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December 1, 2007
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
PETER IRWIN: Coach, congratulations on the win this evening. Your comments and how you put things in the future.
COACH BOB STOOPS: Thanks, Peter. Just a really well-played game. Just really proud of our players, assistant coaches, just did an awesome job getting ready to play and executing throughout the day.
I was a little frustrated with the penalties but we took care of the football, played physical. Defense played outstanding in the second half. I felt we could have been better in the first half. I was displeased with some of the run game they had on us.
But we fixed it and settled down in the second half and played better and then offensively the run game picked up in the second half which set up some big throws. Sam Bradford was again exceptional.
We had the balance we like to have. Thought our kicking game was outstanding. Garrett Hartley was fantastic. And we punted the ball so well. Anyway, it was just a complete game. My compliments to Missouri, a really good football team. They played hard. Played well. Had an excellent year.
We're excited to beat them again for the second time and on the neutral field and to play like we did, to win by 21 points says a lot.
So hopefully people take it that way.
PETER IRWIN: Questions.
Q. Bob, you had five 1st and goals. You scored four touchdowns then the last time you kicked a field goal. They had three 1st and goals you held them to a field goal every time. Can you talk about if that was the difference in the game and why you were able to succeed while they weren't?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Well, I think the first reason you would say is just our style of running the football.
I think it makes a difference once the field is shortened and squeezed. And so that would be my first just off the top of my head, my feeling on it, is being able to run the ball and then the formations we get in and the way we run it.
And then just execution. And I thought in some of those stands we had some nice plays. We got pressure, we covered. We stopped them in some key situations.
Q. Bob, I think you have the vote. It looks like you might be one of the teams back in the national championship race. How do you like your chances and where would you put yourself right now?
COACH BOB STOOPS: I'm glad you asked. (Laughter) it's an uncomfortable position, I think all of us sitting here trying to persuade everyone. But in the end let's look at it. I mean, you all just voted them number one team in the country in the last week of the year. And we beat them on a neutral field by 21 points. And for the second time that we've beaten who everyone voted as the number one team in the country. We beat them by 10 the first game. Beat them by 21 in the neutral field in the last week of the year.
So you want to go back to our losses. We lost a game without a quarterback. And an excuse, yeah, but it's the truth. So who is playing the best right now is what everybody likes to say. Well, we just played very well for the second time against the No. 1 team in the country that you all voted. So hopefully people when they vote that matters to them, not just who was placed where and then moved someone up. It's who plays the best right now, who is beating who and beating a quality opponent and where did you beat them at.
And so all of that I think people will hopefully process, and the other loss we lose is away from home on the last play of the game.
So we've played pretty well.
Q. Would you prefer people just starting with a blank slate when they make out the ballots? Because all this is positioning and --
COACH BOB STOOPS: Yeah. I would think it would matter. Some teams are sitting at home not playing anymore. We're sitting here playing the No. 1 team in the country. And schedule strikes and those kinds of things, where you played them at hopefully matters to people and who's played the best this week.
Again, it wasn't me here -- you know, everyone else voted them No. 1 all week too. And so to end up to play so well against them I think speaks for itself too. Again, to be on the neutral field and win by 21 points is pretty strong.
Q. I was going to jump on that, Bob, but talk about Sam, if you will, because he doesn't get to throw it 55 or 60 times but you would take him over about anyone, wouldn't you?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Yes, I would. Sam has been fabulous. The poise, the accuracy, everything. His numbers coming into tonight were every bit as good as everybody in the country that everybody's bragging about. I'm not complaining because they should brag about those guys, but he's in their company, right in the middle of it. Doesn't take a back seat to anyone when you're leading in the nation in pass efficiency, you have as many touchdowns as all of them and as few interceptions as all of them and your offense average is 44 points a game.
So I don't know why he wouldn't be up there with every single guy that they're talking about.
Q. Sam, how feel winning this game?
SAM BRADFORD: It feels great, it was one of our goals at the beginning of the season to come out and play the way we did, full team effort, defense played amazing tonight, had some huge red zone stops and offense finally getting it going the second half. Great team effort tonight. It's an unbelievable feeling. It feels amazing.
Q. Allen, your 40-yard run you seemed to run possessed, you stiff armed the one guy and carried the other guy. Could you tell after that play it seemed to lift the team and was the energy level really increased after that?
ALLEN PATRICK: I believe I came out and gave them a spark, a momentum there on that play, throughout the game. We just kept it up and we kept on going.
Q. If you were to go to the Fiesta Bowl, would you have any reservation playing Kansas, conference rival?
COACH BOB STOOPS: No, you know, Mark and I are such good friends and, heck, it would be the fact we didn't play them this year, you know, that would be exciting. So I wouldn't I guess be opposed to that. I think it would be great. But hopefully that doesn't happen. Hopefully we're somewhere else.
But, again, I refer everyone back to all their columns and what was said all week about how good Missouri was and how much improved they were from the first time we played them. Then we must have improved a fair amount as well.
And I agree with you, I think they were a much improved team and a very good football team. I really do. They've done an amazing job all year. Hopefully it speaks for itself what we were able to do tonight.
Q. Bob, your two defensive players, all the talk about the offense and weapons and Tony Temple back, how confident were you that you would come in do the job you did and was that any extra incentive?
COACH BOB STOOPS: I'll say a little bit. I want the other guys to speak up. We played good defense. We consistently play good defense. We've played them before and played good defense. So I don't know why that's surprising.
