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Oct. 25, 2009

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Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening Statement...

It was a tough football game and an emotional rollercoaster in some situations. It was a very well played football game from a defensive perspective because there were zero turnovers for both teams, and it was just a tough hard-nosed football game. You have to credit Iowa, and congratulate them for pulling it out at the end. When we scored at the end I thought that we had it, but then they went down and scored and I am not sure what transpired. I know they had three plays in 15 seconds, which is amazing but I thought the key play of the game was when we came up with the pick and then they called holding on us. We are where we are, and it is what it is and the important thing is that we rise back up and we get ready to go next week. We are a good football team, and we are very proud of our football team and how they played tonight. We had some big plays, and any way you cut it we had the lead at the end of the game so we had a chance. We have to look and see what happened there because right now all I can think about was the crosser they hit, and the last three plays of the game. Our guys will respond, and we have to take a step back and take a deep breath and keep moving forward. I think I have some in here before and said, life, football and athletics is a game of inches. Tonight is another example of a time when we did not come up with those inches. I am very disappointed but we did have a great environment here. The fans were outstanding and our players were hyped and played with a lot of emotion from the beginning. Again, I am very proud of our football team and we need to get this squared away come tomorrow and the next day and get ready for Minnesota.

On what he told the team in the locker room following the game...

I told them that I was very proud of them and we are a very good football team. There is not a team we cannot beat on our schedule, and we had to come ready to play today. I talked to them about the inches, and that life is full of adversity that you need to respond to. Life is full of disappoints, and right now we are extemely disappointed. We played our hearts out but this is no one person's fault because we win and lose as a team. I am very proud of our football team and the big plays they made like the hook and latter, and the play to Blair White, but we left a couple points off the board.

On Iowa's ending drive...

I don't know it's just very chaotic the last two minutes and you don't want them to hit anything deep on you. You have to play with some risks. The crossing route was the one that hurt us, and I am not really sure what happened on that. We pressured them and blitzed them, but we didn't get there. We knocked the ball around a little bit, but credit to Ricky Stanzi because he made some plays at the end of the game.

On Ware's questionable hit that was called for a penalty...

I think I will leave that up to you people, because I think you guys can document it, you can research it and you can look at it slow motion and question it yourself. I got an explanation, but I do not want to share it.

On quarterback Keith Nichol not playing tonight...

Keith banged his elbow during the week, and the pain was to the extent that we need to x-ray him. In an emergency situation he could have gone out there, but I felt that if we sent him out there and he got hit, that would set him back. I think he will be fully healthy this next week. When I saw him go down on Tuesday with a very mild hit I just felt like if we could hold him then we should.

On moving on from this...

I think everyone of our games is a game of magnitude for us. Just because Iowa was undefeated it is of less or no more important than the others. It's a big game, but next week is a big game too. I think the way we try to handle things here is to stay composed, and I think our players have done a good job doing that. That allows you to look forward, because if I look back now we have lost three games very, very close. So I can't look back, I have to look forward and that is what our players will do too. We have good senior leadership, and we have solid people leading our football team. It's a little difficult right now, but we will manage and will be okay.

On the hook and latter play...

I just felt like it was the right time in the game to do that because they would be playing soft on third-and-18. They were going to allow us to catch an 8-yard pass so that is what we had to do, and then we had to have some room to get it out cleanly. I thought that was an opportune time to do it, so I made the call to do it and it worked. Mark Hollis, our athletic director, loves to do that, and he had it in the game plan.

On the feeling after their final drive...

It was a little surreal for me because I was stunned. I have always said though that whether you are a senior, a position coach, or a coordinator it's easy to come in here and jump up and down and say we won. However, to come in here when we lose that is the hard part, so you better be strong no matter what your position on this football team is. You need to be strong in the face of adversity, and that's what we need to do. No one said this was going to be easy, and Iowa has a good football team. For me to come in here in tears I don't think would fit the moment because we will stand firm I can promise you that.

On if the team's overall youth was a factor in the loss...

I did not see any problems with youth on the field. We had Jerel Worthy jumping off sides a few times, but that was not why we lost the football game. They made some plays at the end of the game and we have to credit them. The slant was perfectly thrown and perfectly run and we were right on them. We had to get just one hand in there and we could have won the game, but that's the way it goes sometimes and you see it every weekend, you will see it tomorrow in the NFL and next weekend as well. I would not say youth is the problem there, I just wish we could have executed some a little bit more in certain situations, but I also thought there were situations that we played well. The thing that I keep going back to is that we play hard and we play tough. I have always said that if our guys come in and play hard and play tough and play to make plays, then I can handle whatever happens and thats what we did tonight. I will handle it and our football team will too. It's when you are not prepared that upsets you, but that was not the case tonight.

Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell

On the hook and ladder...

It's something of a trick play, but it's also something that we've done on a lot of occasions at practice. I give all the credit to Coach Dantonio. We had it all practiced, but he felt that was the right time to call it and obviously he knew what he was doing. Sometimes as a head coach you have to go with your gut and his gut told him that was the right time. The good thing is we had practiced it enough that it looked like it had a chance to be well executed like it did. Give all the credit to Coach D on that.

On the touchdown pass...

I'll have to see that on tape. They were in the area of what we called. With him holding the ball, did things get cloudy and Blair find a seam? That could have been too. Trust me, you'd have to have the replay to see that. Kirk (Cousins) hung in there, found a seam and made it work.

On the offensive play: Was it Iowa's D or what MSU did...

It's a combination. We have a lot of respect for Iowa. They have a tremendous defense and we're going to be committed to taking what we could get. I think we did that. I think our defense did a tremendous job. That's what kept us able to go. The good thing, I don't know if we had many if any 3-and-outs. The one thing that will always pinch us when you get down there on a team like Iowa, you have to come away with a touchdown when you're down there on the two.

Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi

On the Spartans' defensive effort today...

I'm really proud of our defense and proud of our kids and the way they played today. They stood toe-to-toe with a top-10 team in the country for 58 and a half minutes. We didn't make plays at the end and they did and we'll go look at the tape. I'm just really proud of our kids and they way they played.

On the last Iowa drive...

The last play doesn't bother me as much as one of those plays where the guy came across the middle. Like I said, we'll find out exactly what happened on that play. It may have been a breakdown in coverage or something, I don't know. Give them credit, they got a guy open when they couldn't get a guy open all day long.

On the play of the defensive line...

Everything starts up front. So, I think our defensive line played a heck of a game. I don't think they converted many third downs, at least the first three and a half quarters. I'm really proud of the way the defense played.

Michigan State Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On the team's last drive down the field...

The hook and ladder play was one that we ran in the spring game last year and hadn't really run it in a game yet. It worked the way we wanted it to and then I threw the touchdown to Blair. I just stepped into the pocket and he was wide open and I hit him.

On his feelings after the drive...

It's never over until the clock says zero. We knew we had a great chance, but it's never over until it's all zeros.

On what was said in the locker room...

We said that we are going to learn from this and move on. It hurts right now but we showed heart and played with some Spartan pride as we always talk about. We're going to have to bounce back, as we've done in the past.

Michigan State Wide Receiver Blair White

On his touchdown catch...

The touchdown was all No. 8. I ran the wrong route and just happened to be open and he found me. I don't get any credit for that one, it's all Kirk.

On what he takes away from the game...

We need to score more points. The defense plays a great game and we just don't have enough points on the board.

Michigan State Linebacker Greg Jones

On the final drives of the game...

We just had to stay focused. I just told my guys to stay confident. We play for the next play and we don't point fingers. I told my guys to stay composed and we'd stop them.

On Iowa meeting expectations...

They brought everything they have. We thought we matched up well with them. We just have to play all four quarters, that's the bottom line.

On the game's intensity...

It was a battle out there. They came out hard but we held together.

On the team's goal line stand...

The whole stop goes to the defensive line. They played their butts off today.

On how the defense's strategy changed during the game...

We tried some different things today and tried playing different ways. They are pretty solid. You just have to keep pushing when you play a team like that. You have to stay in there and keep fighting.

On how the team moves on...

You have to find what your mistakes were and learn from them. We have to bounce back. We have to learn from it, move on and look forward to the next game.

Michigan State Senior Kicker Brett Swenson

On getting the MSU all-time scoring record...

It's just a great accomplishment and something I'm proud of as a senior. I want to continue to do well and strive to be better each week and hopefully I continue to do that these next few weeks and help the team win.

The tradition of great kickers here is unbelievable and to be up there on that list is quite humbling and exciting at the same time. I wish this night could have been even more special and we could have come away with the win.

Michigan State Junior Linebacker Eric Gordon

On the tough loss...

We knew it was going to be a tough game and they started making plays in the end and we were giving up plays. It's tough but you have to move on.

On fatigue being a factor on the final drive...

I don't think it was that much of a factor. I've been more fatigued before. It just comes down to execution.

Michigan State Freshman Running Back Edwin Baker

On the atmosphere in the locker room after the game...

It was quiet. No one really said too much.

On the physicality of the game...

It was a great experience. Iowa played very hard and it came down to the wire.

On the emotions of losing the game on the final play...

Words can't describe what that moment felt like. It came down to the last play and you don't feel in your mind like you are going to lose a football game. It's a tough thing to swallow. We have to come together collectively and get our thoughts together and get ready for next week.

Michigan State Senior Linebacker Brandon Denson

On the game being a defensive battle...

