Post-Game Quotes: Iowa
 
 
 

 

 
 

Oct. 13, 2012

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Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement...
"Tough football game today. You go from having an opportunity to win at the end of the football game, to losing it in a split second. It's tough to deal with and it's tough for our players and coaches. I keep going back to when were not successful it's a little bit like life. You have to take it as it comes and can't get overwhelmed by it. You have to bring something out of it and go forward. There's no other option with that. You can't feel sorry for yourself. The difference is inches as always. You have the opportunity to get an interception on their last third down play and don't quite come up with it. If we pick it, it's obviously a whole different scenario in overtime. And then they make the pick after they kick it. The message to our football team is to look forward and not backwards. It can always get worse. We need to make sure we are ready to play next week after we deal with this today. We are 4-3 and need to re-evaluate where were at. Sometimes life is tough and not very fair."

On what he saw this week coming into the game...
"I knew Iowa was a good football team. We had close games with Iowa just like every other Big Ten team, and they are tough games. I knew they would play tough on defense and I knew it would be a battle. We talked about how good Iowa was. We strive for perfection and execution, and you rarely get that, but its what you look for."

On re-evaluating at this point in the season...
"I think we have to look at where we are as a program right now and what's the next step for us. When I say re-evaluate I'm not talking about personnel I'm talking about what were doing right now. Re-evaluate our goals and what we have to do now to win the Legends Division. Obviously we have to win next week. All the different things that go along with losing a football game you have to re-evaluate where you're at. We still have a very good football team and have lost two very close games. When you lose in double overtime you're looking at one play here or there that we could have made."

On the last play of the football game...
"We were running a snag route to (Keith) Mumphrey. The ball was thrown a little high and he got his fingers on it and tipped it. If the ball is a half-inch shorter it's probably a catch and a first down. But the ball gets tipped right to the defender standing there. As promising as things look it can change immediately, and it's tough. When you're on the sidelines it's very difficult to handle, and you're just sort of stunned."

On this point in the season being gut check time...
"I would call it that. We knew we had a tough stretch, and our entire schedule is a tough stretch. Our guys will rise to it and we will play hard next week. We have to get our legs back underneath us and absorb everything mentally and push through it. Life isn't fair, you have to deal with it and move forward."

On taking the field goal on 4th-and-1 instead of going for it in the first half...
"It was 7-3 at that time and I felt like we needed to take the field. It was a tough game with the rain and it was proving to be slippery out there. We didn't know if seven points would be enough or four points, but there's no guarantee that we get the first down on that play. That early in the game you have to take points, and that's what we decided to do."

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz

Opening statement...
"Obviously just extremely proud of our football team. It was a really hard-fought game. Both teams really competed hard; I think anybody in the stadium today could have seen that. Just really proud about the way the guys hung in there against a very good football team. It was more than 60 minutes, obviously and it took basically every player out there. And outside of the turnover, you can throw all the stats out the window. It was just a hard-fought, one of those tough games."

On his team's defensive performance...
"I think they're growing, and they played extremely hard today. It seemed like they gave a pass there each direction, but outside of that I thought they really competed and, you know, we started out in adverse circumstances and held them to 3 [points], which was a positive, and I just thought they played hard all day long.

"To win on the turnover there at the end...outstanding and probably appropriate...to have an unsung guy was really the trigger guy, really triggered this all, to get his hand on the ball. It's kind of a fitting way. It gave us the chance to get the pick."

On his team's fourth-quarter drive to get the game-tying touchdown...
"Again, it was a game where we weren't...at halftime, I can't even imagine what those stats looked like. Really, up until that drive; that and the last series there was series there was the story of the game because we started out 1st and 25 with not a lot of time on the clock, and we hadn't done much up to that point, so James [Vandenberg] hitting Keenan [Davis] - huge play to get us out of the hole - and then great call that 3rd and 6, might have been 3rd and whatever, and had a heck of a run by Mark Weisman, and then Mark finished it off on another good call by Greg [Davis].

