MSU Spartans
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Michigan State 28, Bowling Green 17
 
 
 

 

 
 

Sept. 8, 2007

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Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantoinio

Opening Statement...
First of all I'd like to say that Bowling Green played an outstanding football game. I knew that they would come in here and compete, and I felt that they did do that. First half they had us reeling a little bit I think, but there's always a change when you start against an offense like this. You have to get the tempo going as you move through the process. I thought first half-wise it was even, and we kept playing hard. I'm very proud of our guys. I think the second half we handled them, especially in the fourth quarter. Maybe they ran out of gas or whatever, but I thought our guys played very well. I thought our special teams played well with the exception of the high snap on the field goal attempt late in the game. Kickoff returns were excellent, the punt team was good, the kickoff coverage was very good, so we took a step in the right direction there. They spread us out a lot on defense. I see here that (Bowling Green quarterback Tyler) Sheahan had 13 carries, and he threw 51 times, and we had seven sacks. They dropped back to pass about 65 times or so. When that happens, there are going to be some good things and there are going to be some bad things happening. You have to give them a lot of credit, and [Bowling Green] coach Gregg Brandon a lot of credit for developing that, and also Tyler Sheahan did a nice job.

On the play of Michigan State's offense...
I thought our offense played pretty well with the exception of turning the ball over. We moved the ball down the field, we could have gotten more points, it hurt us a couple times in the red zone giving the ball up. You can't do that to be a great football team, but we'll continue to work on that. The thing that impressed me about our football team is we did handle adversity. On offense, probably the most outstanding thing was the drive with seven or eight minutes to go in the game when we were up by 11. We took the clock from them and went down and missed the field goal, got the ball back, fumbled it, and boom. Our defense ran two straight sacks to put them on the one-yard line. Defensively, we held them to three points after the first half, so we played very well in the second half, and we got it done. Like coach [George] Perles always said, they all count for one.

On the play of junior wide receiver Devin Thomas...
He had an outstanding summer camp, a decent spring, but an outstanding summer camp throughout August. He had an opportunity to come in and make plays, and he makes plays -- whether it's kickoff returns, or catching the deep ball or running reverses or whatever. The thing about him also is that he's on the kickoff team as well, so he'll run down and hit you. We have some good players, and I've said that all along. A lot of it is confidence and opportunities, and he's getting his opportunities.

On the play of junior quarterback Brian Hoyer...
I'm sure he'd like to have a couple (passes) back, but he made some throws too. This is probably the first time that he's had a game like that where he threw a couple (interceptions) to them, but he'll bounce back. He'll probably be more sharp next week. It's always good to come down to earth a little bit. Last week, he was outstanding.

Bowling Green Head Coach Gregg Brandon

Opening comments...
There is no consolation in losing, but our kids played their guts out. We thought we had a chance against them, but turnovers got us today. We had trouble in the second half, that was a big physical back, make no mistake about that. They are the prettiest looking guys I have ever seen, in 30-years of coaching. I mean Number 80 [Kellen Davis] should go to the league right now. Out guys played with a ton of heart, and they kept hitting, and sticking, and guys jumping on the ball until the very end. [Ervin Baldwin] was a good player, he would rush the passer, and he would run, and [Devin Thomas] is freakish. We played with a great heart, but that just wasn't enough today, when you are playing against people like this you have matchup problems. What we can take away from this game and last weeks game is that we can slug it out with the Big Ten, but we don't play the Big Ten. So, we need to get ready for MAC play now, and we had some injuries today, unfortunately. We have to see where that is on Monday. Thankfully we have a bye next week.

On what he learned about his team today...
I learned a lot about them. They have great heart, great commitment, they were fighting until the very end just like last week. I think we have some guys that grew up in a hurry.

On the coverage in the second half...
I think in the second half they caught us a little bit, they were fast, we really had to work to get open. We couldn't just run routes and by guys, we had to work in order to get anyone open. We had success in the three-step stuff, but they started sitting on that stuff. Then you have to run by them, and we struggled to run by them. We missed [ wide receiver Corey] Partridge today.

