Central Michigan 29, Michigan State 27
 
 
 

 

 
 

Sept. 12, 2009

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Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening Statement...
Well obviously we are very disappointed, but I would like to congratulate Central Michigan because I think they played an outstanding game. It was a very emotional game, and they hung in there from the start. As they continued to hang in there, I think they continued to get stronger mentally. I think LeFevour played an outstanding game - even though we pressured him, he got in the right plays a lot of time, did a nice job moving around, and he also threw the ball well. Anderson played very well, and so did Antonio Brown, but we have to make plays on the deep balls when we have the opportunities, but I thought our offense did okay.

We didn't have any turnovers, but we have to keep the ball moving more in a game like that but we did a nice job in the fourth quarter moving the ball down the field. In the end, you can't make a mistake on the field goal. We partially tipped it and blocked it from what I heard, but I guess we jumped offside. You guys can probably see it better than I can, but that had an opportunity to make a play there. The onsides kick was very disappointing because the ball popped up and they got it on the bounce, which was well executed. In the end, it's time for us to just circle the wagons. It's been nice around here and everyone has been saying nice things about us - but now there will be people critical of us so the main thing we have to do is focus.

You find out things about your leaders in times of crisis, and I believe we will be strong. We have to get ready to focus on Notre Dame, and it doesn't get any easier from here because then we have Wisconsin and then Michigan at home. We have to get ready to play, and put this behind us and move forward while learning from the mistakes we made. We will find out a little bit about our chemistry, about our senior leadership and about our other leaders. This is not the time to panic so we are moving forward from here.

On the amount of penalties against Michigan State...
It's very disappointing, and I can't keep track of all of them when they are happening. The last one was disappointing especially when you tell him not to jump off sides, and to be cool because it's a 48- yard kick. The guy jumping off sides isn't going to block the kick anyway coming up the middle. We'll wait and see what it looks like on the field, but it's disappointing because it's an unforced error and that's how you lose football games. It was a lack of discipline, and I am the head coach so I will take full responsibility for that. You look at that and you see that things can happen like that. Even after the onsides kick, we had a chance after that because all we had to do was get on the ball and it's over. They got the bounce however. Like I said it's disappointing.

On the team as a whole playing with emotion...
I felt like our team came out and played hard, and I don't feel like we were unemotional - we were ready to go and there is no excuses there. That is what you have to say when you stand up here: we got beat today, and they played better than we did. The only thing I would say about emotion is when you keep hanging around; you start believing a little bit more. I don't think we were flat coming out because we went down the field and scored right away. Defensively they moved the football on us, and they have some good players and a good scheme. I guess it just is what it is today.

On the team's overall discipline...
I think everybody has an individual decision to make out on that field in terms of playing with a great deal of discipline. Nobody tries to jump off sides, nobody tires to anticipate and do something wrong. It is part of the game, and there are a lot of nerves out there when guys are trying to make plays and anticipating the snap count. It's disappointing when there's eight seconds to go and they are kicking a 48-yarder, but we got ourselves in that situation in the first place so we shouldn't have to depend on things at the very end of the game like that.

On the leadership of the team...
. I think all of our captains need to do that. I think all of our guys in positions of leadership need to do that, as well as all our seniors and our coaches. As I said when I first started, you find out about people when you get to this point. You find out if they are going to blame others, are they going to stop fighting, or how they are going to respond. We will find out a little bit about ourselves as we move forward, and it's a life lesson. It's a life lesson for all of us, for me and for the rest of the coaches too. We will go back and look at some of the things we did conceptually and evaluate those things. We will look at some of the things we did with our decision-making, and we have to look at some of the things we did on the field that was just about focus.