It was definitely a defensive battle. We put our best foot forward. We knew they were going to come in here and play smash-mouth football and we knew we would have to play that same style too. I think we played well defensively and we fought to the end.

On his sack...

I was coming off the edge and I saw (Ricky) Stanzi step up and I said to myself, 'I've got to get him, I've got to get him.

On playing against a traditional offense...

I like playing football period. It's always nice to play an opponent that isn't going to run many trick plays and they are going to come right at you.

Michigan State Senior Defensive End Trevor Anderson

On the emotion when Blair White caught the touchdown to take the lead...

It was actually before he caught it that I said "we're about to win this game, we're going to score". Offense did their job, and it fell on the defenses shoulders, but we had a call here, a call there. To come so close and lose a game like that by two points it hurts, but we're going to pick up and get ready to roll for next week. We still have a great chance in this conference, you never know the way things will roll. We may still end up tying in the conference for first.

On what he was thinking on the goal line at the end...

Stop, period. They get nothing. They get no touchdown, if they get anything it's a field goal. We did a good job of that on three, but that last one if we had stopped them we would have won the game.

On comparing other loses to the one tonight...

This was probably the most painful one, because it came down to the defense making plays. Doing things that we basically practice thousands of times. At the end of the day Iowa played a great game, they came in with a good game plan and they executed. It was a tough fought game like we said it was going to be in the beginning.

On how tired he is of being inches away from a big win...

Two or three points here or a couple of more seconds and we win. I wish that we were saying we are 7-0 or 8-0 and at the top of the conference, but you got to take the good with the bad and I think we're going to move on to next week.

On letting Iowa move down the field in the last two minutes...

You can't explain it, from a players stand point you just can't explain it. Players have to make plays and their players made plays that we didn't.

Michigan State Junior Tight End Charlie Gantt

On his recovery of Edwin Baker's first quarter fumble...

Brendon Moss came up to me and said "[Adrian Clayborn] is about to fall [on the ball]" and then [Moss] pushed [Clayborn], and I saw the ball in between [Clayborn's] legs and he was just cradling it with his legs. I tried to pry it out of there and I happened to fall on top of it. He was trying to hold it in between his legs and I had to rip it out.

On his team's effort in the loss...

We played our hearts out on both sides of the ball. And for that to happen, it's just heartbreaking.

On how the team can better convert goal line situations into touchdowns...

We've just got to watch film and we've got to correct our mistakes and get better. You've got to be bold in there, you've got to get off the ball faster. It's just a mindset. We've just got to watch film and get better and move on.

On how the team will rebound for next week's game at Minnesota...

It's a tough loss, but we always rebound. We're a good team, and we're going to move on, there's no doubt about that.

Michigan State Junior Wide Receiver Mark Dell

On the state of the team's offense...

We definitely have a great offense. We have a lot of great receivers and our running backs are definitely making plays and our quarterback is definitely getting a lot more poised back there. Our offense is definitely on the rise.

On what it says about Kirk Cousins as a quarterback after completing a touchdown pass to Blair White, who ran an incorrect route...

It says a lot. Kirk (Cousins) is definitely a heads up guy. He's watching film all the time and he knows the weaknesses of the defense and I guess he saw something out there. And Blair (White), I don't know if he ran the right route or not, but it was a great catch and a great throw. Great throw.

On the nature of the game between his team and Iowa...

Iowa is definitely a physical team, every year we play Iowa is definitely down to the wire. They're a great team, they're definitely physical, but we pride ourselves on being physical as well and that's the outlook we came into the game with. I can't take anything from those guys, those guys went out and played hard.

Michigan State Senior Center Joel Nitchman

On the play of the line...

They are a pretty physical front and they are very talented. I thought we handled them well and played well, for the most part. We left a few points off the board, but that will come. We're going to get back to work this week and I look forward to that.

On the last MSU offensive drive...

It was just excellent teamwork by everybody. Blair White had an exceptional effort. We gave up a few sacks on that drive to start but it's a tribute to our coaching staff because we persevered and got a touchdown.

On Iowa's defensive line...

They played an excellent game. Like I said, give credit to them. They are very talented and played a great game. They put some pressure on us and that is something we have to work on.

Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz

Opening remarks...

It was a little better than the 1999 game sticking to history so that parts good. What can I say. We're just thrilled to get the victory. First of all both teams really competed hard out there. It was a hard fought game. The score is representative of that and what a swing of emotions and crazy series here in the last couple of series. Michigan State did a great job of coming back, taking it down for the touch down drive and then our guys responded. Its really representative of the kind of football team we have and they way they've been playing this year. They refuse to think they're out of it until the end of the game and I just can't say enough about the way our guys, the effort they gave and the way the pulled this thing out. It wasn't pretty for a lot of the game and Michigan State had a lot to do with that and but we had to have it. We had it and I'm just really really proud of our entire football team.