On the turning point of the game...
I think there were two plays, [by Devin Thomas]. He made a freak catch down at one end, and then another one down at that end. You take those two plays out, and it is a whole different deal. That kid ran by us, he out-jumped us, and he made great plays. I don't think that this was anything that they executed offensively, except for those two big plays. They got to run the ball a little bit on us late. But we still had our chance.

Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell

Thoughts on the game...
Offensively, we knew coming into it one of the things they did very well was that they had good team speed. No doubt about it, they showed that today out there. They moved a lot, and that's one of the things that kept us off track early in the game. But at times, when we weren't on track, it was really just one play here or one play there with one thing breaking down.

On the team's focus...
We kind of made some adjustments as we went, and we kind of stayed with what we did, which is run the football. We wanted to make sure that we kept that as the focus and then work some of the play-action off of that. So probably the big plays that did occur today, I'd have to see the tape, but were probably more of the play-action type of plays.

On Devon Thomas...
Last week, we went going into that game thinking as him as one of the deep threats and obviously he kind of maintained that thought through this weekend; he had an excellent week of practice. We did single him out, this week, going into the game, thinking if they gave us a matchup, if they put more people in the box to try to stop the run he'd probably have a pretty good opportunity.

Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi

Thoughts on the game...
Defensively, I thought we did a great job on not giving up the big pass, we kept everything in front of us. Give credit to Greg Brady, he did a super job at doing all the little things right. He had a good first half package, and a second half package. People are going to give you new things that you're not prepared for, and our kids did a great job of adjusting. We kept everything in front of us. We bent but did not break. The number one key, was that they could not run the ball on us.

On handling adversity...
I thought our defense really fought through adversity, that's probably the best thing that happened. Last week I wasn't excited after the game because it was such a blowout. Today we got a nice second half adversity factor, and our kids really pulled together and our coaches did a great job keeping them together.

On the game's big hits...
Big hits happen if your kids know what they're doing. Our kids know what to do, and if you know what to do, you're going to play fast and the faster you play, the harder you hit.

Michigan State senior tight end Kellen Davis

On MSU fighting through adversity for the first time this season ...
I think we responded extremely well. Going into halftime when it was tied up, we sputtered a bit in the first drive, but we came back just fine. I think we did a great job of holding them on defense and making plays on offense, especially in that last drive in the fourth quarter when we took all that time off the clock.

On the MSU pass rush ...
We're getting to the quarterback when we need to. I think we had three sacks in the fourth quarter, and two of those caused fumbles down on the goal line. Those plays are momentum swings. We made some plays to get our offense back on the field.

On MSU playing better in the second half ...
I thought we played very well in the second half. We kind of came out sluggish in the first half. I felt that in the locker room before we stepped on the field. I was a little worried about that, but then we picked it up and got that first touchdown on offense and got some stops on defense. It was a dogfight heading into halftime, but I am pleased with the way we responded.

On the clock-killing drive in the fourth quarter ...
For me as a senior, I've seen us not be able to do that. That has cost us some games. But we took a lot of time off the clock. That was basically the game-winning drive for us. We didn't get any points off of it, but it took a lot of time off the clock. And that's great for us to be able to run the ball like that when we need to. Possession of the ball is the most important thing in the game.

Michigan State senior running back Jehuu Caulcrick

On MSU's clock-killing drive in the fourth quarter ...
We knew we had to do something with the ball. We knew we had to keep our defense on the sidelines, so we wanted to run time off the clock. It took about eight minutes off the clock and it made it hard for their offense to get on the field.

On playing with emotion, but not letting those emotions have a negative effect ...
That's something Coach Dantonio stresses a lot. He stresses playing with emotion, but don't let your emotions get in the way. On the muffed punt, everyone on our sideline thought it was a fumble, but there was nothing we could do about that.

On the team's frustration early in the game ...
It seemed like we started out slow. They gained a lot of confidence, especially in the first quarter. They thought, `Hey, we can play with these guys.' But once we got our offense going, the defense started to settle in and we gained our confidence.

On the coaches telling him to be more of a north-south runner ...
There was one play where it was 3rd and 3 and I got the first down. Coach came up to me and reminded me that I'm not a dancer, that I should run north-south. So that's something I need to focus on. I just need to run straight ahead and stop dancing.

