Post-Game Quotes: Minnesota
 
 
 

 

 
 

Nov. 5, 2011

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Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio

Opening Statement...
It was a great football game, obviously. I thought Minnesota came to play. We talked about emotion all week long, that Minnesota would come with emotion. We were going to have to match that. That's exactly what they did. I thought they got off to a fast start, obviously. But we kept playing. Sometimes it's not pretty but we continued to play. I thought we played well in the third quarter, really after the touchdown in the third quarter, defensively. We just kept making plays. (Kirk) Cousins makes about 300 yards passing, two touchdowns. Le'Veon (Bell) has the big run for a (touchdown). I thought Mike Sadler did great things out there, punting the football and keeping them down there a bit. Ethan Ruhland fills in for Travis Jackson and plays pretty well in there. It's our third center we are playing with and that's sort of the hub of everything. We were able to work through that. I thought we ran the ball effectively, some good play calls by (Dan) Roushar. Hey, a win's a win. I knew we would have to play loose plays on the defensive side of the ball because MarQueis Gray is an outstanding quarterback - a run-pass threat. That's exactly what happened. We got him covered and he scrambles and moves around and throws the ball or when he runs with it. You have to contain that guy. We will have our hands full again next year. Credit Minnesota and what they are doing. I thought the two things they did very well were play with emotion and loose plays. We countered with great emotion in the second half. Win number seven. We go to Iowa next week. Any way you cut it, seven wins, 4-1 in the conference and we're right there. We survived one playoff win as far as I'm concerned. That's how we have to challenge ourselves and take this.

On how hard it is to get your team's emotion at the right spot...
I think emotionally, we come ready to play at the game. The thing that I keep talking about that is so difficult that as games wear on and the play develops, and players have things happen to them in the game, the most difficult thing is keeping that emotion or playing through those adverse situations. You have to rally to play and I think our guys did that. I thought our crowd support was great in the fourth quarter. It always is here. It's okay, I was frustrated a little bit too. I think our crowd plays into things. In the fourth quarter, I thought we were emotionally as good as we were the entire football game. If you wanted it at anytime, you would want it in the fourth quarter than in the first. Football is a game, there's no question, it's a game of emotion. It's a game of execution. There's so many different things that go on in a game. That's why I think it's so fascinating to so many different people. There are so many elements and so many different players playing and so many different side stories and those types of things. 7-2, we'll take it and move forward.

On what affected the team going into halftime...
I think going into half we were on an up because we had a 56 second drive for a touchdown. It was a great execution for our offense. Cousins was sharp. He had big plays in that series. It was a huge turn really in the game. And then to come back out in the third and then after that we had to sort of hang in there and stop them. I thought our punting game was very good. We kept getting the ball back around the 40 or 50 or whatever it is and pinning them down. I understand, that's a part of it. When you've been coaching awhile you are going to get that, regardless of where you are at.

On what he said to Kirk Cousins after he got the penalty and on Trenton Robinson's emotion...
Those conversations are personal is guess what I say and we'll leave it at that. Actually, I said `What you didn't like the play call?' and he said `No, I just got frustrated.' And I said `All right.' And that was about it. I don't like to see the penalties. You lose your composure at the quarterback position or at the head coach position. You want to try to keep your composure to the best of your abilities. There's a lot of human passions going on out there so it's frustrating. I think Trenton's an emotional guy, a passionate guy. He had a great interception when we pressured them. And coming back on that last play, it's never over. As we all know now. It's never over. I looked at what yard line that was on and I said `Hm. 42 huh?'Or whatever it was. You know what was going through my mind a little bit. We played the route well and we put a little pressure on it too so we got it up there.

On Cousins' overall play today...
I thought he made good decisions. You know, I'm not sure what he was. I think he completed 23 out of 34 for 296 yards and two touchdowns and zero interceptions. That's a tough position to play. You are going to get pressure, you have to make decisions with what to do with the ball on every single play. He's making decisions out there. I thought he played well again and was very productive...I thought we played well on the offensive side of the ball.

On Le'Veon Bell's performance over the past few weeks...
Le'Veon's playing well. He's had some big runs. We still have a two back offense. You know Baker's playing in there as well. We have to get the ball into those two guy's hands. They're special players and we have to feed them a little bit. Ninety-six yards and he has 15 carries and Edwin has eight. Both guys will continue to be the guys for us. We had a lot of guys out. We had Chris Norman out. Steve Gardiner went out for the game early. Darqueze Dennard didn't play so Tony Lippett plays the entire game and plays pretty well. Travis Jackson is out. Larry Caper is out. Those guys could have played but they were concussed. Not by me. They have concussions, but they were all cleared to play. We felt it would benefit them greatest if we didn't play them today and we gave them until Tuesday to practice.

On Edwin Baker's fumble...
I think it was a bad handoff. One way or another, I'm not sure but it wasn't clean. You are always looking for a reaction though so we have to react positively.

