MSU Spartans
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Northwestern 48, Michigan State 41
 
 
 

 

 
 

Oct. 6, 2007

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Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio
Opening comments...
Obviously a big disappointment, but you move forward. The world isn't pretty sometimes, and you have to stand in the face of everything and be strong in the face of great disappointment. That's what we have to do right now. I think our players kept playing. Both sides of the ball kept playing, and obviously offensively we played very, very well. No turnovers, and got up and down the field pretty well. But on defense, you have to play better; obviously that's an understatement. They were 13 out of 19 on third down, and we'd seem to get to third down and something would happen, whether it was not playing the back end accordingly, or a call, or whatever. The thing about this program right now that I think is important is that people have been patting us on the back a little bit; a little bit, not too much, but a little bit. We'll find out how we respond now, when things are up against us, and we've got each other to rely on. I don't think that this football team is going to fold in any respect, and I think we have guys that are going to play through this. But again, we're going to find out more about our team as we move this thing forward.

On Michigan State's offensive play...
I thought Javon Ringer had an outstanding game, and (Brian) Hoyer obviously played pretty well as well. We couldn't get it done in overtime. We could sit around and question all kinds of things for what we're doing defensively and offensively, but the bottom line is that if you score 41 points, you should win a football game, and we did not. (Ringer) got a lot of touches, and I think it was just a great game plan offensively. Coach (Don) Treadwell and the offensive staff did a nice job game planning, and took advantage of some of the things they were doing, and there were some great individual efforts.

On not running the ball in overtime...
When you get behind on downs, and you have an opportunity to hit Kellen (Davis) when we got him open twice, we'll try and hit him. The game was going pretty quickly, but after two downs, you have to change the mindset, and we had to pass. All I can tell you is that 41 points is enough to win a football game.

On facing disappointment...
Life is full of disappointments. It can come out on the football field in front of 75,000 people or whatever it was, or it can come alone someday. Life is about disappointments, and how you handle those disappointments. That's going to ultimately decide whether we're successful or not as people. I stand up here right now knowing that as the head coach of this football team, life isn't going to be pretty all the time. You're going to have to stand up in the face of criticism, and look people in the eye and say we could do better. That's the way it is at a lot of places around the country. I'm disappointed for our football team and our players, but I'm also going to accept it and move forward.

Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell

Opening comments...
When you lose, you lose. We're very proud of our kids in terms of fighting. We had some opportunities, we'll look at the things we did as we go through the game and the situations and evaluate ourselves as to where we are. We'll try to put our best players in the position to make plays.

About the play calls late in the game...
We thought that based on some of the coverage they were in, we could take a shot and missed. They did a good job of rolling back and creating pressure and we'll go back and look at the situations for later in the year, work on that and come together and try to move forward.

Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi

Opening comments...
The defensive game ball goes to Coach Treadwell for scoring 41 points. The defense throughout the game couldn't really stop anybody and I take full responsibility for it. We missed tackles, people got by us, and of course, give them credit. The quarterback threw passes all day, he was right on the money, we didn't get any pressure. Give them credit, they played a great game. They executed, we didn't.

On Northwestern's blitz pickup and looking forward to next week...
They did a nice job, we didn't execute on third down at all and we've been great all year on third down, but when it came down to it today, we just didn't execute. It's one game and we'll come back ready to go next week. I'll have to look at the tapes, I saw some pressure mistakes out there and we just didn't play together.

Michigan State Senior Defensive End Jonal Saint-Dic

On the defensive line being unable to pressure the quarterback...
We were there here and there, and we had hands in his face but he was making good passes. They're a passing offense, so today we were trying to attack the ball, get tips and try and strip the ball.

On the team's attitude...
We're not going to stay down, we're going to get back up. I know I'm not going to stay down. I know my teammates aren't going to stay down and I know our coaching staff is going to prepare us. Every week so far we've been prepared. Tomorrow we're going to watch film of this game and then we're going to bury it.

Michigan State Junior Running Back Javon Ringer

On his feelings following the loss...
I feel like I give 100 percent out there but I just wish it could have been more. I know I had a big game but to me it's nothing without the win. I would have been fine with nothing today as long as we would have gotten the win.

