Post Game Quotes: Nebraska
 
 
 

 

 
 

Nov. 3, 2012

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Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement...
Tough game, very tough game, maybe one of the toughest games I've experienced here. I thought we had every opportunity to win the football game. Whether that plays out on the field, whether that's some kind of way; I'm not sure how at times. We got them fourth-and-10 at the end of the game. The game's over if we stop them there with the first down, last series, game's over.

On the recalled interception return...
I'm not sure what happened. I didn't see it because I was looking at the return. I got an explanation on it but I couldn't see it on the video so I really can't comment on it. There were two flags thrown on it. I will say this, it's just a bad penalty to have any way you cut it. There were too many unforced penalties on our end that hurt us in the game I felt. You can't have those, they're going to come back and get you. We've got them fourth-and-10 at the end of the game. We've got to face the quarterback up because he can run it. We've got to cover the seams. We've got to make the play on it; that's fourth-and-10.

On any emotional downturn looking ahead...
All I can tell you is that you've got to keep pushing. You can't flinch. I see life everyday for people; life's tough for everyone. In the end, this hurts; this hurts a lot of people. You just have to be able to look things in the eye. I think you just have to be able to keep pushing, I don't know what else to say about it. Just keep working.

On the loss of Kurtis Drummond...
He had a shoulder going into it, I think it was a shoulder. I'm not sure, things were going very fast, and it hurt. At the end of the game, we max blitzed them a couple of times in a row, and it's my call in the last play. I made the call. I felt like with 11 seconds to go, if we sack and the game's over, they won't get their people out there. We needed to defend the three-step. Martinez played very well; you have to credit him. His ability to run, take off for the ball, he's extremely quick, fast, and I thought he played an outstanding football game. They didn't go away but we got a chance to go up 31-14 in the fourth quarter, that's a tough one and then at the end of the game obviously. Other than that, it was back and forth.

On the performance of the defense...
I don't know if we held them to negative yards in the third quarter, we were just playing the game as it goes. They faked the toss...the quarterback takes off with it, we're collapsing, we've got nobody there, the safety missed the tackle, we had a couple people miss the tackle, and he makes the play. He made three of them like that. He made three long runs and he threw the ball pretty effectively as well. I credit him, credit Nebraska and what they were able to do but I think we had every opportunity to win that football game, as we did so in the other games this year. We're playing good people, we're playing good opponents, and we're playing well-coached football teams so it is tough. As I said at the beginning, this one hurts.

On the discussion in the locker room...
Give it strength. You can't leave plays out on the field, you can't have unforced penalties, and I feel awful for everybody. That's including the coaches, we could have made better calls out there, I could have went for it on fourth-and-2, which I thought about doing at the end of the game. I just felt with no timeouts, we'd punt it down there, a minute and 20 on the clock; you've got to play it on the odds. But the ball is right back up to the 40 right after we did that with one pass play. "Victory is fleeting," I guess you'd say. We've got a chance to scoop it up a fumble; we don't get it. They've got a chance to scoop it up; they don't get it. They fall on it, we fall on it, and they get a 15-yard gain; that's the way the game sort of went.

I guess sometimes you come up here regardless of what position you have, you don't really have an answer sometimes until you watch film, and even then, the emotion is taken out of it. When you're watching a film, the emotion is taken out of a game. You are seeing it for what it is. When things are coming very fast at you at a very fast pace, there's no way to slow it down, one way or the other, either us to them or them to us. Things are happening very fast out there, very quickly and you have to deal with it and react, be instinctive. We had opportunities to win the football game, there's no question. I guess they had opportunities to win too, they took advantage of their opportunities, and we needed to make our plays.

On the upcoming bye week...
Yeah this is a good time. We're going to take a deep breath, then we're going to exhale, and we're going to get back to work. We're going to take a deep breath. We would if we would have won; we set our schedule either way. We're going to make sure that our players get a chance to get away from football for a couple days. We'll practice a little bit too.

On the unforced penalties...
I think people right now, they're erring on protecting the player. They had a couple on the sidelines; we had a couple on the sidelines. There's no risk of anybody getting hurt. People are running the football and the flags are coming out quick. That's the way the game is being played everywhere in the country right now and we need to be smarter in terms of how we approach that. Other than that, I'm not sure. I think the majority of them were probably in that area. The interference call, you guys make the call. Everybody will make the call on that one.