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi

Opening Statement...
Another crazy win. Really happy with the way the defense played in the fourth quarter. The first three quarters looked out of sync. The most average performance of the year. It's good, we've been very consistent for eight games coming in, we just didn't play very good today in the first three quarters. We've got some guys banged up and we'll have some guys back for next week...Trenton Robinson played a heck of a game with two huge picks, obviously the one at the end which is the game winner. We'll win in any way we can.

On the performance of Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Gray...
The guy has got the ability to make plays. He's a big guy and he's hard to get down and he made plays today. Give them credit, they beat Iowa a week ago. Coach Kill has got them playing hard, you see them play with a lot of emotion, kind of like that blue-collar type team like we are. They're going in the right direction, that's for sure, and MarQueis Gray is a great player. He's got a good arm and we knew that coming in. He made plays and sometimes we couldn't tackle or we were right there and he made plays. We'll look at the tape, but MarQueis Gray is a good football player and that's a good football team.

On Trenton Robinson's leadership on defense...
He's our captain on defense and great players make big plays in big moments. We needed someone to step up and that's what we talked about in the fourth quarter...Trenton's an emotional guy and he gets everybody going.

MSU Offensive Coordinator Dan Roushar

On not getting the ball past the first down marker on fourth-and-10...
On that particular route that we called we were expecting high safeties. They came inside of BJ [Cunningham] and Kirk [Cousins] came off his first read and went to his second guy and the ball came underneath...We've got to fix it and we've got to start throwing the ball down the field in that situation.

On Edwin Baker...
We'll go back and evaluate the film. He was obviously very frustrated with the turnover. LeVeon [Bell] was running the ball well at the time and so we went with him. We wanted to get Edwin back involved in the second half and we returned him to action. We thought at times there were some consistent run lanes, and at times it wasn't what we needed it to be. He's a competitor and we expect him to come back and respond this week.

On the injuries to the offense...
We started Ethan Ruhland at center today, Travis [Jackson] was out. That certainly was a concern going in. Dion Sims has got a wrist injury and we weren't able to use him. We've got some guys in and out but that's where we're at right now. It didn't really affect what we were thinking. We tried to do some things maybe a little bit different in protection. Tried to think maybe a little bit more three step early and keep Ethan in check. I thought he did a pretty good job as you look at the whole day. A couple of high gun snaps. The tempo to the line of scrimmage was a little bit different, we got a little bit late in the clock a couple of times but I think we can fix that.

Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill

Opening Statement...
I would like to congratulate Michigan State and their coach and their football team. They are a very physical hard-nosed bunch and it's very easy to see why they've won a lot of games here. We are working to improve our program and move it forward and I think we're doing some of that. I think we played hard today and gave everything we had; they just made eight or nine plays that we didn't and that was the difference. I'm proud of our kids and we just have to keep getting better and move forward.

On getting his players motivated...
I don't think a pep talk before a game is going to make the difference once the ball is kicked, but we went over everything in our game plan and talked about the importance of the game and our seniors. I think our kids are plenty motivated and play hard, they just made a few more plays that we did and beat us in the field position game. We were starting drives on the 10-yard line and they were starting on the 40, so it's hard to win games when it's that different.

On the play of MarQueis Gray...
He played awfully well. I think at the end of the game he was physically exhausted and gave everything he had but that's how you learn. There's a lot of pressure to play against that defense; he threw that one interception but he had an open guy and the defender made a great play on it. I thought he played very well and I'm pleased with his progress. The only thing I wish he did was give us two chances there at the end but it's a great learning experience and I'm very proud of the job he did for us today. We have played six different combinations on the offensive line and our receivers made some great catches, so I think he would give those guys credit as well.

On the performance of Da'Jon McKnight...
I think we executed very well and adjusted to their defensive changes. All of our coaches did an excellent job preparing for this defense. We didn't want to have negative yardage and make some quick throws, and I think game plan-wise we gave ourselves a good chance to win, and I think the biggest thing in the end was field position. It killed us. I think we are definitely getting better. We found a way to win last week; I just wish we would have done the same this week.

On Le'Veon Bell's game-tying run...
They ran a power play and he is a good back. We blitzed and our safety came up and he made him miss. That's part of this game; getting one-on-one situations with a good back and he made a better play than we did.

On his confidence going into the last drive...
I was very confident. I thought we were going to get it to overtime; I was confident until the last play. With 15 seconds on the clock I thought we had two shots. I thought we did the right thing calling the timeout early to save time, I just wish we could have gotten a shot to the end zone.

Michigan State senior quarterback Kirk Cousins

Opening Statement...
I want to credit Minnesota, I thought they played a great game. They fought all game and they have a lot of talented players. I thought we as a team played very well. We responded to adversity. Keith Nichol played phenomenally. Mike Sadler's punting was tremendous, Dan Conroy's field goal helped us and gave us a chance. There was a whole host of people contributing, and that's what it's going to take to do something special this year: a team effort.

On the personal foul called on him in the first half...
I was just playing with emotion and just got frustrated. I put the ball in the ground. I went to the ref afterwards and I said, "Was it just too much emotion?" And he said "Yeah just a little too much."...There's a lot on the line. I'm a senior, I want to go out the right way after this season and I want to have a special season. I'm just trying to do all I can to make sure that happens.