Central Michigan Head Coach Butch Jones

Opening remarks...
It's a big win for our football team and our football program because it's victory number one. It's a long season and so to get the first W is always special. I can't say enough about the perseverance of our kids. We talked about it day one at training camp because our motto is to persevere. Every man to a man believed we were going to win the football game. The kids and myself made the decision to go for two, and we came up a little bit short, but they still believed. We made the plays at the end to win the game. I can't say enough about Andrew Aguila. He made two extremely pressure-filled kicks, on the onside kick and on the last second field goal. It seemed like an eternity, I think it took twenty minutes to make a five-second kick. We're going to enjoy it but we're going to move on to Alcorn State, it's going to pose us a great challenge next week.

On the reaction of his players to the win...
I think any time you play in a great venue like this with 76,000 people, national television, interstate game, it may be a little special. But I think what you saw there was the emotion of persevering and believing and playing to the last whistle. Obviously it was a very physical football game. You go for two and you come up short , and you've got twenty some-odd seconds left and you come back and find a way to win. I just can't say enough about our kids.

On the decision to try for the two-point conversion in the fourth quarter...
Those are always scenarios I play over in my mind. In my mind going into this game I was going to kick the extra-point. But the way the second half was going, they were able to move the ball a little on us and it gets down to a one-play deal and we had a two point play that we felt extremely confident in. Dan [LeFevour] just overthrew Antonio [Brown] but he was there. I believe in our kids and all of our kids to a man wanted to go for two and I'm right there with them. They all said `Coach, we want to go for two.' And I looked every person in the eye and I looked at Dan and he said `I want to go for two.' We put a lot of ownership in our captains, and I got my captain looking me in the eye saying `I want to go for two' so I'm going to believe in him and I'm going to do that.

On the challenges of refocusing his team after this big win and going on to do well in the Mid-American Conference...
That's already crossed my mind, it crossed my mind when the zeroes went on the scoreboard. That's something that we will get back to work on when we come back to work Sunday night. But also I hope that our kids take great pride and great confidence from this game. This game is not our season, its just one game. And it's a long season, there's ten more games left, and I think we've seen what the Mid-American Conference is capable of doing in the first two weeks.

On Senior Kicker Andrew Aguila's onside kick preparations...
We've spent a lot of time with that. We do a period in practice called the essentials of winning and the details of winning and all those little things that go into the game and that's one of those elements that we've worked extremely hard on. We got the bounce and Brian Anderson did a great job of securing the kick.

On the offensive performance this week compared to the offensive struggles last week...
I thought that we still didn't play as fast as I'd like to but I thought we really increased our tempo. We stressed all week long about just running our base offense and being able to execute and we pride ourselves on being an execution-based offense. Our kids did a great job, I thought we took care of the ball pretty good the second half, but I thought they executed our offensive schemes. There are some things we've got to go back and work on, but I thought we made huge strides from week one to week two.

On why smaller programs beating bigger programs is more prevalent now than 30 years ago...
I think there's a number of reasons. I think it stems from the 85- scholarship limitation that we now have. I think the gap has closed. I think that recruiting in general and the power of national television. I think in terms of the scholarship limitations now and national television and winning, we are able to attract some great caliber student-athletes. I wouldn't say that's evened it up right now, but it has given us an opportunity to compete on the playing field.

On what this win means for Central Michigan's football program...
I think that it proved to recruits out there that we can go on the big stage and win these games. But again, its just victory number one. If we finish 1-11 then this game drops in significance, and that's the thing; it's big because it's our first win. Our two goals always in our program is to challenge for the Mid-American Conference Championship and to go to a bowl game, and it gets us one step closer to going to a bowl game with a victory.

On Senior Quarterback Dan LeFevour's preparation for this game and his poise during it...
I thought he had great poise. Dan was focused, he had his best week of preparation. He told me before the game that he practiced mad all week, and I could see it. There isn't anyone who is harder on himself than him, and he was extremely disappointed by the way we played last week and he stepped up and made some big plays for us.

On Senior Wide-receiver Brian Anderson...
Brian made some big plays and he's done that for us throughout his entire career. I just can't say enough about him. He is an individual that never says anything, he just comes to work each and every day and gives us everything he has. He made some huge plays for us today.