"If anybody saw the game...if you take those two plays out, otherwise we gain 100 yards. But that's football. That's just sticking with it. Mark's a tough competitor.

On the game turning in his team's favor in the fourth quarter...
"I felt the turn when it was 1st and 25, and I said `Oh boy, that's not good.' So...huge play by James [Vandenberg] and Keenan [Davis] down the boundary. Then, that third down thing...you know we were playing for two downs there so we took a shot on the run and Mark [Weisman] not only got the first down but then really impacted the game.

"So those two plays...that gave us momentum certainly when we got the ball down inside."

On the performance of his kicker, Mike Meyer...
"Mike has...really turned the corner from a confidence standpoint, maturity standpoint from back in the spring. And just really started performing the way we all hoped he would. He's been good the prior two years, so we don't take it for granted, but boy, his execution was flawless."

On the improvement of his team and getting his 100th victory at Iowa...
"What we've tried to do is work on and focus on what's right in front of us and getting better, and that's what this game is all about, and that's what it teaches you. So you've got to have some mental toughness to do that because every day's not going to go the way you want, certainly not every play is going to go the way you want. And today was a great illustration of that.

"We had some tough circumstances but the guys hung in there and kept working, and I thought we improved during the course of the game in a lot of areas, and we're growing as a football team right now based on the last two weeks.

"As far as [this being] the 100th [career victory] or the 10th, this is a game that I'll remember for a while just because of the way the guys battled and just stuck with it."

On winning a tough game with low statistical yardage gains...
"You get into games [of this nature] where stats don't mean a lot other than protecting the football, and in this series it's been huge - at least the last 6 years - ironically we're dead even. Today we were both minus one - so...direct parallel there. But other than that, the team that turns it over the most is usually the team that loses."

His summary of the game...
"The biggest thing is just the way our guys fought right to the end because they [Michigan State] weren't going away - that was pretty obvious - but I think our guys answered the same way - they said they weren't going away either - and it's one of those games where, you know...last guy standing.

"It was a real great effort by our guys."

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi

On the third down play with Weisman...
"We bounced it outside. We probably were man coverage two man and I'm not sure where our field end was lined up. He might've got lined up wrong and I'm not sure how he got outside, but I probably should've made a different call. I probably should've kept our base line on the field and stopped the run because they do have a tendency to run the ball."

On getting off the field when needed...
"There's no doubt about it. First, we've got to finish it defensively. They kick a field goal; we're up by seven. They shouldn't have scored on the last drive. The combination of that third down where they bounced it outside the field and then ran it, we kind of knew where they were running the ball too as far as when they lined up, and the formation they lined up in. We didn't make the play and then there were a couple more plays we left out there on that same series that we should've made plays on.

"On that same drive, I think (the deep pass) was in pretty good position. It was a heck of a throw. I think (Darqueze Dennard) was in good coverage, just like the one in the overtime in the end zone where he's got a chance to pick it, it's the same route, and he's got great coverage and it could've ended right there. So we had opportunities to get off the field on defense and we didn't get it done.

"There was no (safety support on the long pass). There were trips and you've got to take care of full verticals. So there was no extra safety over there on that side to help him, wasn't supposed to."

On the presence of a leg whip on the third and five touchdown run...
"I did not see (Denicos Allen) get leg whipped but I saw him laying on the ground. Someone said he chopped him but I don't know if it was a leg whip or not. Wouldn't surprise me a bit but, we have got to make a play."

On the performance of the defense today...
"You look at it, there's not a bunch of guys playing bad out there. We just got to make plays in the fourth quarter. We talked about defending the house and in the fourth quarter, we got a chance to win it but we didn't do it."

Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar

On clock management at the end of the first half...
"We wanted to try and get out of the half; obviously that didn't occur and then we got something and went from there. Then unfortunately, we didn't handle the last play there. Maybe we get a field goal attempt, maybe we don't, I don't know. We just didn't execute."