On quarterback Ricky Stanzi's control on the last drive of the game...

Outside of the one, we hit a pass down to Derrell (Johnson-Koulianos) for the last field goal I think it was. It seems like it was the first third down we converted down the field. It felt that way, I don't know if it is true or not. We were having a hard time throwing the ball down the field at all, getting anything done and not much was coming easy anywhere. And then for Rick (Stanzi) to take the team like he did down that last series, is its absolutely outstanding. It's a great effort on his part, and it's a team effort, that's how we've been playing football all season long. I thought our protection was excellent and our receivers stepped up and did a great job. Rick's the guy that was orchestrating things and he probably learned something tonight. We were out in the rain on Thursday and it was coming down pretty good. We usually finish up with two minute (drills). We put that off and thought maybe we would do them Friday. We skipped them on Friday so next two-minute drill we might do might be next spring because that's the best two-minute drill we've had. It's just a great effort though, it starts with your quarterback keeping his composure and directing the team.

On the last play being called by Ken O'Keefe...

It was a great call by Ken. We had a fourth down obviously, and just an excellent play called. We cleared out the left side for Marvin (McNutt) and we had been trying to get the fake ball to him a couple times earlier and he made the nice break inside and made a great grab. So it was a great execution but certainly a lot of credit to Ken O'Keefe. What a fantastic call.

On the young Iowa players...

Our team is getting a little into the season now. Its one thing I've said all season long, if we'd have a bright spot this year we've had a lot of guys step up and do some things, some young guys. Both of our running backs are freshman. Adam (Robinson) is a red shirt freshman. Riley Reiff stepped in when (Bryan) Bulaga was out up in the offensive line. And today we lose Dace Richardson unfortunately, and it looks like that might be for a couple of weeks. It looks like a broken bone. Brett Greenwood comes out, and Colin Sandeman. Fortunately we didn't have to get any body back to return a punt that could have been a little dicey. We were running out of guys back there and to lose somebody else, just like those three guys. Our team seems to be effective when somebody comes out and somebody steps up to get the job done. And its just a real credit to all of our players.

On the hit with the personal foul against Michigan State player Jeremey Ware...

I couldn't see it. All I could was a hit coming. I couldn't see the exact hit. The only thing I noticed is that its real a point of interest nationally right now so thats the only thing I can say about it but I couldn't see it specifically. I did sense the crowd wasn't pleased with it. I did get that feeling.

On the season developing into a few magical moments...

We've already had a couple. Hopefully we're not using them all up but we've already had a couple. One things for sure, we've given the fans their money's worth because we've taken them right down to the wire a couple times now and its just a real credit to our players. They realize there is ebb and flow in a game and its football. Both teams are competing hard and points are real tough to come by until the last couple minutes of the ball game. And neither of us look back on the goal line situations for example. Both of us had great opportunities to come up with touch downs down there and neither team could and that's more reflection on the defense being played on both sides of the ball. Both teams really played good defense tonight.

Iowa Junior Quarterback Ricky Stanzi

On his celebration after the game...

I can't hardly remember how I celebrated. I just remember freaking out and everyone jumping around.

On what he was thinking about during Iowa's last play...

I definitely wasn't thinking about championships or an undefeated season. If you are thinking about that, then you are probably going to make the wrong play. I can promise you that championships haven't entered our minds, yet, and that is because of Coach Ferentz. All we were worried about was getting to eight and zero, and all we are worried about now is the next game.

On was is special about this Iowa team...

It isn't easy to get to eight and zero, so we know we have a good group of players. That is really all it comes down to, a great group of guys who want to win, want to play hard and most importantly, win for Coach Ferentz.

Iowa Sophomore Wide Receiver Marvin McNutt

On how if feels to be eight and zero...

It is an awesome feeling. Iowa has never done that before, so to be that team that does it is a great feeling. Especially it win it like this, we love to play these types of games.

On MSU's hook-and-lateral play...

That was a great play. I thought it was pretty impressive to call a hook-and-lateral. They were down and that play put a dent in our defense. But once they scored, we knew what we had to do.

On his thumb injury...

My thumb still hurts. We tape it up every game though, so that if I do catch a ball it won't re-injure it. We do try to protect it in the pile. But, I actually can't do anything in the pile, because of my teammates protecting me. I just feel more and more weight on me.

On the last play of the game...

To be honest, I didn't even know if I was going to catch the ball. It felt like the slowest play ever. Once I got open, I didn't know if he was going to throw it. Then I saw the ball, and I thought 'okay just catch it.' And once I caught it I just thanked God for helping me catch the ball.

 

 

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