MSU Spartans
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Nov. 17, 2007

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MSU Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening Statement...
Our players kept playing throughout the entire game. I'm looking at the stats here, and coming into the game, if we could run it for 100 yards, I thought that was going to be a big goal of ours. I thought that (Jehuu) Caulcrick - every time I looked into his eyes - I just saw a guy that was going to do whatever he had to do to win this football game. Up and down throughout the game, I thought our players showed great character and resilience on the field. We were down by 10 at the half, down by 17, fighting back into it, something else bad happens, and we keep coming back. Devin Thomas had some outstanding catches. He became the season reception leader in the history of Michigan State football today, and he did it in style. (Brian) Hoyer comes back after two interceptions in the first half and plays an outstanding second half. Our guys just kept playing - I can't say enough about them. I don't know if I've ever been in a game like this. Sometimes when you're in a close game, you come back, and you go back and forth, but to do what this football team has throughout the entire season - to play in every single game, and not to come away flat, having an opportunity to win in every single game. To win seven - and to get to a Bowl game - is going to be tremendous for our program.

On the progress his team has made...
Well we said early on in the year that we wanted to be a better football team at the end of the year than we were at the beginning. I think we are. The Big Ten is a tough conference, and playing a Penn State team that's 8-3, I think we're a better football team. Certainly at the beginning of September we started 4-0, in the middle of the season, we faced some tough situations where we lost some close games, and then we played in November. We went 2-1 in November. If you can be 2-1 in November, without question this football career for me at Michigan State is going to be very successful, because you'll play some tough games down the stretch. You're going to play games that matter, you're going to play games when things are on the line, and there's going to be pressure.

On being able to play well through the whole game...
You start to dispel some of the myths from some of the things from the past that we haven't finished. When you get to a point where your quarterback finishes, and he starts to develop confidence, he needs to be able to do that all the time. When they go all the way down the field, and you have to stop them on four straight downs, and somehow we did that. I thought Aaron Bates, the true freshman, delivering the punt with less than 20 seconds to go. I thought the fake punt - that was Jehuu [Caulcrick]. That was all Jehuu, and that just epitomizes what he's all about.

Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno

On whether anything changed defensively...
No, there was the tight end [Kellen Davis], and number 5 [Devin Thomas] that I told you all week are big time players. We just didn't do a good job with those guys and you have to give Michigan State credit.

On what happened on the fake punt...
They just bounced it out to the outside, I didn't see it. I think we had it where he was going to go, but the kid [Jehuu Caulcrick] just did a good job. I really didn't see it. But it was no surprise.

On the last time they were in a situation like this, up 17 points and not holding on...
I know it has happened but I can't remember when.

On if a loss like this is an indication that this program isn't where it once was...
No, that's ridiculous. I told you Michigan State was a good football team. Michigan State lost three tough games by a total of fourteen points. I said they had a lot of talent; they did a good job.

On the last play by Morelli...
There are fifteen plays in a game like that, that could make a difference. It was an up and down game, it was a good football game. They hung in there. We had the ball most of the time, we moved it pretty good. We missed a couple of shots - what are you going to do?

On if he felt they could really run against Michigan State's defense...
I can tell you I never felt we could do any one particular thing against them all day. Obviously, when we started to run the ball, they started to do more blitzing, which I am sure you guys observed. So they started blitzing the outside to take some of that stuff away and you got to throw the ball.

On the defense not getting a turnover...
Anytime someone scores over thirty points against you, you got to figure...
I thought overall the kids played hard, played well and I think you got to give Michigan State some credit. Doesn't always have to be somebody loses a game, sometimes what happens is the other guy does some things well and they win a game. And I thought Michigan State hung in there and when it looked like they could have folded they came right down the field and got the ball to the key guys and that's how it went.

Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell

Opening comments...
We're just so proud of our kids. Offensively, we've always challenged our kids to make plays and, obviously, no better time than crunch time. I certainly felt that, down the stretch. We came back out in the second half and you could just see it in our kids' eyes. They willed themselves to find a victory and we're just thankful that we're able to do our part. We're just so proud of our kids and there isn't enough praise to go around because every position stepped up. Coach Dantonio gave us some things when he said, `go for this, go for that.' He was behind us one-hundred percent and it made a difference in our kids.

On the play of quarterback Brian Hoyer...
You want those types of quarterbacks in your program. When something isn't going right or there is an errant throw here or there, they can let it go. That is a testament to him and his position coach, Dave Warner.

On the play of wide-receiver Devin Thomas...
The few highlights I saw were pretty spectacular. When he's hot, he plays football at a different level. We needed him to do that at this point in time and he was up for the challenge.

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi

Opening comments...
Defensively, it wasn't a pretty victory but I am so happy for those seniors and the football team as a whole. We never quit and we finished, and that's what we talk about all the time.

On the play calling down the stretch...
We had been here a couple of weeks ago when we didn't stop them on a two-minute situation and we focused on that. The kids said, `let's play this,' and we played what they wanted to play. It just tells you how far these kids have come from the first game of the season until the end to be able to finish a game like that.

On what made the team so emotional after the game...
I think it's everything. I'm not sure if anything ever falls in place as you would like it to, but I think it's the whole thing. It's a 7-5 record, which is a heck of a lot better than 6-6. It's a victory, period. It didn't matter if it was a bowl game or not, it's just a victory and the way it happened. We were down ten at half, I think we were down seventeen points in the fourth quarter. Our offense kept banging it, and when it counted, our defense shut them down at the end.

Michigan State junior quarterback Brian Hoyer

On the significance of this win for Michigan State...
It's huge. To come out and play a great Penn State team that only had three losses, and to send our seniors out as winners is really big for us. It's the first time since I've been here that we've been able to do that. It's special to know also that we guaranteed ourselves a bowl.

On what this does for his confidence...
It builds confidence for sure. This was something that I've been working towards all season and it just shows the maturity that I've gained. You can't let two interceptions get you down because there's 30 more minutes to play. We came out, were fired up, and we got things done in the second half.

On the Michigan State locker room after the game...
It was special. For someone like me that has never been to a bowl game, and for the majority of the team it was exciting and special. It was a happy feeling to send [the seniors] out as winners because they've been through so much and they've done so much for this program.

Michigan State senior tight end Kellen Davis

On staying on the field after the game to celebrate...
I was just soaking it all in. It was just one of those moments where you just want to soak it all in. To have our season culminate like this is special.

On the pass he caught from Ryan Allison...
We've been practicing that play for a couple of weeks. We tried it against Ohio State with Devin Thomas throwing it but that didn't quite work. He's got kind of a weak arm. So we tried it with Ryan and was glad the play was called. He threw it out there and I'm just glad I caught it.

Michigan State Senior Defensive End Ervin Baldwin

On the defense during Penn State's final drive...
We knew that we had to man up and make plays. We weren't going to go down that route again and we were tired of not finishing. I've got to give all the credit to the secondary. Those boys came through in the second half and just made plays.

On the final stop on fourth down...
I was thinking, "Please just get to that quarterback." He tried to hit a receiver in the back of the end zone and TJ Williams put his hand up and made a play on the ball so the game was over.

On getting to a bowl game...
I'm just happy for everyone in that locker room and the coaching staff. We get to go to a bowl game and I really don't care where we go. We could play at Okemos High School, it doesn't even matter. I'm just happy to be playing a 13th game and to spend another month with the guys in that locker room. I love those guys.

On how it felt to come back and win the game...
All season long, we've been having trouble finishing games. We knew that it was going to be a tough game, that we were going to have to play 60 minutes. We got down in the first half and we were down in the second half, but those guys in the locker room don't quit. I love all those guys over there and tonight we just finished and we're going to a bowl game.