On the support of Central fans at an away game...
It was huge. It's my job as the caretaker of this football program to present a vision, and the way you saw our band and our cheerleaders and our fans that's what it's all about. It was a great day for college football. I expect Kelly/Shorts Stadium to be sold out next week. Why not? The best part of building a big-time college football program is for our student section our fans and to our alumni. And that's part of our vision. It's up to us to put a product on the field that they want to come and watch. It's up to us to get them in the stands.

On the defensive performance throughout the game...
Without looking at the film I think we did a good job up front. I thought we played downhill. Our goal was to try and get Michigan State into some third and longs and we actually did a good job on some third and shorts. Michigan State was six out of thirteen on third downs and we really stressed to our kids getting off the field because Michigan State is a very, very, very talented football team and they are going to win their share of games. They're extremely well coached. You're looking at a person who has the utmost respect for Coach Dantonio and what he's done here.

On the aggressive offensive play-calling late in the game...
We just felt like we had some plays that we had great confidence in and we had great confidence in our defense so we felt good about what we had and we wanted to be the aggressor. Maybe we weren't as aggressive last week but we came in and that was part of the game plan.

On Dan LeFevour's improvement over last week's performance...
Even though Michigan State was able to generate a pass rush, I thought he could set his feet and get some throws. I thought our wide-outs did a good job. Late in the third quarter we were able to establish the run a little bit. Paris Cotton came in and gave us a little bit of spark, gave us a little bit of energy. And I thought [Offensive Coordinator] Mike Bajakian did a great job of putting the ball in the hands of our playmakers. We had Antonio [Brown] touching the ball, Paris [Cotton] coming in, Brian Anderson, Kito Poblah, David Blackburn at tight end. I thought we did a good job of putting the ball in the hands of our playmakers.

On the play of Sophomore Running back Paris Cotton...
Paris Cotton has probably worked as hard as any individual in our football family. He's worked extremely hard on his ball skills. He did a good job of catching the ball. Paris has a little bit of spark to him, he's got that energy that the team feeds off of. I think that you could see when he came in there our team kind of fed off him.

On the importance of Dan LeFevour playing so well on a national stage...
I think it proves that he can bounce back. He played at a level we all expect him to play at. We have a lot of things to improve on and a lot of things to get better at, and he'd be the first to tell you that he's got a lot to improve as well. We just have got to develop and improve as a football team from week one all the way to week twelve, hoping to get to week thirteen and week fourteen. That's going to be our focus, just continually getting better week in and week out.

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi

Opening comments...
Central Michigan played a great game and they made plays when they needed to. They made more plays than we did. All it takes is one more play, so give them credit. Coach Jones does a good job coaching and they have very good players on offense. We knew that going in, so don't think we took them lightly at all. We just didn't play as well as we needed to. It comes down to coming to play every weekend and some guys just did not make plays and weren't aware of things that we wish they were. I give all the credit to Central Michigan, they played a better game than we did. It's what happens.

On the impact of Central Michigan's no-huddle offense...
They've been using no-huddle forever. They didn't do anything that we didn't prepare for. The no-huddle was not a surprise. We practiced it all week. It had no factor at all.

On the multiple penalties during crucial times...
We had a couple of offsides penalties, including a critical one there near the end. I don't know if their tight end moved or our guys moved or what. There was a lack of discipline out there and we have to straighten it out as our job as coaches.

On the most disappointing part of the team's effort...
We just didn't play well enough. Period. I didn't coach well enough and the kids didn't play well enough. We will coach their tails off this week and we will be ready next week for Notre Dame.

On Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour...
He is a very poised quarterback. Their offensive line did a great job, too. He made the throws when he needed to and their receivers got off coverage somehow, whether they pushed away or not.

Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell

Opening comments...
Obviously it's a team game, so we are certainly very disappointed in the loss, but at the same time we give credit to Central Michigan who is a very well-coached team. We certainly had some opportunities and took a few shots in the end zone. We make those plays and it's a different situation. We are going to continue to move forward, but obviously this is very disappointing for us as a team. The big thing is that if you cash in on some of the big play opportunities that we did have, at least you put the game in a different light at that point in time.

