Michigan State 24, Illinois 14
 
 
 

 

 
 

Oct. 10, 2009

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Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio
On Michigan State's defense...
"I thought our defense played well and you just take the game and shake the game. It's not an error-free game by any means for us or for anybody else."

On Illinois' defense...
"Credit Illinois. Defensively, they played well in the second half, but we had opportunities to continue to play and make plays."

On keeping focus coming into today's game...
"The thing that I like about our football team is that everyone was very involved. The focus was there; Thursday's practice was very good, Friday's was very good. Everything you want as a coach - all the focus was there. We kept talking about a road win, and we had to come over here and get a road win. We had to parallel it with '07 and '08. I think I mentioned that going to Northwestern last year and Purdue the year before. So it paralleled where we were as a football program."

On the quarterback situation...
"Keith (Nichol) took reps predominately on Tuesday and Wednesday. Kirk (Cousins) had some on Wednesday, and then on Thursday, they took reps a little bit more equally. He (Cousins) could have played, but we felt like all things being equal with the abilities and experience that Keith is bringing, we'd use Kirk in an emergency situation only. We're going to try and win football games. If somebody is out, (Andrew Maxwell) will be ready. He would have been ready today had Cousins not been able to play, but that was not the case."

On where Michigan State goes from here...
"After an emotional game, it is important to get your players back and thinking about the next challenge. We have great young men here. We have great seniors and they help in that endeavor. A coach doesn't get that done because there are too many things that happen on a football team. Credit our football team; our senior leadership; our staff and position coaches. They get the job done."

Defensive tackle Jerel Worthy
On Illinois playing two quarterbacks...
"We were prepared for both. We practiced for it all this week. They're both energetic quarterbacks, who can run fast and pass well. We were ready for both of them."

On today's game plan...
"We wanted to stop the run first. We felt that if we stopped the run, then everything else would fall into place. During passing plays, we wanted to make sure all four linemen would put pressure on the quarterback at all times."

Defensive end Colin Neely
On focusing for this week's game...
"We had to get over last week's victory against Michigan and stop celebrating. Our focus was to be prepared for this week's game against Illinois."

On Illinois struggling...
"Every team in the Big Ten can win games. They have won before with this team. Arrelious Benn is a great player; Juice Williams is a great player; Eddie McGee is a great player. They have great players, but I guess they are not putting it together yet. On paper, they look like a great team, so we could not underestimate them at all."

Free safety Danny Fortner
On taking momentum forward...
"We came out strong in the first half. We played well in the second half. Obviously, we have a lot of confidence coming out of last week and into this week. We just have to keep rolling and keep doing what we have been doing."

On his Interception return for a touchdown...
"I knew I was gone. I didn't see anyone else near me. I wanted to get to the end zone as fast as I could to celebrate with my teammates."

Left guard Joel Foreman
On today's game...
"We did well against Michigan, and we had to show it was not a one-time thing. When we get into the heart of the Big Ten schedule, we have to show that we can run the football effectively. If we want to be able to win in the Big Ten, we have to dominate up front."

On Illinois...
"We knew they would come out strong early. They are a team that is struggling, but we also have our backs against the wall. We evened our record this week, and now we are 2-1 in the Big Ten. This was a statement game for us. Both teams came out fast, but we had to sustain."

Quarterback Keith Nichol
On his injury...
"The medical staff took a look at it (the elbow), and it's just a little bruise. I will be back."

On how Michigan State played today...
"My main focus was how this team played today. We played extremely well. The defense played extremely well today. We didn't capitalize when we could have. I could have made the game a lot easier for our guys, but to Illinois' credit, they kept on playing."