On the team's emotions and how he feels looking back on the season...
Right now, everybody over there is happy. We're excited, we're a winning football team, we're 7-5. For the season, people predicted that we would be in the bottom of the Big Ten. Nobody predicted we would win seven games and look what happened. I just love those guys, I'm happy.

On the team's camaraderie...
We believe in each other. We got tight over here in this locker room. We just always believed in each other. You just have to have faith and we just kept believing. We're tough, We're tough.

Michigan State Senior Linebacker Kaleb Thornhill

On where he would like to go for a bowl game...
It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that I'm going to be with these guys one more time. They're my family, they're the guys I hang around with everyday. As long as I'm with them, I'll be just fine. We're going to have some good times.

On the team's play in the second half...
I have to give credit to their offensive line. They were probably one of the best we've seen all year. They had good schemes, good technique and they blocked well. We made some adjustments in the second half and came out with more fire. Maybe we did hit harder in the second half, but we did execute better and we were able to come out with a Spartan victory.

On closing out tonight's game...
It hit me in the fourth quarter that we were going to finish this race. Everybody believed we were going to finish up strong. Guys never got down. That's been the theme of the whole season, guys have never giving up. We will never give up. I think everybody saw that today and it was an emotional win and hopefully we can build on that for next year and also wherever we go [this year].

Michigan State Junior Wide Receiver Devin Thomas

On how the team got motivated for today's game...
It was a situation where we were trying to send the seniors out on top. We've been working hard in practice. It was a big game for us, trying to get in a bowl game. It was really emotional for us and we got the job done.

On tying the MSU single-game touchdown reception record with three...
It feels real good to give the team a chance to win the game. I just ran my routes and Hoyer found me. I just did what I could.

On playing under Coach Dantonio for a full season...
He's a down-to-earth guy. We believe in the things he says. He keeps on point with us and tells us how he feels. We play hard for him because we have a lot of love for him. That's why he's a good coach for us.

On going to a bowl game...
It's a really good feeling. We've been working really hard to get to a bowl game. It's really exciting to be around the team one more time and the seniors that are leaving. It's a good feeling.

Penn State Junior Kicker Kevin Kelley

On the fake field goal ...
We've had it called a couple of times this year but then taken it off and kicked a field goal. But coach came up to me right before and said to be ready in case we call a fake. Then we got the chance and the guys executed it perfectly.

On his nerves once the fake was called...
I was pretty calm. I thought after the play I was going to be a little bit more tired than I was. From the Michigan game, when that happened, I was exhausted afterward. But I think knowing that it was going to happen first kind of helped me a little bit.

On blowing the lead...
It's tough and it happens. But [Michigan State] is a good team and we knew that coming in the whole time, that we would have to play well, but things didn't go our way.

On losing the final regular season game...
It's definitely frustrating but coach keeps emphasizing we still have a bowl game; we still have another game left. So we just need to finish the season off right.

On where the Penn State program is now on the national level...
We're at the same spot that we were when we first got here, I think. You look at the games we've lost and we've lost to great teams. We haven't lost to tames that shouldn't beat us. We've beat ourselves in some games but we're competing against the best teams all the time.

On losing to Michigan State ...
We beat ourselves. But yes, they are a good team. You see the Big Ten this year, and you see everybody beating everybody. They were 2-5 in the Big Ten but that doesn't really say how good they are as a team.

On the defense's ability to stop the run ...
I thought we did a good job of reading the play, and making adjustments. I thought our secondary was outstanding today, and we got to see contributions from a lot of different players.

Penn State Senior Wide Receiver Terrell Golden

On losing to Michigan State...
If you really take a look at Michigan State, they are a much better team than their record shows. They have an explosive offense, as we've seen tonight, and their defense did pretty good, too. They're better than our record shows. We had some tough luck early in the season and a lot of different things can contribute to a loss. Sometimes it just doesn't go your way; it's just the game of foot ball.