On the mood in the locker room...
Obviously we're disappointed right now, but we're trying our best to keep our spirits up. I know what's expected from the media and other teams right know, they're probably going to throw us under the bus. We've got to try our best to fight back as best as we can. Our concern right now isn't about everybody else, it's about us. We can accomplish a lot of great things this year and we've got a lot of big games left. That's what we're looking forward to right now.

Michigan State Senior Running Back Jehuu Caulcrick

On the team's effort following last week's lost to Wisconsin ...
It was a loss. We played our hearts out, and there's nothing we can do about it.

On the disappointment of losing in overtime ...
Every loss is a disappointment. No matter if it's home or away.

On the team's preparation before the game ...
We had a good week of practice and we came in prepared. We weren't thinking about last week. Last week was behind us.

On if he was surprised that MSU threw the ball in OT after rushing for almost 300 yards ...
I wasn't thinking about that. During the course of the game, we were thinking about what we could do to win.

Michigan State Senior Linebacker Kaleb Thornhill

On the defense's struggles ...
We just couldn't get off the field. We need to step it up on third downs. It's a key down, and everybody knew that. We were unsuccessful on that and we're going to have to work on that for next week. It's disappointing, but we're going to have to improve from here.

On the team's missed tackles ...
We have to go back to basics. That's the key to victory, open-field tackles. A lot of guys slipped, but we have to improve from this and work on our open-field tackling. We have to get off the field on third downs. We have a lot of improvements to make. We have six games left, and we can make the most of it.

On whether MSU suffered from last week's loss at Wisconsin ...
Not at all. I thought we came out and were fine. I didn't see anybody dragging their head. We got off to a slow start. But obviously, we have to get off the field on third downs. That was huge today. Like I said, there are six games left and what we make out of them is what we make out of them.

On how the team feels after the loss ...
It hurts bad. We're not the same team we were before. This isn't us dragging. It hurts bad. We have to pick each other up. As captains, we have to show our teammates that we can get it done. Any team can beat any other team on a given Saturday. We have to bounce back because we can beat anybody.

On the defense not playing up to its usual standard ...
We have guys that can make plays. We have guys that can make tackles. We just didn't get it done today. We couldn't get off the field on third down today. We made some big plays, but not enough of them. We have to capitalize on our opportunities and we have to work on miscues.

Michigan State Junior Safety Otis Wiley

On Northwestern's blocking keeping MSU from making plays ...
When I got in there, I was aware because I saw the way they were blocking Travis (Key) and `Nemo' (Nehemiah Warrick). We kept getting cut down. But you just have to get up and try to make a play. That's what Coach Dantonio stresses to us.

On the defense's missed opportunities ...
There were a lot of plays we could have had. There were a lot of plays I could have had. We needed something to change the momentum and change the game.

Michigan State junior quarterback Brian Hoyer

On passing the ball in overtime, instead of sticking with the run...
I think like we felt like we could take advantage of them, we had been pounding the ball all game. We believe in a balanced attack, so we thought we could get a shot in there and get a touchdown early, but it just didn't work out. They made some good plays and had some stuff covered.

On dropping the first two conference games of the season...
It's tough. This one hurts a lot more than last week. It was close, it was at home. We don't want to lose at home. We fought the whole game and they had one more play in the end than we did. We're going to see where we're at now. We're going to see what kind of character we have. We're going to see who steps up and becomes leaders of this team and doesn't allow the falter that happened the past couple of years. We're really going to see what kind of people we have on this team.

On the first play of overtime, a pass to Kellen Davis...
I was just trying to get on rhythm and it might have been a little miscommunication between Kellen and I, but it was there and I just didn't put enough on it, I guess. I'll have to see it on film, I didn't really get a chance to see it. You know, it was a good play call and we just didn't execute.

On what makes this Michigan State team different from teams that have struggled after losses in the past...
I think we have people that are going to step up and be a leader on this team and not allow people to fall like we have before. I think we have a great group of captains, and also that we have people that are going to step up and be leaders of this team. If people are feeling down, get them up and get them ready for next week.