On the last play of the first half...
"We completed the ball to Keith (Mumphery) for a big gain. We made clear we were going to kill the clock in that situation and then run the field goal unit out. Then our field goal team, from my impression, ran out onto the field too quickly. Then (the offense) started to run off. We just didn't execute.

"(They weren't called out) because we had them on a high rank and just didn't execute in that situation.

"No (I don't think Maxwell ran out on his own). I think as soon as he saw the field goal unit run out, he ran off. But simply, what we had to do was kill the ball, line up, and take a shot from where we were at."

On the continued problems in the passing game...
"I'll have to look at the film. We hit some shots. We just came up a yard short on a couple of third down conversions where Aaron (Burbridge) had a chance to advance. I think there was some good coverage. We got some pressure late in the fourth quarter. We'll have to just keep going back and evaluating it, but it's difficult right now to say where we're really at with it."

On the underneath routes...
"The underneath routes are designed to go through a progression and in doing so, oftentimes the third piece of the puzzle is the underneath route and unfortunately the ball came down there on two occasions.

"It's a combination of (not getting separation on the outside) and the actual read. You go through the progression; you go off your key and whether you're getting your coverage. Then you move through your progression and you go. We thought we missed one for sure, maybe two.

"I don't know if (it was Andrew Maxwell not getting the right read). We'll go back and look at it. From our perspective, we thought we got a little anxious on one of them and the ball came out to Le'Veon (Bell) really quick. The other two we went to, those were designed option routes. We're trying to get an isolation match-up on the backer end of the boundary and he did a good job of covering us."

On the lack of Dion Sims and its impact in passing in the red zone...
"There didn't (seem to be a lot of openings). You certainly miss a player of Dion's caliber, but there were guys out there that could make plays. We just didn't get it done in the right situations."

On the call with Connor Cook in the first half and the rush following...
"It was a simple speed option.

"It looked like from our vantage point that the left tackle reached the defensive end and Conner looked like he tucked it inside rather than staying outside. Again, we'll go back and we'll really evaluate what exactly happened tomorrow."

On the fourth and one decision to go for the field goal...
"You felt like (if) you kicked the field goal, you were up a touchdown. So it ensures that situation. Really the second down call as we look at it, we didn't get the run out of it that we needed. We went for a play action pass, don't get that through coverage, we come back, and run Le'Veon (Bell). So third down you're in there and fourth down you decide to kick it."

On Coach Dantonio's authority in going for field goals...
"Coach has the calls. He certainly communicates with all of us. We go through it and talk about the situation, where we're at right now. But he has the ultimate call."

On the possibility of Dion Sims returning next week...
"I don't know that. I think he made progress as the week went on. We'll evaluate it as we go in the week.

You certainly want all your guys out there but we're in a situation right now. This is who we have. I thought Paul Lang and Derek Hoebing both stepped in and did a formidable job. We'll evaluate and see where we're at but it'd be great to have all of our guys."

Michigan State senior wide receiver Aaron Burbridge

On the weather factor...
"We play in the wet sometimes, so it doesn't have much of a factor. We still caught the ball so it was all right."

On the mindset of the team...
"We know who we are as a team, so we have to just go out there and play. I don't think there is really a problem with the team; we just have to keep playing."

On the leadership of the team...
"The captains just keep reminding us to have our heads up and get ready for the next ball."

On the feel for the offense...
"In practice I am getting more comfortable and learning to play faster. I am getting more comfortable with the offense every week and progressing with that."

Michigan State junior safety Isaiah Lewis

On the interception in overtime...
"I just stumbled a little bit. I could have gotten it if I stood up. It wasn't because of the weather."

On the defense...
"We played well. We did what we said we were going to do, and dominated the run game. They got a few plays, but overall I think we played well. Iowa has good players too, with a good blocking scheme. Things happen. It can get frustrating, but I'm not worried about it. We have a good defense, just because we give up some small things. That does not change the fact that we have a good defense. Most defenses don't do what we do. Things happen, sometimes things don't fall our way."