On addressing the team after the loss...
Tell the team to keep our heads up. Our season's not over; we still have one more big game. Yeah, it's disappointing but there's nothing you can do about it now. If you truly left it all on the field, you have to nothing to ashamed of or worried about. And I think all the guys, even down to the special teams - I think we all left it on the field.

Penn State Freshman Linebacker Bani Gbadyu

On what changed the team this week...
Nothing really, we came in and practiced all week; there's nothing we didn't practice for. We came in and played hard, they made some plays and we made some plays. You win some and you lose some, and obviously we lost today.

On being shocked by the outcome of the game...
Yeah of course, but Michigan State is a really good team. They are well coached and didn't make a lot of mistakes, and they are a really balanced team. They have two really good running backs, and we had a hard time bringing down No. 30 [Jehuu Caulcrick}.

On late third quarter fumble recovery by Tyrell Sales...
It gave us a lot of momentum; it was a play that got our sideline up and our fans in the game. When you make a play like that it changes momentum, so I was excited for that.

On talent level of Michigan State...
If you see that the tape, they almost beat Michigan and they came back on Ohio State. This is a very good football team and they are very talented. They just played a better game today.

Penn State Senior Inside Linebacker Don Connor

On losing a 24-7 lead...
We were focused the first half and we were focused in the second half. We knew were playing a 0-0 game, and [Michigan State] crushed us. It's a high-powered offense. I think they are one of the most productive offenses in the Big Ten right now. That was always in the back of our minds, and you can't let up on a team like this that can hurt you.

On ending the season with a loss...
It's not the way you want to go out. It's tough on the team and it's difficult, to say the least. You try to learn from it and heal up - rest the body. And hopefully, we'll make a statement in a bowl game.

On defending against Devin Thomas and Kellen Davis...
We knew they were both threats and big-time players. It's tough to say. They played great and their quarterback [Brian Hoyer] made a couple of good passes, and they capitalized on it.

On winning the turnover battle and still losing the game...
They did a great job and put together some 12- and 13- play drives. They played mistake-free football in the second half and which is tough to deal with, so you have to take your hat off to them.

Penn State Junior Center A.Q. Shipley

On being 8-4...
A lot of teams would love to be 8-4 right now. That's not where we planned on being, but it ended up that way. We have to make the most of it; go to a bowl game and hopefully make the most of it.

On were Penn State is at compared to all other programs in the nation...
We are up there, we just have to finish. We've had a few years like this, but hopefully we can finish up with a big bowl win and come back next year.

On Penn State being closer to being a 12-1 team or a .500 team...
12-1, no doubt. We've got all the talent in the world, we've just got to put it together. We put up 31 points, that should be enough to win a game. We had a three score lead with ten to play in the third quarter; we've got to be able to hold onto that.

On the mood in the huddle on the huddle on the last drive...
We were fired up. We were moving the ball well and getting some good passes, but sometimes you just stall out.

Penn State Junior Linebacker Tyrell Sales

On his fumble recovery in the third quarter...
I just saw the ball on the ground and jumped on it. I think they missed the exchange between quarterback and center and there was nobody around so I just jumped on it.

On mood on the sidelines after fumble recovery...
It was a big turnover for us to get the ball with good field position. We knew that if we could get a score off of that it would really help us out.

Penn State Junior Wide Receiver Derrick Williams

On losing the final regular season game ...
It's very disappointing. We came out here feeling good about ourselves. We knew how good of a team Michigan State was. We came out here with a lot to prove on the road, and we just let it slip away from us.

On being pressed on offense...
I think we controlled things pretty well, we were moving up and down the field pretty well. They had a good defensive scheme, but we tried to do the best we could.

If team needs to regroup...
I don't think so. I think we need to just look inside of ourselves and see what we need to do.

On off the field issue of team affecting the season...
We lost a lot of players due to off-the-field issues, but Joe [Paterno] does a good job of getting everybody up. But everybody is just stepping up and doing what they can to help out the team.

 

 

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