Michigan State freshman linebacker Greg Jones

On how he felt during his first career start...
There were some butterflies, but once you get out there and get the first hit it all stops. Confidence picked up big time and the offense took care of the job. I had some great help from my other backs on the team and they always help me out on and off the field, like I've said before. I just had a lot of help out there and Coach counted on me to make plays and that's what I tried to do.

On all the Michigan State missed tackles...
You just have to go back to the drawing board. You really can't explain it. You either make it or you don't.

Michigan State senior safety Travis Key

On how he expects the team to bounce back...
It's a tough loss, but we all know that we have to go and focus on the next game, which is Indiana for Homecoming. Our coaches are going to have a pretty good game plan ready for us, and we just have to come out and execute and make plays. We had our opportunities out there today to make plays, and we just didn't capitalize. We had them in third downs quite often , and we got to get off the field when things like that happen.

On the difficulty of defending the spread offense...
It's probably the toughest thing that you face as a defensive back. A lot of man-to-man coverage and I-formations, so obviously it's going to be the toughest thing that you face. But we had our opportunities to make plays, we had our opportunities to make plays as a defense, and that's just something that we have to work on. We just have to work on our third-down coverage and making plays when we get the chance.

Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald

Opening Comments...
First of all I'm surely proud of our young men, it was a tremendous football game out there today. My hat is off to Michigan State, the game had a lot of highs and a lot of lows on both sidelines, and to battle in overtime the way both teams did, it just shows the parity in the Big Ten, I really do. I think that each and every Saturday anybody can win, you just have to go out there and make the plays, and I think that's what our team did today. It's a great program win, we are not the finished product, we are not where we need to be, there is a lot of room for improvement, but to win with the need for improvement is a good feeling. Now we are in the second half of the season, we've got half of our season left, and we have positive momentum going now into halftime as we travel home, and get ready for the second half against Minnesota at home. It's going to be a great challenge for us, as physical as a game it was today we need to do a good job of taking care of our body, and our guys will.

On the play of Northwestern quarterback CJ Bacher...
C.J. is a gamer, he's played well, minus about four quarters of football all season, and you can't have those four quarters back. He's been progressively improving, I think our offensive line gave tremendous protection today, we spread the ball well, we got the ball to our weapons, and we had a lot of guys make big plays. I just said it a week ago, C.J. is just starting to embark on his first full year of being a starting quarterback. I just see him making more and more strides and I'm excited about his future.

On Northwestern's pass protection...
I thought that today we threw on time, I thought our guys got out of our breaks well, I think we took advantage of what we saw from what I thought we could do schematically. Our offense line has given us really good protection all year, and it's encouraging to see that.

On the comfort level of the offense...
There was a lot of big plays made, a lot of big shots, and a lot of big catches. I thought we mixed it up well. Our coordinator called a very solid game. We had a good mix of run and pass, good balance, and we threw the ball down the field vertically. Obviously, it's great to have Jeff Yarbrough back, we've had some guys dinged up. Of course some of our guys are going to continue to get healthy and come back and make big plays for us, and it's encouraging for the second half of the season.

On what he said to the team after missed FG...
You just keep playing. I would say it's just another opportunity for us to play, that's the way you have to look at it, you don't look at the negative you look at the positive. If we win the toss we go out and play on defense, and if we lose the toss let's go kick the ball into the tunnel. You just move forward and press on.

On possibility botched field goal was a designed play...
No it wasn't designed, it was a wobbly snap. I thought Kyle tried to get it down and he couldn't, but that's why you practice.

On the swagger of his team...
Well I know we feel a lot better going home then we did against Ohio State, I don't know if you can call that swagger. I saw us fight today, they gave us everything they've got. It's two locker rooms of players that are exhausted, it's Big Ten football.

On the ability to finish games...
I think we took a step in the right direction. I think you need to put multiple games together that you finished the right way in the fourth quarter to say it's your identity. We practice it a lot, we talk about it tremendously, we put our guys in those positions at practice. I think we are taking positive steps.

