It had been a full year and six days since Colorado had last celebrated a Big 12 win, but in the Buffaloes' first game under interim coach Brian Cabral, they bagged one.
For one day, it didn't matter that Colorado lost 10 of its past 11 games in conference under former coach Dan Hawkins, who watched the game from a balcony at the stadium.
"There’s so many emotions going on in this game. My job is helping them focus on what they were capable of being and capable of doing. I thought there was great energy," Cabral said. "I thought that there was something that was there Saturday that they haven’t felt for a long time."
He wasn't just talking about victory, either. Cody Hawkins played one of the best games of his career and was rewarded with the Big 12's Offensive Player of the Week award on Monday for his 266-yard, three-touchdown effort. The defense also held Iowa State to minus-six yards rushing and scored a touchdown.
"[After the game], I just said when you play together, the way you did, that’s the result," Cabral said. "Every phase of the game contributed to the win and that’s all I was trying to get out of them."
Cabral knew what the team was capable of, rallying them around the phrase "One heartbeat," but he had to wait for his team to show him what he wanted to see.
"I was very eager to see how they would handle [the change]," Cabral said. "Throughout the week, they showed great signs of handling it well. We practiced well and I thought they had been into what I was been saying to them, but I wasn’t really sure. I wanted to see how they actually did and how they did it on Saturday. Based on how they played, the way they came together, they handled the coaching change great."
Colorado is still in bowl contention at 4-6, but has to beat Kansas State in the home finale on Saturday and go to Nebraska and knock off the Huskers in the season finale. Winning either isn't possible without carrying that feeling and play through the rest of the season.
"I first explained to them all, this is a three-game season. We’ve got to be able to build and improve on what we just did. That’s a tall challenge," Cabral said.
And how to keep the good vibes rolling?
"That’s the million-dollar question," he said.