Post-Game Quotes: Nebraska
 
 
 

 

 
 

Oct. 29, 2011

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Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement...
"What a difference a week makes. That's the first thing I'll say. Obviously, I thought Nebraska came out and played very well defensively. They took the routes away from us downfield and doubled a bit with the safeties. They took us out of some things and got pressure on the quarterback. Defensively, we played pretty well in the first half. We gave up a handoff sweep that went for about 30 yards. We had a great goal line stand and kept it to 10-3 at the half. Opportunities got away from us a little bit. We had the big kickoff return at the end of the first half and came away with no points. The second half we needed to come out and play better. Our attitude was great coming out, but we couldn't get off the field. Some of that was unforced. We had penalties on third down and sometimes they made plays. They continued to play very well. Nebraska played very well on the perimeter. Give Coach Pelini and his staff great credit. They shut down the things that we do well. And now you see the result of the game. This is about the long haul. This isn't about one game. All of our goals are in front of us. We have to play through the schedule. Our goals remain intact. We have always been able to come together and figure these things out with some resolve. There are disappointed guys in the locker room, but we will respond. Now I'll take some questions."

On going away from the run game in the second half when it seemed to be working...
"We were able to run the football and then we came out in the second half and again we were able to sort of establish the run, but at some point, you have to throw it. Then you get behind the chains a little bit and the drive sort of fizzles out. When you have 53 plays and 200 yards of offense, you aren't going to win a game usually."

On the penalty situation and having such a drastic increase in just one week's time...
"It's disappointing when you have unforced penalties. Offsides penalties. Their hard count tried to get us to jump, but that's part of the game, too. We had four or five of those. Too many. Things are happening on the field and they call a facemask on us. I don't know whether it is or isn't but there are calls that are grey area calls and they'll go one way or another. We have to deal with that and we have to move forward."

On if any Michigan State injuries were long term...
"Well, we will find out. In the locker room, it didn't seem like any of them were too long term. It was a very physical football game on both sides. There were a lot of guys getting dinged up out there. Credit Nebraska. Our guys need to remember their experience here. Great atmosphere and outstanding fans. A great program."

On only having the football for three minutes in the third quarter...
"What is deflating is when you put yourself in the situation to get off the field and there is a penalty. Yes, they're going to make some plays, but you have to get off the field on third down. That is the name of the game and give your offense the chance to get the ball. We had one drive in the third quarter and were only one drive away. Its difficult in that situation. It's not like they ran away with it. They usually run for more than that. We played OK in the first half other than couple plays. In the second half, we had a combination of hurting ourselves and them making plays."

Michigan State Senior Quarterback Kirk Cousins

Opening statement...
"First of all I want to credit Nebraska. They played a great game and had a great scheme on both sides of the ball. I thought that our defense did a very good job today and kept us in the game basically the whole game. Special teams played well for the most part as well. We just had a few too many missed opportunities and when you go on the road in the Big Ten against a good team like Nebraska, you can't miss out on opportunities that you had. We beat ourselves one too many times and it made it hard to come out of the hole. We are a much better football team than the way we played today, and we still have a lot of things in front of us to accomplish. It's important to push on and understand so much of what happens to us this season is not what happens to us, but how we respond. It is very important, going forward, that we respond in the right way and I know we will, but we are excited now for the November schedule and look to get back on track next week against Minnesota."

On what the problem with the passing game was...
"We never got in a rhythm. First off, we have to give credit to Nebraska. They had great coverage. They did a nice job covering us in space, and I think they have great athletes to do that. We had a hard time getting separation. At times, we made plays and moved the ball, but we never came away with the number of points that we needed."

On if he was frustrated with the lack of time to throw or the lack of open receivers...
"It was a combination of everything. There were plays where there was nothing there, no matter how long the protection lasted. There were plays where protection broke down where I had something. There were plays where it was a combination. It was a total mix. I felt like the offensive line did play very well, especially in the first half. In the second half, Nebraska knew we were passing, so they had a bend your ears back mentality that makes it a lot easier for a defensive line and a defensive coordinator to be able to call plays to beat our offense. Our offensive line is put in a tough situation when we are dropping back to pass every play."

On if he felt like he had to force passes into double coverage...
"Yeah, I tried to force some. I felt that with how physical they were being that I needed to put the ball there, so we get some pass interference calls. I felt like if we kept throwing the ball away, that we weren't going to get a flag. We really felt like they were playing physical and credit them that they never really got flagged and they won that battle."

On if the four straight conference games against good opponents wore them down...
"I don't think it wore us down. That's why we train year-round. That's why we come back from a bowl game in January and start working right away to get ready for a stretch like the one we had. We performed really well through it until today, obviously. We'll be ready for November. We're ready for whatever challenge is thrown at us; that's part of playing in the Big Ten."

On how he evaluates the past month...
"You take the good with the bad. We had a great month. It didn't end the way we wanted it to, but like I said it's more about how we respond than what we did in October. People remember how you finish and that's why November is so important; people are going to remember how we finish and I feel like all of our goals are still in front of us if we finish strong."

On if Nebraska's defense was more physical on the field than what he saw on film...
"No, I think they were what we saw on film. The way they carried verticals and the way they ran on the field and tried to really jump on routes was what we saw on film. A few times when I felt they were going to jump on routes that I needed to be able to run the ball and take off. A couple of times I did that and it was productive. I maybe could've done that more with the way they were spreading the field out. I thought I could've run the ball a few more times and got some more positive yards."