On the mentality of the team...
"We are still going with the same mentality as we did before. We are going out there to win games. We are used to winning games, not used to losing so we will keep the same mentality."

Finding identity as a team...
"We are looking for that game. Last year, Ohio State was the game that we defined ourselves at. We haven't had that game yet, the one where we find out who we are. I believe that game is going to come and am just waiting for it. I don't know why it hasn't come yet, but we will figure it out."

Michigan State junior running back Le'Veon Bell

On the running game...
"Iowa is a tough team so they're not going to be easy to push around. I thought we did a good job running the ball today, I wanted to really pound it in at the end but it didn't happen and they made a play at the end."

On the last play of the first half...
"I guess it was just a miscommunication. I told the offensive line in the huddle the play before that we were going to get the first down, that we were going to catch the ball and get into field goal range. So I told the offensive line to get up there and get set so we could spike the ball but then the field goal team started running on. That messed everything up and it was just miscommunication on the sideline."

On playing in the rain...
"It was definitely tough. You have to really gather your feet and keep your feet under you. A lot of the time you think about holding on to the ball more than making a play. The ball was a little wet and my gloves were a little slippery so I played most of the game without my gloves on holding the ball in my hands."

On the last play of the game...
"I couldn't believe it when I saw it happen. I thought as soon as the ball was tipped I knew someone was going to catch it. It's just the worst feeling in the world knowing you came up short but we're going to get over it and get back to the grind."

Michigan State senior right guard Chris McDonald

On what to take from the game...
"You've got to watch the game film and learn from it. We've just got move on. We've got a big game next week against Michigan. There's a lot of positives out there. I think the offensive line stepped up when we were able to run the ball. We've just got to learn from it and move on to Michigan."

On focus towards Michigan...
"Michigan is a big rivalry. I don't think Michigan State has ever beaten them five years in a row, so I'm looking forward to the game."

On the run game against Iowa...
"When you play a team like Iowa, whoever is more physical will win. They have a strong defensive game and we ran the ball when we needed to. We just needed to finish strong, and I don't think we did that."

On comfort level on the offensive line...
"I think we were being very physical up front and there's little plays here and there that we missed and we just can't do that."

On confidence level of the team...
"You just have to learn from it week by week. That's what we always talk about is how we are 1-0 each week. We have to take any positive we can out of it. With this next week being Michigan, we don't need to have a pep talk or anything like that. We are all going to be pumped and we're all going to have a chip on our shoulders."

On the interception to end the game...
"It happens and it freezes you. You're speechless. It was a back and forth football game. Both teams played very physical. It didn't come our way so of course you're a little disappointed."

Sophomore defensive end Marcus Rush

On the last play of the game...
"I think we all thought we had the game in our hands. We were all confident. When something like that happens, it puts your head down immediately."

On lessons from the game...
"I think champions are built on games like this. I think we just have to learn from this. We have a lot of young guys on the team and it's just an experience. We've got to take our positives from this game and make sure that when we are up, we're going for it and everything is going our way, we can't relax on anything because anything can happen in the Big Ten."

Michigan State junior linebacker Denicos Allen

On giving up the loss in overtime...
"We played well throughout the game, but we've got to learn how to finish and come out on top. We've got to prepare for it, work hard in practice and it's really something we've got to learn together as a team. It's a brotherhood and that's just dedication to the team."

On last drive of regulation...
"It's really disappointing. That last drive was all we needed, just to hold them and we couldn't come up with the stop. That's the most disappointing thing when you hold them the whole game to not much of a running game and their last series they get a lot of running yards. It's frustrating."

On his injury...
"I got a little leg whipped. I couldn't make the play and I felt bad about that personally because I feel like I was in a position to make the play and I didn't. That's things I can do better is just make plays no matter what."

On moving forward from this game...
"Next week is Michigan, a big rivalry game in their house. It's time to see what we're about. It's time to see if we can respond to a loss like this and keep our hopes up for a Big Ten Championship."