Michigan State Senior linebacker Kaleb Thornhill

On MSU's defensive adjustments in the second half ...
Their offense was really moving in the first half. In the second half, we decided to close down the pocket a little more instead of sending guys upfield. The defensive line did a great job getting after it in the second half. We got some stops and we definitely changed some things in the second half that made us successful.

On how nice it was to watch the offense put together the late drive ...
After the first half when we were out there for some pretty long drives, it was good to see them hold that ball. A win is a win and every victory is important no matter what. Obviously, we were going to face some adversity throughout the season, so we did that today and we were able to come out victorious.

On having his older brother, Josh, as honorary captain ...
It was very nice. It was emotional for me. He gave me some good tips, keeping my spirits up throughout the game. It was good to have him out there just to get everyone going. He used to be a GA (graduate assistant) in the weight room here, so it was good to have him by my side.

Michigan State Sophomore Safety Roderick Jenrette

On his rising confidence level in the secondary ...
I felt comfortable back there. I know both (safety) postitions, so I was able to step up and make some plays. My confidence is pretty high.

On what Coach Dantanio did to help him after last week's late hit penalty ...
I just had to keep my composure. I run after the ball out there, I just have to be smart. He just kept motivating me. I didn't hold my head down, I just had to keep going.

Michigan State wide receiver Devin Thomas

On waiting for his chance to play after not playing last season...
I just tried to stick it out, you know, and wait my turn. This is my opportunity to do what I can do and be the best player I can be out there.

On combating a tough start in today's game...
We most definitely had to fight some adversity today, but as a team we just stuck together and went ahead and took care of business today. It was an alright game, but we got it done.

On fighting for a spot in the lineup...
In the spring, and then going into fall, all of us were fighting for spots and the jobs were open to anybody. I knew it was time for me to step up and do what I can do.

Michigan State defensive tackle Justin Kershaw

On his performance against Bowling Green...
I feel good right now. I'm glad that the D-line played good, the defense played solid, the offense played solid. I'm glad we came out with the win.

On the play of senior defensive end Jonal Saint-Dic...
Saint-Dic is a gamer, he's a fighter. He'll give you some good practices and, when he has his chance, he always comes through. If you look backto last year, whenever he's on the field he makes plays. I like how Saint-Dic plays.

On second-half adjustments...
We just saw what they were doing in terms of sliding and that, and we made a few adjustments in terms of how their line was protecting the pass, and it really worked out. We got some good pressure on the quarterback. We were able to keep him boxed in there really well, so it worked out.

Michigan State safety Otis Wiley

On how this week's victory over Bowling Green compares to last week against UAB...
It's different because, of course, they ran a spread and it was a test for our secondary. The first half was kind of up-and-down, the second-half was a turnaround. We had some busts, but we played good when facing adversity.

On bouncing back from Hoyer's first interception...
It was kind of just attacking it, because with the previous pass we just kind of put it past the offense, but then it was just attacking it and handling the sudden change. We go through practices all the time handling sudden changes, and it was just like practice.

Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer

On wide receiver Devin Thomas...
I've been saying it for a long time - Devin's worked hard and he's got the talent. You leave him one-on-one, and you're going to get burned. He's a big play threat and I'm glad he's come out and become consistent.

On his own play against Bowling Green...
I think I tried to press a little bit, and whether it's trying to throw the ball too hard fitting it into some spots or taking some risks, but for the most part I think I kind of bounced back from those two interceptions. When we scored a touchdown in every quarter of the game it shows that this offense is being managed and we're doing the right things.

On his first interception...
I should have put more touch on it. We definitely had Kellen over the top of the linebacker. I think if I put a little more touch on it, it's definitely a touchdown.

Michigan State Defensive End Ervin Baldwin

On Michigan State's play in the fourth quarter...
We wanted it more. We work in the springtime, wintertime and summer for the fourth quarter, we wanted it in the fourth quarter. Coach Narduzzi kept pressuring, kept pressuring, made some adjustments. We knew it was going to be a major challenge, we just had to work hard in the fourth quarter.

On playing Michigan State defense...
Coach Narduzzi and his staff are the best thing to happen to Michigan State in a couple years. I think it's better for us to make plays and get after the opposing team.