On Central Michigan's defense limiting the running game...
We have always said that we play on being a balanced team and we have to be able to establish the run as we go through the course of the game. There are little things that we can fix and try to make better and make some of those shorter runs into longer runs.

On playing multiple running backs...
If you compare last game to this game, it looks like Caulton Ray carried it considerably more than he did last game. That may be an ongoing thing, but it does look like we're trying to find whoever may be our guy and go from there.

On the penalties taken by the offense...
You always preach in practice against those things, hoping that guys can stay locked in. I think the execution is what we are looking for as coaches. We have to be able to overcome some of those as they arise.

On the throw to Keshawn Martin in the first quarter...
I thought the ball was very well thrown. The quarterback put the ball near the guy and gave him a chance. We have to make sure we capitalize on those.

On Edwin Baker not getting playing time...
I'd have to defer that one to Coach Enos. We have some things we go through each week and there are different guys. I think Glenn Winston might have gotten in there some. It might have been the series of plays.

Michigan State RS- Sophomore Quarterback Keith Nichol

On Central Michigan's play today...
Central played with a lot of emotion, and played very hard. We also played hard, but there are some things I wish we could have back and some things I think we messed up on that we shouldn't have messed up on like missed assignments. We will look the film now and find out exactly what went wrong. There were so many momentum changes in that game, and I think they played their butts off.

On his personal play today...
I felt like I played as hard as I could and I was trying to make plays when I was in there by trying to get first downs. I thought I played as well as I could have under the situations we were in. I just tried to do what they asked me to do, and go out there and play hard.

On most of the second half from the side line...
I think that had a lot to do with just how we started off and we really didn't get a lot of chances on offense. I don't think they didn't want to put a new guy in when the other was already in the groove of things. That is one of the disadvantages of having two quarterbacks here, because you don't want to throw another guy in there without getting him warmed up and then you have to get him in a rhythm all over. I wasn't mad about it or anything because I understood what was going on, but unfortunately things just didn't work out.

On how his playing time differed this game from last week's game...
I think just because last game was more about series, when Kurt had four and then I had four. Then in the second half we were up they wanted to let him get in a rhythm, and then the game turned and I don't think they wanted to throw me out there and try to get me to start a new rhythm up. If you are not sure about what is going to happen, you normally just go with whoever is in they're at the moment but that is just another motivator for me for this upcoming Norte Dame game.

On starting the second half...
I mean I know the coaches well and I knew their plan and what was going to happen. I had a really good feeling I was going to start the second half just because the series was pretty even, and we had scored a touchdown, things we rolling along and we were comfortable. I really felt like I was going to go back in early on, but Central keep putting point on the board, and I think that's just an uncomfortable time to just throw in a guy randomly. I wasn't mad about it at all; I am disappointed about the result of the game, but not about the quarterback situation.

Michigan State Sophomore Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On what this loss does to the team...
We are going to find out what kind of football team we have now and leadership is going to be huge. Senior leadership is going to be huge as well, and we need to circle the wagons tomorrow and make sure no one is pointing fingers and we are all on the same page. We are going to get this corrected, and I was very proud of our football team today, and was very proud of our effort, and I can't fault our effort on either side of the ball. We just didn't end up coming out on top today.

On how the team played today...
I would say that we were playing with a lot of passion and a lot of fire. Again, we obviously we didn't have that extra little bit we needed to score, but there were too many three and outs by our offense that didn't let our defense enough time to rest before they had to go back out on the field again such a tremendous offense that Central has. We didn't quite have it today, but I felt like we played a hard-fought game.

On the team's penalties...
I think a few of those penalties were pass interference and we play a lot of press coverage's so that's going to happen with the scheme that we play. But we did have some penalties that really cost us, and our program is has pride in being disciplined and we can't expect to win a lot of football games if we are not disciplined. Like I said, we will get this corrected tomorrow, because we don't have time to mope because we are going down to South Bend next weekend for a big one. We will get back tomorrow and get it corrected.