Iowa sophomore wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley

On the thrill of winning at the end...
"Yeah, that was a great win, you know? For me personally, coming back to my home state and getting a big win; it was good. It was good for our team as well and for the future of our season."

On the outstanding performance of the defense...
"They kept fighting. They fought every single play and showed a lot of resiliency today. They play hard and we are glad to come out with the win."

On his team's performance late in the fourth quarter offensively...
"Our running game started to excel. We kept blocking, we stayed on our blocks on the perimeters and Mark (Weisman) was able to find the holes and he was able to get the yards. That was huge. We got that touchdown and got into overtime and it was big for the win."

On the importance of kicker Mike Meyer on a day where conditions are bad and points are hard to come by...
"It's huge, it's something Coach Ferentz preaches so much. He talks about special teams and the importance of it and we need points every day in our kicking game and everyone's focused and it paid off for us today."

On being at the top of the Big Ten...
"It's great. Not a lot people have confidence in us on the outside but among us one hundred guys we know that we can do some pretty special things and we're going to keep fighting. I don't know what's going on with the standings and what's going on in the Big Ten right now and I really can't. When I look at it, you've got to take it one game at a time and that's what we did today. We're going to keep fighting and we can't get too happy with the win. We want to enjoy this and move on next week."

Iowa senior quarterback James Vandenberg

On the execution of the team down the stretch...
"I don't care if they're home or away, the close ones are the ones that really separate the good football teams. I thought we executed very well down the stretch. We made the plays when we had to and we gave ourselves a chance."

On his mood on the field...
"I think they would tell you my demeanor was probably the same as it was with eight minutes left in the second quarter. You just got to keep going, you got to keep trying to execute plays and get us into the best place. The guys did a great job up front with all of the communication and switches. A lot of credit goes to the O-Line and (Mark)Weisman for keeping things on the same page."

On his thoughts on kicker Mike Meyer...
"I respect what Mike does so much. I love talking to him at practice. He's just a great competitor He's got a natural aura about him. It makes you feel really safe. You really saw the maturity in his class all spring, all fall, as the season has gone on. He's a guy I respect so much and he's just continuing to do a great job for us."

On his thought about the overtime play...
"I knew that they had to feel a little rattled that we came back to make that drive, but I liked our chances. We had been balanced all day. Not very many yards running, but we were balanced, still and able to mix it up and I felt good with that going into overtime."

On what started to click for the Hawkeyes in the fourth quarter...
"I think just that big play kind of got us out to field position. We were at midfield with four and a half minutes left. There was zero rush. We didn't need to get in to multiple receiver sets. We didn't get in with our tight ends and keep that balance. I thought that was big. Third-and-six--that was a call I was really confident in. I knew we were going to go in and try to make them stop our run game with their three-down, which they do so well at. But, Mark (Weisman) made a great run, we opened a hole and he did a great job."

On how Iowa's defense performed...
"They made the other offense struggle as well. A lot of hats go off to our defense for hanging in there and making them kick those field goals. The only touchdown they scored was off of the interception on the first drive, so I thought our defense just did a great job hanging in there and keeping us in the game."

Iowa sophomore fullback Mark Weisman

On the frustration with Iowa's offense...
"It's never good to have three and outs, but as an offense we're confident. We know that we're close. We're missing some easy plays out there, but we kept fighting. That's all you can do is just keep fighting until you get the ball."

On the big play in the fourth quarter (long pass from James Vandenberg to Keenan Davis)...
"That set a spark in us, definitely. It helped us big time. We need that, no doubt. If we don't have that, we don't have that drive."

On what the difference was that made the last play of the game...
"I think we were battling all day and eventually it pays off. We just kept fighting out there, giving punches, keep going and just got it done at the end."

On Iowa's defense...
"Defense is unbelievable out there. They're the only reason we were in the game at all. We give them more credit than anyone out there."