On the high hit personal foul...
I've said this in there before, everybody's trying to do the best in there. I don't think anybody's out for Michigan State; I don't think anybody's out for Nebraska. It's an instinctive game and it's instinctive for our officials too. All I can tell you is the guy running up there to make the hit should've been in coverage. He should have been back 15 yards by then, so then he had no business being up there on a quarterback sack. So, unforced error on our part.

On the progression of the running game...
I thought we played pretty well offensively. There are things we're going to look at and say we wish we put up. I thought we made some plays. They knocked the ball off us a couple times, we had a chance for a couple great catches, and they knocked the ball off of us. This is football, they've got good players too, there's no question. Nebraska has good football players. You better come ready to play every single play and every single game. I think we did do that but we just came up short. It's extremely disappointing and it's frustrating. At the same time, if you're going to be on top, we're going to stand up here and talk about how we won the game. We'll handle it, we'll be fine, we'll live on, we'll push on, and we'll be ready to go.

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini

Opening statement before taking questions...
Happy to win the football game; proud of our team. We didn't play our best football out there today in a lot of respects, but it's a tough place to come in and play. I have a lot of respect for the football team we just beat, and we hung in there and I think our team showed a lot of character. We made a lot of mistakes out there, but we hung in there until the end and made enough plays to win the game. Give Michigan State a lot of credit. It was a fairly sloppy game at times, but at the end of the day, we made enough plays to win the football game and we hung in there, and it's time to get back to work to keep getting better.

On quarterback Taylor Martinez leading Nebraska on the final game-winning drive...
I can't say enough about Taylor [Martinez] and how he played and how he finished that football game. He made some mistakes - but you know, everybody does. But he put the team on his back at the end of that football game and made some plays. He did it with his arm today, with his legs...it shows character like everybody else. One thing about throwing a pick...you know everybody's going to throw interceptions every now and then, but it's how you come back from those situations. I think it's an example of not only Taylor, but the rest of this football team.

On his team overcoming turnovers and referee decisions during the game...
There were some tough calls both ways probably in the football game, and some penalties hurt us at times - obviously a couple turnovers hurt us - but we were able to overcome all that. I wish we could make it easier on us. I'm aging quick. I'm 44 [years old] but I don't know how old I am now after the last couple weeks. On overcoming mistakes like not capitalizing on drives in the red zone... I just felt like a couple times during the game we were getting ready to take over the game. It was like we were getting right to the hump, and we couldn't get over the hump. And it took us until 6 seconds left to get over the hump. I was just worried we were going to run out of time. We wasted some opportunities; we had a number of wasted opportunities really on both, and you can't live like that all the time.

On being aggressive offensively on the final game-winning drive...
We knew exactly how we wanted to handle that situation. Obviously I trust Taylor [Martinez] a lot to be able to manage that situation. He understands. We've been through that in practice. We've been there, done that. Talked about it, was able to communicate with him.

(Offensive coordinator) Tim Beck asked me, he said `What do you want to do? Do you want to play it safe?' I said, `Let's go win the football game.'

On facing Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell...
He's a big load now. I think he's a heck of a back. He really is a good football player and I have a lot of respect for him.

On his team converting a fourth down on the game-winning drive...
Yeah, it was a big play. My heart was in my...[he laughs]. I just wanted to see us get the first down, and once again, I kind of put the read out there and Taylor [Martinez] made a good throw and catch, and it kind of kept us going.

On the meaning of this victory to him and his team...
It's right up there. It felt good. Honestly, I'm ecstatic for our kids...the kids on our football team. I've been saying all along: this is a special group; great leadership and tremendous character. These kids want it bad. Like I said, we don't always play as smart as we need to play, but one thing you can't question about the guys in that locker room behind me is their heart. Those kids play with heart. It really means a lot to them; it means something and I think it shows with how they play. It's a cohesive group.

I have a lot of respect for Michigan State, but from my standpoint, we have to be stop being our own worst enemy. We've got to just keep talking about it, working on it, and striving to get better in some of those areas that I think are holding us back from playing with the type of potential I think we're capable of.

Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi

On the pass interference call...
There are a lot of calls I would like to take a look at. I got a look at it up there; didn't look that good from up there, but who am I to judge? It didn't look good.

