MSU Spartans
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Minnesota 31, Michigan State 18
 
 
 

 

 
 

Nov. 11, 2006

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes

MSU Head Coach John L. Smith
Opening Statement...
First of all I just want to say that I feel bad for our seniors. I went around and hugged every one of them. We are going to finish this thing up with class, we are going to do the right things, we are going to respect our teammates, and we are going to continue to play because we have one week to go. Most of all, I feel bad that the seniors weren't able to get out of here with a win in their last game.

I would like to thank a couple of groups. One is John Madden and the MSU Marching Band. They are just so supportive and such a great group of kids. They are special kids that stay out there and continue to play the entire time. Every morning and every evening when we are practicing, they are out there playing. I would also like to thank the Downtown Coaches' Club because they are so supportive of this program and these kids. The things they do - like donating money - for these kids and the program is very special.

I am not going to talk much about the game, except that we had plenty of chances and we couldn't convert. That has really been the story of our season.

On Drew Stanton and his injury...
Drew is one of our seniors and you wish that (the hit) wouldn't have happened, but thank God he was ok and was only dinged. The entire helmet was crushed, and the official came over and said he didn't even know what had happened. But, Drew is a special young man as all of you know, and he is going to have a bright future. He is in graduate school and has already graduated, and he is going to have a chance to play on Sundays. I am just going to give him a kiss and a hug, and send him on his way. He is going to be just fine.

I have only seen that happen to a helmet one other time, and it was to the front of the helmet, not the entire side like his was. It almost looked like a piece of plastic the way the helmet was pushed in.

 

 

I am hoping, and keeping my fingers crossed, that Drew can play next week. Normally there are a few tests they can give him early in the week to rule him ok to play. He is doing fine now, he is coherent, and knows who everyone is and where he is, so he is doing fine.

On Brian Hoyer's play...
Hoyer came in and battled his tail off. He can throw the ball well enough that the future here is going to be ok.

Minnesota Head Coach Glen Mason
Opening Statement ...
First of all, I'm very pleased that we're going to go home victorious from here, and what I think makes that a lot more rewarding, is how we started that game--self destructive. I don't mean to take anything away from Michigan State because they made some plays there, to have a punt block, which is atypical of us, and then go for a fake punt, which is not atypical of me. But that's what happens when you gamble, its not always going to work out.

Then our defense stopped them on a fourth down on the goal line, and then we turned around and had a safety, and it was the start of one of those things. Obviously, Michigan State had the momentum going their way, and when someone else has the momentum they aren't going to give it to you, you've got to get it back and you've got to do something special. A couple of turnovers forced by our defense, and Michigan State enabled us to get it back, and once we got rolling we pretty much had control of the game.

I'm really proud of our players, they hung in there; we're a young lot and we're a little banged up, bruised up but they've had a tremendous attitude the entire season; they've not always played well, but they've had a great attitude. I thought Bryan Cupito, by his own admission, got off to a `shady start,' but he hung in there. It was some tough sledding there running the football, but I thought everybody played well. Overall I though our defense played exceptionally well.

On the momentum change from Barber's interception in the end zone...
(The momentum changed) a tremendous amount, you're looking to score at least a field goal probably, when your really hanging on for life, and you need something to turn the momentum. Not only did he make the interception, he started to run and did exactly the right thing, when he took the knee, to give poor field position once again. I think Mario Reese is the one who hit the quarterback, and Steve Davis I know picked it up and returned for a touchdown - and that seemed to ignite us.

On holding Michigan State to three yards rushing...
I thought it was a tremendous effort by our defense, we're a young lot, we probably had one senior play on defense today. Then we're jumping some guys in there because we're short on linebackers. We don't have many pieces to the puzzle there, and I think that's one of the things that has hurt us. Due to injury, we have linebackers playing all three positions there. In some sense, we even have a defensive safety playing a linebacker position and we've moved a defensive back to a linebacker, and two offensive guards to defensive tackle. So I think that was a key, being able to shut off their run.