On the defensive scheme against Javon Ringer...
We had some guys at the point of attack that he made miss, and I also saw us miss some tackles and take some poor angles. When you play an offense like Michigan State you know that they are really going to try and establish the run game, which I thought for the most part they were successful at. We had guys getting knocked off blocks, guys were missing tackles, guys were losing leverage, those were some of the notes that I took on the sidelines.

Northwestern Quarterback C.J. Bacher

On Playing Northwestern Football...
When we play Northwestern football we expect to win, we expect to do things well. We came out there today and we played really well. Our offensive line protected well, which led to our success.

On improvement from last week...
We felt that we left one out there last week and it was important to come out this week and play well, and I think we did that.

On things opening up downfield...
Things definitely opened up downfield today. The offensive line did a great job against the strong Michigan State pressure. Our guys really got open and found holes in the defense. It came down to me just getting them the ball.

On success on third and long...
Coach gave me some great calls on third and long and we went out there and made plays. We had a lot of confidence in all our receivers and we have been in similar positions the last few weeks. Today everything just came together.

On the Michigan State defensive line...
I think we had a great game plan on the offensive line. Coach did a great job getting us confident before the game and in the game plan. We did a lot of silent counts and it worked out well.

On the second touchdown, the decision to pass...
Lane isn't really an option on that particular play. We have run that play a lot this year and this time the defense flowed with it, when you're that close to the goal line you can just throw it up. I did that and Ross was there to make the play.

On the urgency to win...
There is a big difference between 3-3 and 2-4, especially in the Big Ten. We felt that we had to win and gain momentum for the second half of our season. It's definitely a big win for this program.

Northwestern junior wide receiver Ross Lane

Mindset when on the missed field goal ...
That's how it was the whole game for the offense. We had to just keep responding, and that is what we did. You know that Amado is a good kicker, and has been playing great.

On the third-down conversions ...
C.J. and the offensive line all played really well today. The receivers were making plays, Omar was making plays.

On converting the big plays ...
The big plays today were fabulous. That was the best big play we've had in forever. Blocking was great, but also the running was very phenomenal, on film we will be able to see the blocking more.

Northwestern junior linebacker Malcolm Arrington

On the mindset during last drive ...
We had a mindset that we weren't going to lose. After last years game, we wanted to make a statement. My mindset was that we weren't going to lose.

On the difference between Mike Hart and Javon Ringer ...
I don't know if there is a big difference. They both are great running backs. Hart, we just played downfield, everyone played down. We did the same thing this week, but they are both great running backs, he is on scholarship too, and he did his job.

On the blocked punt ...
We had been practicing that for weeks. Coach had been getting at us about special teams, taught us that we needed to make a big play, and so we made one.

Junior wide receiver Eric Peterman

On the offense ...
The offense had a great day today, it was a shootout, and as a wide receiver that is where you love being in the position where you have to throw the ball. That is our type of game, and we expect that, especially with our squad, because of all the weapons we have.

On his 70-yard touchdown catch ...
That is a play that we really like, it has a lot of answers, no matter if there are two high safeties, or if they are going with three. We have outs if they are going with three, and we go with the outside guys. If it's two high, then I'm breaking the route, and we take a long shot down the field. That is what we needed to focus on this week, throwing the ball on down the field, that was one of our main mindsets this week.

On the team's play today ...
When C.J. plays like he did today, when the offensive line plays like they did today, and when the wide receivers play like we did today, we are all clicking on the same cylinder, it is an awesome thing. We know that, and have the confidence that C.J. can play like that every week. It is just up him to come out with that mindset, and it also starts out up front with the o-line getting us some time as well. And they did a great job today too.

On the win ...
Adversity, that is what happens to our program all the time. We get a blocked punt, and we're down there, and we're getting ready to win with a field goal, and the field goal goes wide. We had to go to overtime, you just have to respond and that is something else we talk about a lot. No matter what the situation is, you just have to respond, you have to come out and do what you have to do to win the game. We finally figured out how to do that this week.

 

 

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