On going back to Iowa for next week's game...
Certainly it's exciting to go back there and get a chance to play much better than last year. At the same time, we try to take each game individually and just go there and play. It's a new team this year on both sides of the ball. Obviously we want to make it personal each and every week to find as much motivation as possible, and with last year's result we can find a way to make it personal.

Michigan State senior safety Trenton Robinson

Opening statement...
Our kickers did a great job today. I feel like our offense did pretty well, they came out and ran the ball and responded when we were a little down on defense. Every opportunity that they got they responded. Minnesota came out like we thought they would. They were very enthusiastic. It's college football so any team that can push through and keep pushing usually will win the game.

On whether or not Minnesota's offense had them on their heels...
They didn't do anything different than what we saw on film. They came out and they executed. The first touchdown was just awful on our defense. We missed about four tackles. Four guys missed one player. When you miss tackles, that's what happens, big plays and touchdowns. On the other one we had some critical errors and they capitalized on them. This is Big Ten football so you should expect that from a Big Ten team.

On what the team can learn from this win...
It's football and there's going to be adversity. We've just got to continue to push and get better from those mistakes...Our whole team, we believe. We believe in each other and we believe that even if something does happen we can push forward. If we're down by 25 going into the fourth quarter, we believe in each other and we believe we can get it done. You won't see any sad faces on the sideline, we're going to continue to push forward and get better from this game. It wasn't a complete game, but we won.

Michigan State senior offensive lineman Joel Foreman

Opening statement...
I think this was a classic Big Ten game. In any Big Ten game in this league you are going to face adversity and I think we did a good job of playing through that. I think Minnesota did a great job coming in here on the road and playing their tails off. They came out here with emotion and I think we were able to match them and keep on fighting through.

On his injury...
I'm feeling good. It's football, so you're always going to get some bumps and bruises. It's a physical game, it's a man's game. You've just got to keep on playing through that, but I'm doing good.

Michigan State junior defensive tackle Jerel Worthy

On the game overall...
Minnesota just gave us their best shot. You can't take away from their effort; they were playing inspired coming off the Iowa win. We just had to get it cleaned up. We had some big plays in the first half, especially the first touchdown.

On the play of Trenton Robinson...
He's a man that's always focused. He's always ready to give one hundred and ten percent. He brings a lot of intensity to the secondary; and he brings a lot of intensity to the team, we kind of feed off of him. (His first interception) was very important; we were able to get momentum from that.

On Michigan State's start to the game...
We just had to go out there and play our football. We let them get away with some stuff (in the first half), but at the same time we were able to get it done.

Michigan State senior wide receiver B.J. Cunningham

On the offense's performance...
We followed our game plan, and we executed. Our coaches put us in a position to make plays, and we executed. Kirk was throwing the ball on the money, no turnovers.

On the play of Keith Nichol...
Keith is an athlete, a great player. He has great athletic ability when he has the ball. All four of us, Keshawn (Martin), Keith, Bennie (Fowler), I feel like we can all do it.

On Le'Veon Bell's game...
Le'Veon played a great game today. He was running hard, had some long runs. He definitely had a great game for us.

On the offense being able to pick up the defense...
They've (the defense) been picking us up all season. I've been trying to emphasize that we need to pick them up, get to them early. And I feel like that's when we did. I think if we can do that, we're usually successful.

Sophomore linebacker Max Bullough

On having a sense of urgency on defense...
It was time to step up. I think guys had had enough (by the end of the game). It was time to step up and make some plays, we needed a couple plays to get us rolling but eventually we were back on all cylinders.

On going back to Iowa next week...
"We're excited for it. To be able to go back (to Iowa), it's going to be a huge game for us, huge environment. We're going to be ready to play next week."

Minnesota junior quarterback MarQueis Gray

On building off this game...
We had good rhythm and that first-drive touchdown was huge. We just have to try and build off that and stay on the same page. We still have to get better but we played a good game.

On the performance of Da'Jon McKnight...
He's a play maker, and we have to put the ball in playmakers hands. He did a great job for us today and hopefully continues that for the rest of the season.

On the approach of the offense coming into the game...
They have a great defense. They did a great job and are hyped up. On offense we just tried to focus on one play at a time and I think we did that; we just didn't make enough plays to win the game.

On the difference between last year's contest and this year...
I think a lot of it is just having confidence after last week's game. Everybody is just doing their job and making plays to help this team win.

On the Iowa game...
It gave myself and my team a lot of confidence and we know that we can play with anybody if we play for four quarters and do what we are supposed to do.

On the first interception...
It was a miscommunication between me and the receiver. I thought the safety was going to sprint out and the receiver would sit but he just kept going. We just need to work on that in practice and make sure it doesn't happen again.

On the Michigan State defense...
They had some really big guys up front, but our offensive line did a great job of containing them. Isaiah Lewis and I have played together since junior high and to see him coming along so well at the safety position is good to see.