On Darqueze Dennard's interception return...
Talk about taking it out of the kid's hands and putting it into someone else's. It was a heck of a return by Darqueze. We said we were going to score today and we thought we did. We got late flags 25 yards from the ball. We will see it. I don't know what the problem was, but I guess you are not allowed to block on defense. You can only block on offense. Players play. Coaches coach. Officials try to officiate the best they can. I guess they saw it that way, from the booth I didn't see it that way.

On the hard losses...
Our kids fight their tails off. I feel bad for the kids more than anybody because it hurts. They play their tails off and we just keep coming up short. Again, we will learn from it and become stronger as a football team.

Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Dan Roushar

On the loss from the offensive side...
It is disappointing for our football team and those kids in that locker room. They have prepared very well. I thought they had an outstanding week of practice. I think I am right in saying this, for the first time in seven weeks, we had all five offensive linemen practice together and function together for three days - Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. I thought they played well. So I am disappointed for our kids. We will just have to come back and get better.

On trying to burn Nebraska's timeouts...
We were obviously trying to get them out of timeouts. We had the ball down in there, had a 3rd-and-5 and thought if we run the football and it's not incomplete they are out of timeouts and we would have a situation where we could punt them down in there and make them go the length of the field. In hindsight, we don't get the first down and we don't get the stops. We would like to go back and maybe give us something a little better there.

On what the offense can build on...
Yes, we will build on it. Certainly, like last week there are positives. I think the fact that there was continuity inside for the first time, it gave those guys an opportunity to work together. You saw a production in their run game and that was certainly a real positive. We had opportunities in the red zone and we got a couple, but we needed more. We had a situation coming out where we don't get anything and give them a short field. In the last drive, we had an opportunity to keep the football and we really wanted to do that. There are things we will address with the guys when we meet with them. We will highlight the positives and we will look to improve on the things we are not doing well enough.

Michigan State Junior Quarterback Andrew Maxwell

On if there was a chance to pick up a first down in the fourth quarter...
They were playing man coverage, so there wasn't anything glaring that would have been an easy pitch and catch. We would have had to work off man coverage and there are certainly never any guarantees in the pass game. So to keep it on the ground with Le'Veon Bell with how physical he's been running, especially in the fourth quarter, and makes them burn one more timeout. You can't fault Coach Roushar with that decision.

On the final punt...
I felt confident, with how the defense played all year and how they played today. The defense is physical and relentless. I felt comfortable that they were going to be able to get the job done.

On how he played today...
I thought in the passing game we had a good rhythm. But like I said they had a lot of man coverage and it was maybe more aggressive man coverage then we have seen all year. I'll give them credit; they gave us a little bit of trouble.

On the running game...
Especially against a team like Nebraska that prides themselves on being physical and being tough, this may have been one of our hardest hitting games all year. To go into an environment like that and be able to pound it and have Le'Veon Bell get the yards he did was a credit to the whole offense.

On the touchdown to Tony Lippett...
We've been trying for the last couple weeks to try and take it off the top and hit a big one. To finally have Tony Lippett make a great catch in the middle of a couple defenders and score a touchdown was a big play for us.

On the handling the close losses...
You have to move forward. I feel like I say that after all our close losses that come down to the end. As painful as it is, and how heartbreaking it is, it doesn't end the season. This is not the last game; we still have two to play. We have a week off coming up, so it will be a good chance for us to be healthy and to come back and start the last two games. We can be fresh and productive and hopefully finish strong.

On the tough losses...
It's execution, it's finishing, that's the way the game goes. It's details and the inches. That just shows how important the whole game is and every single play is. We can't point fingers, it stops right here.

On losing a close game...
Going into the fourth quarter, up 10 points. Having the opportunity at the end to finish it off with the offense at the field trying to run the clock off. I felt like we had it right there and in our grasp, but it slipped away from us.

It's heartbreaking. The thing about it is that I feel like we are getting better each and every week...I feel like the week of practice we just had was the best one yet. I feel like we are making strides, unfortunately a lot of the close ones aren't going our way. I think if we look at the positives and the fact that we are getting better and making improvements. We just now have to finish and get the job done.

On the bye week...
When you go into a bye week, you want to go in on a high to get momentum going. To have that sour taste isn't what we were looking for. But that's the way it is. We have to get healthy.

