Alabama’s 45–20 victory over Kansas State was compelling on several levels. After he was trailed by 10 early on, the Crimson Tide blew the game by scoring touchdowns on his next five possessions.
Kansas State, meanwhile, managed only field goals and touchdowns in the final three quarters as Alabama got away with the game.
Below is a transcript of Wildcat coach Chris Klieman’s post-game comments, courtesy of Sugar Bowl.
“Yes, let’s start where we need to be. Seeing you support people is why we all came to K‑State.
And the fans today have been phenomenal. we got off to a good start. I wish I could have given them a better show after that first quarter. But hats off to college football’s greatest fan base for coming out and supporting these amazing young people.
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We talked in the locker room. We’re clearly disappointed with how this ended up in our performance, but it can’t be defined in an instant. And this line of work will forever be remembered in Kansas history. Because these guys are Big 12 champions, they deserve it, they’ve earned the right to be Big 12 champions and represent the conference at the Sugar Bowl.
I didn’t play my best football today. Hats off to Alabama, but thanks to the guys who have been battling it out for four quarters. ”
Coach, do you ever feel like everything turned around and all your bets went awry when you made a mistake on the fourth down at the goal line?
Kleemann: “Yes I would have done it again.Deuce [Vaughn] I told you let’s go again. And the fact that we wanted to take the lead at halftime. Less than a minute left, 1 minute left, whatever. Make a really good call and don’t run it.
And shoot, they’re on the 1-yard line, so they use timeouts to try and get the football back. In other words, it is attack mode from the beginning.
And give those guys credit. I didn’t tackle when I needed a tackle. And he can’t go 99 yards like he did at the end of the first half.
A game of 21-10 — — I’m never going to second guess myself — — and you guys know it by being around us. , we were down to fourth all season. ”
Coach, at what point did you decide to take the same onside kick in the second half?
Kleemann: “When we were talking in the locker room. It didn’t work, we were trying to put it between two guys.
It’s a hard kick.sea bream [Zentner] It probably didn’t hit the way he wanted it to. But he also knew he had to let the chance slip, as he attacked on his last two drives.
And once again, we’re here to win, whether it’s an 80-yard drive or a 45-yard drive. We’re not here to keep this thing close at hand. we’re here to win. And that’s what we thought was the best opportunity. ”
Kleemann, you talked about the importance of looking at the whole work of this team. What makes this group so special character-wise, and what makes it so obvious on the field?
Kleemann: “Yes, just the power of belief and the power of player ownership. They owned locker rooms and owned soccer teams.
As a soccer head coach, it’s pretty special to know that your phone won’t ring at night and you won’t let your kids do things they shouldn’t. And I’ve never been around a football team that does knucklehead things off the field that are successful on the field.
And these guys were phenomenal kids off the field, which led to great players on the field. Because they are disciplined and dedicated. they are tough. they are selfless. That’s what I remember about this group. ”
Coach, kept 26 total yards on Alabama’s first two drives.Deuce [Vaughn] Run is 88 yards. What kind of adjustment was it that led Alabama to his fifth consecutive touchdown?
Kleemann: “They were able to give us an explosive play. That was the kind of fear we had. they are pretty talented. Their quarterback (Bryce Young) is a pretty good player. They have good wide receivers. And I thought they did a really great job.
We were 3rd and 10th, so we might be out of the field again. And they throw it at a really good running back. miss the child We lost the cup and he saw that as a big gain to go 10-7 really fast. I thought he had left the field, but he didn’t.
That’s everything. We talked all year about not giving up on explosive play. And today they were able to do a few things for us.
Coach, I was able to catch Adrian. [Martinez] I’ll be there for some snaps in the first half. Part 2 Did your quarterback strategy perform as expected?
Kleemann: “I was thrilled that Adrian got the chance to play in a bowl game. helped them win the Big 12 championship.
And that was the goal when he got hurt. It was to get him healthy and ready to play.
It became Will Howard’s football team. everyone knows it. But Will and Adrian are so close that I thought it was important to CK (Colin Klein) and tried to find a way to get Adrian to take a snapshot.
It was done. I saw a wide smile on his face. I saw Will Howard’s big smile that Adrian got the chance to play in the bowl game.
Coach, Brian Branch. But what was your impression of the ground he was able to cover against your attacks?
Kleemann: “Yeah, they have some really good defensive players. They work very well. They’ve gotten out of their blocks and played well.”
Coach, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask about the quarterback on the other side (Bryce Young). It’s kind of a career day for him. What was the challenge of trying to protect against him?
Kleemann: “First of all, there’s a reason he won the Heisman Award. He was mixing three man rushes, four man rushes, five man rushes. We were able to freak him out a bit, but if you played the same number of snaps as him, it’s hard to freak him out for long.
And I never got the chance to meet him. I think I ran into one of their coaches. Just thank him and say thank you for playing. Because that’s what college football is for. It was a pleasure to have Bryce in the role. I thought it was really good for college football and really good for kids. ”