MSU Senior Quarterback Drew Stanton
On not being able to play ...
Obviously it's really hard to have my last game in Spartan Stadium go this way and end my career this way. This is not the way I wanted to do it. It's one of those things and I just thought that I would be hurting my team more than helping them if I was out there. I think Hoyer came in and did a great job.

On the seniors...
Nobody really said anything in particular. I don't think it has really sunk in for me right now. This is just a struggle for all of us because this is not what we had envisioned at the beginning of the season.

MSU Junior Linebacker Kaleb Thornhill
On the game ...
We were all playing for the seniors. They gave so much to this program and I felt like it was an honor to go out there and play with them. We fought hard, the whole team. We struggled at times, but we showed a lot of heart out there today and I am proud of that. It's too bad that we didn't send these seniors out as winners.

On next week...
I think next week means a lot. At least it does to me and I hope it does to other guys as well. It's the seniors and coach Smith's last game and that is going to be a sad moment sitting in that locker room after the game. We still want to try and send them out on a good note. So we are going to have to go out there prepared and try to send them out winners.

MSU Junior Running Back Jehuu Caulcrick
On senior day...
It's too bad that we couldn't send the seniors out winners on their home field. But I feel like everyone came out today and played hard. Next year it will be my turn and hopefully it comes out differently.

On Penn State...
We have to prepare this week like we are and undefeated team, just like Coach Smith said. We aren't going to lay down for anybody and we aren't going to quit. We are just going to go out there and play like we know how, and go into it knowing we have a chance to win.

On his performance...
I felt comfortable out there today, but it doesn't matter. I don't really care how I did, they won the game and I'm not going to stand here and say I had a great performance. I can tell you that when I was out there I fought my hardest and that is all that I can do.

MSU Senior Wide Receiver Kerry Reed
On playing well in his last game at Spartan Stadium ...
It feels good, I just try to go out there and help my team win and be productive.

On becoming one of MSU's top receivers ...
I came in, just worked hard and tried to progress. I tried to do all the little things I could to get better.

On the difference between Brian Hoyer and Drew Stanton ...
They are two different kind of quarterbacks. I wish Drew could have stayed in and went out with a bang his last game in Spartan Stadium. Unfortunately [for Stanton], Brian Hoyer had to come in and finish the game out for us, but I think he did a pretty good job.

MSU Senior Linebacker David Herron Jr.
What he was thinking about as he finished his final game at Spartan Stadium ...
I was thinking about the things I've gone through here, the good times and the bad times. I was reminiscing, it kind of hit me at the end of the game.

On the changes he has gone through ...
All the guys in my class went through the most because we've had to go through a lot of changes. Like Drew, he had to switch to a totally different offense. I had to switch positions, Cliff had to switch positions too. That just shows the dedication that those guys have, that we have towards our team.

On his play today...
I played pretty hard today, things like this happen so you try not to dwell on it and move on.

MSU Senior Wide Receiver Matt Trannon
On Drew Stanton not being able to finish the game ...
Nobody wants to get knocked out on their senior day at home, but he was with us on the sidelines.

On moving up on the all time receptions list...
It doesn't mean anything. I'm not trying to get a record or anything. I am just trying to get wins.

On his play...
I was disappointed. I felt that I could have done more for my team. Things happen, but I know I gave my best effort. It did feel good to get a touchdown in my last game at Spartan Stadium.

MSU Sophomore Quarterback Brian Hoyer
On his performance...
I started off a little shaky and caused some turnovers, but coach always tells us we have to bounce back. Everyone got behind me and I was able to come back and finish the rest of the game without mistakes.

On the senior class...
All those seniors are great guys and don't deserve all the stuff they've been going through. You feel for them, you feel real terrible. And with Drew, I've never met anyone who loved the program so much - he would do anything he could.

On senior quarterback Drew Stanton...
I told him before the game "go out and play like you can" because playing behind him and playing with him I've learned so much and he's made me a better player. He goes and there and competes 120 percent every time and he cares for every player on this team and this university. He's really taught me a lot through his character and I think I've learned the most from him from that. It's not so much the football part, he's always there to help me with that too, but I think I've learned how to be a better leader following Drew Stanton.