On the morale of the team...
We have to stay together as a family and have the same magnitude we had after coming off a close loss to Michigan and going up to Wisconsin. We need to focus on the family and each other. We must support each other, can't start pointing the fingers or playing the blame game. We can't start looking elsewhere to feel good about ourselves, it has to come from inside.

On the impact of Coach Dantonio stressing accountability...
He is absolutely right. It starts with everyone on the team looking at their individual performance and looking at plays that they could have been a little more attentive to their assignment or disciplined in their execution. Football is a game of accountability and you can't start looking elsewhere or blaming elsewhere for your problems. Everyone has a job, everyone has an assignment, and it's each ones personal responsibility to do that.

Michigan State Senior Offensive Lineman Chris McDonald

On the physicality of Nebraska...
It was very physical, Nebraska is a very physical team. We came into this game thinking that the tougher team was going to win the game. I personally think we were better than them but we just beat ourselves. There were too many penalties on our side and we just need to get rid of them.

Thoughts on the final Cornhusker drive...
The offense, we had a couple of opportunities to take it down there and end the game and we couldn't do that. I put that on our shoulders, it's our fault. We need to be backing up the defense. They have always been helping us in games and this game I thought the offense was stepping up. We just need to finish strong.

On offensive line being able to finally practice together...
Coming off of the win at Wisconsin I thought we made a statement there. It was on us this week. Our coaches were telling us that it was on the O-line and that we needed to run the ball. I thought we had a great week of practice. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday - they were great practices. We felt good coming in here, we just can't beat ourselves.

Michigan State Junior Running Back Le'Veon Bell

On what was going on in his head at the end of the game...
I just couldn't believe some of the things that happened. There was nothing I could do.

On the pain of the tough losses this season...
I mean they all hurt...I felt like our defense did a great job. They did the best they could but they just came up short. Tough, tough losses, sometimes it is what it is. We came up short, it is what it is.

Thoughts on the quality play of the offense today...br> The offense, I knew that we were due to get it clicking. We were clicking last week in the fourth quarter and in overtime. We were moving the ball the way we were supposed to the whole season. These guys got their feet wet. They are more comfortable, (Andrew) Maxwell is more comfortable with the offensive line. They did a great job opening up holes. We did a great job offensively. There are still some things we have to work on but we are going to get better. There is a lot of improvement needed still. We are going to take this bye week and get our bodies rested and get fresh, watch and see what happens, and get ready for Northwestern.

On the change of emotions at the end of the game...
It is crazy, I was definitely ready to run on the field when they got the stop. (Taylor) Martinez made a great play rolling out, makes the throw down the middle of the field, great play, you can never count him out. They made a great play. You have to credit them for that. They made great plays.

On getting ready for the bye week...
You always want to go out and regain yourself. But this bye week will be good for a lot of guys getting healthy and getting fresh.

Michigan State Junior Wide Receiver Bennie Fowler

On comfort level and confidence...
These last couple games I've been pretty much comfortable, but Coach Roushar has some plays tagged for me so I'm feeling really comfortable out there.

On getting to the point of being comfortable...
I was looking for it more in the Notre Dame game. I got comfortable in the Central (Michigan) and the Boise (State) game a little, but I was looking to carry it on in the Notre Dame game, but I tailed off a little bit, but I've gotten back to who I am.

On how tough the loss was as an offense...
We felt good about some of the things we did, but we didn't finish the game. We had opportunity to run the clock out and they stopped us. We had to punt the ball so we finished about 95-percent of the game. We still had opportunities where we should have finished more.

On being sick of watching replays of losses... Of course, no doubt about it, but it had nothing to do with the defense. Offense we had a chance to finish the game, but we didn't.

Michigan State Sophomore Wide Receiver Tony Lippett

On the last pass to him that was incomplete...
I had it, I had it and I hit the ground and it bounced off. I thought it was a catch and then they said it wasn't. I just have to do my best to hold on to it throughout the whole catch, hitting the ground and everything.

On playing better lately...
I've just been trying to prepare every day and every week, read my opponents, study my opponents, and just go out there and give it all I've got.

On running out the clock vs. making a throw on the last possession...
I want to take the shot. We have play makers, we can make the play. I'm not the coach or anything, but I'd like to run the clock out too. Things happen, you just have to deal with them and just learn from it.

