coaches and program.

Q.テつ The Statue of Liberty play is a famous play.テつ Had you run that this year?テつ If not, how much of a smile was on your face when you put it into the game plan?
COACH HARSIN:テつ We ran it and scored on it earlier in the year.テつ We just did it differently.
That's one of our plays.テつ You know what, tonight when we called it, I thought Coach Sanford was spot on with the timing of it, the way it was designed.テつ Obviously you hand the ball off.
I saw probably one of the best stiff arms I've ever seen in a game by Jay.テつ Jay was determined to get in there.テつ He did a tremendous job of making a guy miss, then also basically putting the guy right there on him, not letting him tackle.
Just overall a great play by everybody out there executing it.テつ It is fun to have that play in this game, too, as well.

Q.テつ Tanner and Donte, what did it mean to have the game put on you defensively?テつ Donte, take us through the pick six?
TANNER VALLEJO:テつ Obviously we got through clutch every day in practice, at least once a week.テつ The coaches prepared us.テつ They hit us.テつ We stiffened up, came out with the win.
DONTE DEAYON:テつ Like he said, we practice it every week, clutch.テつ Sometimes it comes down to us making a play to win the game, or it comes down to us buckling down and getting a stop, four downs.テつ On the interception he scrambled, I stayed on the receiver's hip pocket.テつ He threw it back across his body, and I went in and undercut him.

Q.テつ Is it enough for a Group of 5 team to get to one of these games and win it, or under the current system, a group‑of‑five team will get a fair shake at the top four?
COACH HARSIN:テつ I think this.テつ We've talked about in our program for a long time being a power program long before power conference ever came into play.
Jeff Long made a comment when he was making a decision on putting teams together, we look at the type of program this team comes from.テつ I think we're a program that has shown over the years with our winning percentage, you can do the math, look at the stats, I think we've done a pretty good job of proving we're a pretty good football team.テつ We played well on the biggest stage, this game in particular.
So to me, I think it's a good thing for us.テつ I think if we can get in that five, six, crack it, things go our way, all of a sudden we're four.テつ Why would you want to see a Boise State playing against an Alabama?テつ Let's see.テつ Let's get the matchup out there.テつ I don't know what's going to happen.
But that's an opportunity.テつ I like to believe that.テつ I like to believe we have that chance to do that.テつ Ultimately I think every football team, Division I team, wants to play for a national championship.テつ We're no different.
But this program's been a power program for a while.テつ We hope we can continue that through our academics and winning, exposure, taking care of these student‑athletes.テつ If we can do those things, hopefully we can put ourselves in a position for that.

Q.テつ Grant, how much is the play from 2007 still talked about on campus and the program?テつ How excited were you when the call came in?
GRANT HEDRICK:テつ We put the play in a couple weeks ago.テつ To be in this type of game, the Fiesta Bowl, to run the Statue of Liberty play, it's awesome.テつ Vintage Boise State.テつ For it to be successful, Jay had a heck of a run on it.テつ It was a lot of fun running that in this type of game.

Q.テつ Grant and Jay, Mike Sanford said you put a spin on it yelling, I'm going to throw it.テつ Jay, I guess you ducked.テつ Did you throw an extra wrinkle onto it?
JAY AJAYI:テつ Yeah, I mean, in practice this week we just wanted to work on, every time we ran the play in practice, work on the showmanship of the play because you do have to sell it pretty good just to be able to get the defense to bite.
Grant did a good job of selling like he was going to pass to J Mack.テつ I sold it like I was pass protecting.テつ I just ducked.テつ After that, it was just instinct, playing football.
GRANT HEDRICK:テつ It's kind of fun to put your flavor on it within the play.テつ The coaches kind of give us a little freedom to do that.テつ If it works in practice, we'll obviously use it in a game.
Jay did a great job of selling it, had a heck of a run.