On his personal play...
I felt like it was a good day, but good didn't get it done. Quarterbacks are measured on wins and losses, and we didn't win. I though there was times I made some good plays, and there were times I wish I could have some plays back.

Michigan State Junior Safety Marcus Hyde


They made plays. Maybe we could have made more and we could have won. They played well.

On the feeling in the locker room...
We just have to come out next week and put this behind us and play hard. We need to practice and get better.

On what CMU quarterback Dan LeFevour did well...
He's a good player. He played well. You can tell he has been playing for a while and has the experience. He did what he had to do to get the victory today. Give him credit.

Michigan State Redshirt Senior Wide Receiver Blair White

On what happened on his dropped touchdown catch...
I'm not exactly sure what happened. Kirk threw up a great ball and had a lot of air under it and gave me a chance to jump for it. We just have to make those plays. I think that if I make that play, it changes the whole complexion and momentum of the game. We have to make big plays like that when we have the chance if we want to be a great team.

On the offenses missed opportunities for big plays...
We just have to concentrate. We practice all week to make plays and when we come to game that is what we have to do. When I have a couple drops like I had today, that is unacceptable. We have to focus and we have to step our game up.

On Kirk Cousins' performance on the last MSU scoring drive...
That was pretty impressive. He went in and we drove right down the field. He is definitely a presence in the huddle. He is a tremendous leader, especially in times like this, so, good job by him today. He played well.

On whether Kirk Cousins proved something today...
I think he did. Because he has so much character, he is ready for things like this. He is ready to bounce back. He has the leadership quality about him and that charisma.

Michigan State Freshman Tailback Larry Caper

On how the team gets over the loss...
We made mistakes and we have to make sure we improve on that.

On the performance of the MSU tailbacks...
There is always room for improvement in the running game. We need to run the ball well. We definitely could have ran better today.

On being a freshman and how he helps his teammates get over the loss...
They don't look at me as a freshman, they look at me as a Spartan. Whatever I have to do to contribute to the team, that is what I'm going to do.

Michigan State Redshirt Senior Defensive End Trevor Anderson

On getting a better pass rush...
We definitely need a better pass rush. Like I've said before, all of our sacks can't come from blitzes. Teams are going to start picking up on that and (CMU) did it today. Other teams are going to watch this film and go after us a bit. As a defensive line, we have to get to the quarterback and bring him down.

On there being any shock after the loss...
There is no shock. Any team can come in and beat you. Give them credit where credit is due. The came in here and played a hard, tough-fought game. I got a chance to be on a spread team when I was at Cincinnati with Brian Kelley and this is basically the same type of system. Spread teams are second-half teams. They come out in the first half and meander around and if you play around with them, they are going to take advantage and that is what happened today.

On how disappointed he is on the lack of discipline and penalties...
I'm very disappointed. On that offsides play, we blocked the field goal and the game was won but we jumped offsides and the most inopportune time. It hurts and we're going to pay for it during the week with extra sprints or something like that. We're going to come in next week and take care of business and we will be more disciplined in what we do.

We had the game won. It's a heartbreaker, it hurts, it's going to linger for the next couple of hours and maybe into Sunday but we will get over it.

Michigan State redshirt freshman running back Caulton Ray

On what the team can learn from the loss...
We can never take anybody for granted. They came here to win and play, and that's what they did. They brought everything they have. They did a good job. It's okay to get humbled sometimes, take the lesson and get back to practice on Monday.

On getting more playing time...
I felt a lot better being in the game more. I got into a lot better rhythm. I feel good taking a leadership role and being out there playing.

On the potential of Michigan State's young backfield...
It's very high. Who knows what will happen in the heat of the game. We are doing really well and if we keep playing we will just get better every game.

Michigan State junior tight end Charlie Gantt

On the feeling of disappointment...
They played and we played hard. We made some mistakes at the end and things didn't go our way. There is nothing you can do but move on and re-group and get ready for Notre Dame.