On the upcoming schedule...
Coach Dantonio has never beaten Pittsburgh, so those guys will come in and be ready to play. Every game is going to be a major step, going to be difficult.

Michigan State Strong Safety Travis Key

On filling in for Nehemiah Warrick...
I knew I had to come in and step up. I wasn't nervous at all, I felt I was ready to come in and contribute. I was in prior to that so there really weren't any jitters or anything. My teammates did a good job of picking me up and helping me get into it.

On the defense's adjustments in the second half...
Coach Narduzzi did a great job playcalling in the second half. We got after the quarterback a little bit better. Our pass coverage was ten times better than it was in the first half. Guys just stepped up and made plays.

On the big hits from the Michigan State defense...
That's our objective every game as a defense, to go out there and play hard-nosed football and just bring that tough tradition back to Spartan Stadium.

On the outlook for the season...
These two games have definitely helped, you've got to take one step at a time to get to your ultimate goal, which is a Big Ten championship for us. These two teams that we played came out and gave us a good look, gave us a run for our money. We did a great job stepping up and playing.

Michigan State Defensive End Jonal Saint-Dic

On the difference in the second half...
All week in practice, the coaches were saying "Watch the chop block, watch the chop block." In the first half, the defensive linemen, we were a little timid as a group, but once we got the hang of it and I didn't get chopped in the first half, I got past that, I got my speed a little bit and just went after them.

On the team's game...
In the beginning, I was a little timid with them running quick routes, but Coach said not to get frustrated, they're going to get the ball off fast and you can't let it get you off your game. But they have to snap the ball and they have to be in the pocket and once that time came, I did what I needed to do for my teammates, the defensive backs did a good job, the linebacker was covering, it was a whole team game.

Bowling Green Quarterback Tyler Sheehan

On the difference between the two halves.....
They started bringing a little more pressure. They started re-routing our receivers a little better. We made it through the first half. We tried to involve different people in different places.

On the MSU defense ...
They had pretty good coverage. They knew where we were going the second half, and then we tried to make adjustments. I hung on to the ball a couple times, and sometimes they got through. But that kind of stuff happens, we just have to get through.

On being disappointed with the loss ....
There's no doubt losing's hard. I don't care who we're playing, I think we should win. We could play the Indianapolis Colts and I think we'd have a shot to win. But we just have to look forward to Temple, with what happened last year. We just have to have the motivation.

On what the team has learned about each other in the first two games.....
I think we've gone through a lot already in the first two games. Last weekend against Minnesota, we started out down and came back. This week we went down, we came back, we were up and down, we had some turnovers, we reacted pretty well, we just have to execute.

On what it was like going into halftime tied with Michigan State...
It was a little surprising, I think we have a good enough team to beat them but we just went in there and it was a different ballgame in the second half. It always is, but there's nothing we could do. It's just what happens.

On confidence in Derek Brighton...
I've always had confidence in him. He's actually my roommate, so I know him real well. He's a real quick player, so he got both passes. He just got in the right place at the right time, seems like all night, all day.

On sending a message to the MAC.....
I think we'll do a real good job with the MAC. I think teams are going to look at us more than they would have last year even after these first two games.

Bowling Green Tight End Sean O'Drobinak

On being tied 14-14 at halftime...
We knew we weren't going to come in here and start to blow this team out. It was going to be a fistfight all the way to the end. I think when we were sitting there at haltime and it was 14-14, that's exactly where we thought we were going to be, that's where we were and that's where we wanted to be. We said that we were going to give ourselves a chance to win this game in the fourth quarter. We were right there. We just had some bumps in the road and didn't get it done.

On being worn down in the fourth quarter...
I don't think they wore us down. They are a Big Ten football team. They strive on power run. That was our main goal was to stop them. I don't think we got worn down. When we needed a play and something to happen we just didn't get it done.

On the last two weeks...
I learned that we have a pretty good football team. We got a lot of guys that care and have passion, and that's exactly what you need. Sometimes you have to have talent, but if you have eleven guys with heart and soul and desire, I'm going to take those eleven guys over standout players any day.

 

 

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