Q.テつ Coach, how were you able to get Thomas so into the offense?テつ Grant, Thomas, did you believe those inside passes would be there for you today?
COACH HARSIN:テつ I'll start with that.
Thomas has been in the offense making those type of plays throughout the season.テつ Tonight wasn't the first time he's done that.
We ran some concepts that we've been good at throughout the year.テつ Grant and Thomas, both those guys made some plays tonight.テつ There were some tremendous catches.テつ Thomas made some back‑shoulder catches in there, as well.
It was those guys being on the same page, really prepping themselves for what the defense was giving us.テつ We were able to attack it that way.
Those have happened throughout the year.テつ But tonight against a team like that, a defense like that, those guys really made some big plays in some big‑time moments.
THOMAS SPERBECK:テつ Just like Coach Harsin was saying, we've had those concepts in for a long time.テつ We just rep them all the time.テつ I think it was a good job by Coach Sanford calling it at the right time in the game, and Grant put the ball right there.
It was just our offense was clicking.
GRANT HEDRICK:テつ I don't know if I put it right there every time.テつ They made some great catches.テつ I wish I could play a few more years with this guy because he's pretty special.

Q.テつ Is it important to you to carry the flag for the Group of 5?テつ How important was it in the first year of this new system to come out and have a good showing and win?
COACH HARSIN:テつ Well, I know what you're asking.テつ I think it's important for our program, you know, to go out there and represent Boise State the right way.
Obviously playing a PAC‑12 team, a top‑10 team in Arizona, we want to go win.テつ What an awesome opportunity for us to go out there on that stage and find a way to win the game.
The way things kind of worked themselves out this year, with where we got ranked, how we got into this game and all, absolutely.
You know, we really don't control those things.テつ What we do control is what we started off the season with, is trying to win our conference.テつ By winning our conference, playing a bunch of nine‑, ten‑win teams throughout the year was able to put us in a position rank‑wise to play this game and be the best of that group.
Again, for us, we consider ourselves a team that would like to have an opportunity like every other team.テつ So to be in games like this and to win it, I hope that continues to show that when we do go out there and take care of our business and we put ourselves in position, win every single game, they're deciding where to put us here and there, let's put Boise State there and find out what they're all about.
Down the road, we take care of our business, do our jobs, why not?テつ We've proven ourselves in stages that that would be an opportunity for this program.

Q.テつ Jay, take me through the first 10 minutes or 15 minutes of this game for you.テつ You had three touchdowns in there, a long run, a crazy dive, got hurt a couple times.テつ What happened?
JAY AJAYI:テつ You know, it was a lot of emotions coming into this game just because I knew it would be my last game as a Bronco.テつ My mindset was to make sure I leave it all out on the field.
For me to be able to take my first carry to the house, my first carry, I would have never dreamed about that.テつ It was just amazing.
Then, you know, it was really just trying to make a lot of plays for my team because I knew this would be my last game. テつI really just left it all out there, sacrificed my body to make sure that I could put our team in a great position to win.

Q.テつ Are you okay?
JAY AJAYI:テつ I'm good.テつ I just got a little tweak, when they went low.テつ On the diving touchdown, I just lost the wind because I landed on my stomach.テつ Lost my breath.テつ I feel good, great.

Q.テつ Can you talk about how the game turned in the second half, became more of a defensive game.
COACH HARSIN:テつ It became a defensive game in the second half.テつ Well, they made great adjustments.テつ I think they came out, and Scooby, their linebacker, he was hard to handle in the second half.テつ He made plays.テつ We know he's a very good player.テつ There's no doubt about it.
But I thought our defense really rose to the occasion.テつ Especially we score on defense.テつ We knew they were going to move the ball.テつ They're going to make plays.テつ They're a good football team.テつ They have good tempo.テつ I think we prepared ourselves for that.テつ I think early on the tempo was a factor and our guys started to play and make some plays and disrupt that tempo.
But overall we kind of got into a little bit of a rhythm.テつ I think our guys got a feel for what they were trying to do and stop some of those plays that were getting run over and over and over.テつ Ultimately at the end there, I mean, our guys had a pretty good feel of what was coming, in my opinion.
It showed up there, why we made those plays at the end.
You want to add to that, Tanner?
TANNER VALLEJO:テつ I think you hit it (smiling).