On the team's lack of discipline...
I don't think we overlooked them. It might have been a lack of focus during the game. On that field goal, we had an offsides. We just have to move on and get focused.

On how he will deal with the adversity...
The biggest thing we have to do is learn from this and get the team back together tomorrow and forget this game. We know we are a great team.

Michigan State junior linebacker Eric Gordon

On learning from the loss...
We are given twenty-hours to forget about it, win or lose. We'll feel a little bummed out tonight, of course, but we have to forget about it by tomorrow and try to think about Notre Dame.

On the team's lack of discipline...
I don't know exactly what happened. We gave up some big passes. Usually in a loss, there is a lack of discipline and focus. We knew what we wanted to do, but we didn't execute it as well as we should have.

Central Michigan University Senior Quarterback Dan LeFevour

On taking last week's loss against Arizona personally...
Yeah, I kind of hurt my ego a little bit. We had to get back strong this week. Our offense was doing some good things so it was really great to see. On the difference between today and last week's game...
It was just trusting my offensive line. Knowing that they were giving me protection and they worked their butts off. They played a great game and I trusted them. That really helped our offense go. On what went through his mind when they were down a touchdown with eight minutes left...
Everything. You don't hear anything but you are just focused on what is going on. We had a lot of successful drives. We had a feel for what they were doing defensively so you can get rid of the rest of the stuff and just play football at that point.

On what this win does for his team...
It does a lot. Hopefully it does something for recruiting. But this is also our first victory of the year. We got to do a lot more than win just one game to do something for our program. I think we got to keep going, keep winning, and we'll see where this thing goes. On what this win means for Coach Jones...
I think it means a lot, first and foremost, but like I said it is the second game of the year so it is our first victory of the year. I think that means more than anything at this point.

Central Michigan University Senior Kicker Andrew Aguila
On what was going through his mind when his first kick was blocked...
I heard the whistles going on already, it was already a set call. The ball came back and it was a practice kick. Try and go through it. It was just like being back in front of the net. I understand the offensive line is going to give up a little bit when the whistles start blowing but I didn't think they were coming through at all. I mean we have good operations and our line is always solid. We have a good snap, good hold, just put the ball up.

On what was going through his mind when Michigan State kept calling time outs...
They kept calling time outs and it was just more time to relax, clear my head, breathe, and understand that it was just like every other kick and just go with the routine checks in my mind.

On whether the on-side kick or field goal was more important...
I think the on-side, I mean that was the biggest kick. I personally feel that it was. The field goal is going to be remembered but the on-sides kick was executed perfectly. P.A. came through, got the ball perfectly. If we would have been able to move the ball and call it, he would have probably taken it to the house.

On calling this the biggest kick of his career...
Yeah I mean it's the biggest kick. We got the big victory, the first one of the year. We came to a Big Ten school, supposed to play these guys at their best, and we came away with the victory so it definitely ranks up there.

On his emotions when he kicked the winning field goal...
It felt like a good hit. I just knew I had the distance and I just wanted it to stay straight and it did.

Central Michigan Junior Linebacker Nick Bellore

On how the on-sides kick worked out so well...
Andrew made a great kick, just like we practiced, right up the sideline. I just couldn't believe it.

On crediting the improvement to both the offense and defense...
I think we did a lot of great things. We have a lot of veterans on the team, who have played a lot of football. We count on those guys, and they did a good job today.

On how important pass deflections were in this game...
That was huge. Anytime we can get the ball down and stop the pass, which has been our Achilles heal in the past, it is huge for our defense.

Central Michigan Senior Wide Receiver Bryan Anderson

On practicing the on-sides kick...
We practice it every Thursday. I hardly ever get it though; I'm just supposed to keep it in bounds. This time it just took a beautiful bounce. Aguila did a great job.

On what he's thinking going one-on-one alone on the outside...
If it's coming my way and we are going deep, I know Dan is probably going to come to my side.

On going down-field a lot more...
We knew we had to open it up a little bit and take some shots down-field. As a wide receiver, that's the kind of game I like to play, and it worked out well.