We held them at their place last year to, what, 10 or 13 points. This year, they scored in the last 12 seconds of the game. We have played them well. So, again, I don't know why that is so surprising. It's not to us.
And we pride ourselves on playing good, disciplined defense. I thought our guys did.
Lewis, Curtis, want to say anything in there? Go ahead.
CURTIS LOFTON: Throughout the week we talked it up. Tony Temple, he's a great player, but we came in as defense saying no one player is going to change the game, we're going to stick to the game plan and pretty much did that.
COACH BOB STOOPS: And it felt really good. I'm not disrespecting them at all. I think maybe that's why we play them so well because we have great respect for how they play. But we match up with most people out in space and being able to change direction and make plays that way.
Q. Along the same vein, a championship setting like this, Heisman trophy contender, was this maybe one of those all-time defensive performances you've had in this kind of situation?
COACH BOB STOOPS: I would say the second half was. I was displeased -- I felt we could play some of their run game in the first half better than we did. We knew it in the locker room. Drawing it up and going over it, a lot of guys we felt we had given -- not given, but they executed well. There were some plays we felt we were better than what we played in some of that run game situation. And that was our focus coming into the week and they executed. We gave some of it up. But we could have been better there.
Q. Curtis, can you take me through the interception, what did you see? Where was the defense, what was it like to get that? Talk about the momentum there?
CURTIS LOFTON: Coach really called a great call on a third 1-and-0 because that was my man and I was just driving and he tipped it and I intercepted it and tried to score a touchdown and someone tackled me from behind.
Q. Curtis, how much did you guys hear them talking earlier in the week about giving the first game away and did you take that personally as a defense?
CURTIS LOFTON: I think so. We kind of saw it as disrespect to our defense and what we have accomplished throughout the season. We just wanted to come out and play a complete game and be real physical with them and let them know we're a great defense.
Q. You had some personal foul calls early, you were playing good defense, what did you talk to them about? How did you get it corrected? Was that just overexuberance? What was going on with the personal fouls?
COACH BOB STOOPS: There isn't any explanation for it. Just bad -- it's just a lack of discipline. And you want your guys -- we want to be fired up and play hard, but you have to play smart. When you're doing that, that's not really playing smart. So there's no way to sugarcoat that. It's bad play when you have them.
Q. Allen, how much were you energized by seeing Curtis go toe to toe with Chase after he made that sack?
ALLEN PATRICK: It was phenomenal to come out there and see Curtis get the job done phenomenal player, played 100 percent out on the field.
Q. Bob, you're not the only coach who is going to have to do some politicking here in the next 24 hours. Is it awkward to be part of a system where you're basically reduced to having to campaign for your team to be able to play in a national championship game?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Yes, it is awkward. I don't think any of us like it. I don't like having to sit here and what some people who don't like you would say -- I don't like to sit here and boast and try to put it this way and explain the game.
But so I think all of us coaches are that way, that you are in an awkward position. So I'll have one more try at it. No one else played the No. 1 team in the country tonight either. (Laughter).
Q. Allen, how sweet have these last couple of weeks been for you, Oklahoma State, now this game tonight after you've played Texas Tech?
ALLEN PATRICK: Phenomenal to come out here and finish the season the way I did, kind of strong.
Q. Allen, could you -- we've heard your coach make the case for y'all to play for a number one, can you make that case?
ALLEN PATRICK: Yeah, I believe they deserve the opportunity to come out here and play for the championship. We came out and beat No. 1 team, like we said. Too many guys can't come out here and do that.
Q. There's been a lot of speculation as to when Auston English was going to return. He's been out since his injury. What did it mean to you and the defense as well to see him back on the field?
COACH BOB STOOPS: Lewis, why don't you answer that or Curtis.
CURTIS LOFTON: Well, Auston he's a special player. He brings a whole other dimension when he's out there. He's a great pass rusher, and you saw him run, it just sparked us as defense.
But that's all I have to say.
COACH BOB STOOPS: Lewis, how come you let Curtis do all the talking?
Q. Bob, any thought there late, you had the game in hand but you kicked a field goal I think on the three-yard line to go for the touchdown because of the whole thing, number one, number two?
COACH BOB STOOPS: I don't know. You win by 21 or 24, does it really matter? We could have ran it in or tried to. I don't know. No, I didn't -- I just felt, hey, let's make it a three-touchdown game. Us coaches -- you never know what's going to happen. It may be in the bag for you. I don't know for us until it's the last few seconds we ever feel that way.
Q. Curtis, Lewis, Coach Stoops addressed this but your success down on defense, down in the red zone and especially near the goal line you had a big standing against Oklahoma State last week and you did a great job down there tonight. Can you talk about the mind set when teams get down there and how you guys are able to bear down and come up with stops?
LEWIS BAKER: We stressed throughout the year to get better every game. We worked on our goal line, defensive practice every day, and at the beginning of practice we stress you can't make any mistakes down there, gotta go hard and sell out and play smart. So stopping those guys on the goal line is a big deal and it's good for us.
PETER IRWIN: Coach, want to make one more pitch? (Laughter).
COACH BOB STOOPS: Yeah, like everybody, I hear it all the time, who is playing the best today? Who played the best right now? Heck, I don't see anyone else playing No. 1 in the country beating them on the neutral field by 21. That's about all I can do. Hopefully it matters to somebody.
PETER IRWIN: Thanks a lot, guys.
End of FastScripts