Q.テつ With all the talk of Scooby for this game, how much did that drive you to elevate your performance?テつ What's it like when you make a game‑changing hit like you did on Nick Wilson?
TANNER VALLEJO:テつ Honestly, I don't worry about other players.テつ I worry about myself and my teammates.
The hit on their runningback, Wilson, I was just coming in, filled the hole.テつ Obviously wasn't trying to hurt him.テつ You hate to see someone go out in such a big game.テつ Just doing what I love to do:テつ hit.

Q.テつ Talking to the guys who won MVP trophies here in the past, it's a big deal to them later in life.テつ You maybe don't appreciate it yet.テつ What does it mean to you?
TANNER VALLEJO:テつ Obviously it's a big achievement.テつ I couldn't have done it without the 10 other guys on the field, everyone playing their butts off.テつ It made my job that much easier.テつ Made one‑on‑one tackles, helped me make plays in space.テつ Credit goes out to the defense and offense.
THOMAS SPERBECK:テつ Yeah, it obviously feels great to win the offensive MVP.テつ You can't do it without the O‑line, Grant, Jay, all the other receivers, even the defense.
Yeah, I mean, it does feel good.テつ You got to give credit to those guys.

Q.テつ Donte, it's now a pick six club with the Fiesta Bowl.テつ Were you aware that was a Boise State tradition in the Fiesta Bowl?
DONTE DEAYON:テつ Yeah, we talked about it, that we wanted to score on defense.テつ I didn't know it was going to be a pick six or not.テつ I just wanted to get in the end zone, be like those guys.

Q.テつ First year, what does this do for you personally for your program, your coaching staff, come out Fiesta Bowl champions?
COACH HARSIN:テつ Well, I think there's a lot of ways to answer that.
You know, our players, we really do think about these guys.テつ We all got a chance to play college football, and it's an unbelievable experience.テつ For these guys to have the opportunity to play in a game like this, they've earned it, they've worked for it.テつ Especially our seniors to go out this way.テつ You hope that every single year you're able to send your seniors out on a note like this.
As far as our program, I mean, I'm very proud of what Boise State's been able to accomplish this year.テつ I know we've been here before, but none of these guys have ever been here.テつ This was all new to them.テつ They've seen it before, but never experienced it.テつ Some of us fortunately have.テつ This was all new for these guys.テつ For them to get out there and get it done, very proud of them.
Moving forward, I hope that continues to help us in a lot of ways with our program, where we're trying to do, what we're doing.
Mark Coyle, Dr.Kustra, both those guys, I said this before, but what you see is not what you're going to get in a good way.テつ We're still getting better.テつ We're still finding ways to improve.テつ We're still trying to bring guys into our program that is something special.
For the guys coming back, we hit the reset button, how are we going to do this again.
Tonight is about Boise State, celebrating these guys, these coaches, a group that set their minds to doing something that was written on a wall, Win your conference championship, and a bowl game, and do it with class, integrity and academic excellence.
For some reason, that's what everybody decided to do this year.テつ The reason we're here, that's what everybody decided to do.

Q.テつ Donte, everybody talked this week about never having been here but having seen it on TV.テつ What was it like to experience this?
DONTE DEAYON:テつ It was exciting.テつ Just like you said, we've never been here.テつ This is our third time at the Fiesta Bowl, but this coaching staff, this group of players, this is all our first time being here and being on a stage like this.
We really wanted to seize the moment, not overlook it, downplay it or anything like that.テつ We really just wanted to go out there and put our best foot forward.

Q.テつ Grant, the first half offensively, you started 13 for 13.テつ What enabled you to get off to such a good start?
GRANT HEDRICK:テつ That was one of our main focuses going into the game early, get into a rhythm early.テつ We were fortunate to do that.テつ Got the run and pass game going early.テつ Got a good lead.テつ That carried us the rest of the way offensively.
It would have been nice to finish better, but with that start, it was a good start.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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