MSU Junior Linebacker Kaleb Thornhill
On Senior Day...
It's tough for all of us because we wanted to send these guys out winners and it was a tough game. I felt like everybody tried to lay it on the line and we had guys playing with a lot of heart out there today, and it was too bad that we couldn't send those guys out as winners at home. We have next week to try to send them out as winners and hopefully we can do that.

On this season...
It's been some tough, adverse times, but we have to fight through those. We got off to a good start today, we just couldn't punch it in obviously. It's been tough but we've been fighting through it and putting our arms around the shoulders of our seniors. We just have to keep fighting and send the seniors out winners in their last game.

On the loss...
It hurt me on the sideline seeing it slip away. I thought right from the get-go that we were going to put it to those guys. I thought we were playing pretty well, but obviously towards the end it starts to sink in that it's not going to happen. It's just frustrating for me because these seniors are so close to me and having them go out like this is not a good feeling.

MSU Freshman Running Back Brandon Denson
On his blocked punt in the first quarter...
We worked on it all week and I just went out and did my job. Someone tried to grab me, but I jumped the ball and got to the punter. I was trying to help my team out any way I could, but unfortunately we couldn't come out with the win.

On getting off to a strong start...
We did gain momentum from (the blocked punt), but we made some mistakes. We got it down to the 1-yard line and didn't get a touchdown, and that hurt us. That impacted us and kind of switched the momentum.

Minnesota Senior Quarterback Bryan Cupito
On the importance of the interception in the endzone in the first quarter and their defense ...
It was huge because they got no points out of that drive. That was a big momentum change. The defense didn't let their offense get points when they were in the redzone. They really played well and got us the win.

On becoming Minnesota's all-time leading passer and what's coming up for Minnesota...
It's a good accomplishment but I'm happy we won. I'll take next week too, if we win next week that's all that matters.

On Ernie Wheelwright's touchdown...
That was a great play by him, probably the best play he's made all year. He can do that more he just has to focus on what he does.

Minnesota Junior Wide Receiver Ernie Wheelwright
On Bryan Cupito and Matt Spaeth...
Bryan is just a great pocket quarterback. He just sits back in the pocket; that's why he's breaking records. He's got great vision, he makes great calls; that's why he's such a great quarterback. Same thing with Matt, he's a great tight end that really does his thing there. I think he's one of the best tight ends in the country. Both of them are great teammates and some of the best players I've ever played with.

On his touchdown...
We had to make a play. The defense was playing well and we just needed a spark. That just happened to be the play that gave us the spark. It was just making a play to get us into the endzone.

Minnesota Junior Free Safety Dominique Barber
On his two interceptions...
The quarterback put the ball in the air, and I just went up and got them.

On the play of the defense...
Yeah, the defense played phenomenal today. They stopped the run, and rumor has it that we stopped them for 3 yards, but we have a big week ahead of us next week, so it was a great win but we need to put this behind us.

On possibly going to a bowl game...
One game, it's a one game season, like Coach Mason always says. For next week, we need to get something started tomorrow. We have to get in and watch this film and like I said before, put this behind us, and we have to get ready for Iowa.

Minnesota Sophomore Defensive End Willie VanDeSteeg
On his four sacks ...
It feels good to finally get it clicking, and I pretty much have to give all the credit to the safeties and linebackers in the back for getting great coverage and pretty much just doing what we have to do, and they played well.

On the goal line stand by the defense early in the game...
That was a big momentum killer for them, I think. This felt good, right when they blocked that punt they kind of took a little bit out of us, but the defense came back and held them to a good stop there. I mean, yeah, they got a safety, but two is better than seven, so that helped us out a lot there.

On facing Iowa next week...
It's going to be huge, I mean it's an opportunity for us to play big, and we have to show to everybody that we are a good team, and that we are coming through in November. That's when good teams come through.

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