On describing the season...
It's been a crazy ride. With the losses we've had and real close games, just coming down to the wire we've just got to make that one play and execute to finish the game and we came up short a few games. This is just a stepping stool, it's always good in some of the things we do, but it's just a stepping stool. We're all going to get better, we're going to watch the film and we're all going to have to improve no matter who we play.

On seeing this `movie' before...
Well I've seen it, but I didn't expect for it to be us. We're going to learn from it. We're going to bounce back. We're not going to hang our heads.

On having a good day offensively as a team...
We felt like we were doing just enough to get there. We knew we had a stout defense. We knew Taylor Martinez would be a problem, but they have a good defensive. Things didn't swing our way, but like I said we're going to bounce back from it.

On the touchdown catch...
I was just running around, I was running up the corner and he was just sitting there waiting so I just tried to get around him and keep vertical. I just turned my head and the ball was in the air. I was just paying attention to the ball, I was just trying to focus on the ball. People were just checking around me and at the last minute somebody did slash my face, but I just focused on the ball and made a good catch.

Nebraska Junior Quarterback Taylor Martinez

On the last drive of the game...
We've been in that situation before a couple of times and we know that we can't be stopped. Coach Pelini called a great series of plays on that last drive and our receivers were able to make some big plays, especially [Sophomore Wide Receiver] Jamal [Turner] on that last play. It's great that he was finally able to get that first career touchdown.

On third pick and dealing with the turnovers...
They called a zero blitz and rushed a lot of guys off the end, and the corner came off and covered [Senior Tight End] Ben [Cotton]. He came off, I looked him away, he came back, and he made that play. I think that penalty flag after the play really turned the game around for us.

On setting the Nebraska career record for total yards...
I think we have a great team and coaching staff who keep fighting. I think it's awesome because so many great people came through Nebraska and it's an honor to be able to pass them up. I couldn't have done it without my teammates and coaches. I'm honored.

Nebraska Senior Safety P.J. Smith

On coming back at the end of the game...
I told the defensive guys that we have to stay the course, figure out a way to get a stop and get the offense the ball. We never doubted that we could be stopped and we never doubted that we would win this game. It was a heck of a win; we had to have it and we did.

On issues with the MSU's running game...
Somebody wouldn't fill a gap here and there; there was miscommunication here and there on the back end. We killed ourselves on the defensive side of the ball so we are going to get that fixed next week in practice. You've got to tip your hats to them; they took advantage of some stuff and we aren't happy with our performance.

On the getting the offense the ball and stopping MSU toward the end of the game...
We knew that that the offense was going to score and that the game was going to come down to us and our play. Everybody stepped up to the challenge. We stopped them two or three times but we're supposed to do that. For the first two quarters we killed ourselves with miscommunication and a missed signal here and there.

On the leadership and character of this year's team...
Leadership is all over. The younger guys, the older guys, it doesn't matter. Everybody here leads in a different type of way and the leadership and the character of this team goes far. We all have one goal and we won't stop until we reach that goal and that's the Big Ten Championship. Tonight we just kept fighting and never gave up and our coaching staff never gave up on us. We just kept telling each other to go out and make the plays and that's what we did. Hats off to the offense - they were struggling in the first half and they stepped up in a big way at the end. Taylor Martinez is unbelievable. He stepped up and did his thing and Jamal had a big catch. We stand behind them.

Nebraska Sophomore Wide Receiver Jamal Turner

On the last drive and the final play of the game...
It was a great call by Coach [Offensive Coordinator Tim] Beck. I can't believe that we won the game like that; I've been dreaming about this my whole life. I want to thank God for letting me go out and for putting me in this position, to glorify him. It was the same play we called last week and I lost the ball in the lights and missed the touchdown, but Beck came back and called it this week and I was able to score the winning touchdown.

On the last drive we were saying "We've got them beat; they're tired. Just like last year, we wore them down. Let's hit them in the mouth, let's end the game, and that's what we did.

On having Taylor Martinez in the huddle...
He's very vocal. We love Taylor; we stand behind him. There's a lot of character on this team; we always keep fighting and I want to give them credit for not giving up. The offensive line, the wide receivers - we kept at it and won the game.

On moving on after this win...
We think we're the best in the Big Ten; we're not going to be stopped. We're going to keep going until we accomplish what we want to accomplish, and that's the Big Ten Championship. It doesn't matter how much we're down by - 20, 30 points - we're going to keep fighting until we win the game.