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Post Game Quotes: Northwestern
 
 
 

 

 
 

Nov. 17, 2012

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Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening Statement ...
Obviously a very disappointing loss. When you look at the football game, we always talk about turnovers and how important they are and I think that is the story of the game. We lost 12 points in the first half due to mistakes and turnovers and then throw an interception in the beginning of the second half due to blown protection and it goes for a touchdown. Our defense gets no turnovers and they come up with four, which makes it very difficult to win. We out-rushed them, we had more first downs, more passing yards and third-down conversions, but you can't overcome mistakes. Our football team is playing hard, they are resilient, but you have to execute and get it done in those situations. Very disappointed, but like I said on the radio show I can't live in the past. You can only live in the present and the future. We have to get ready for Minnesota and are in a situation to be playing for a bowl game. Credit Northwestern for making plays. I think they played extremely hard and they always do.

On overcoming the series of close losses ...
We keep pressing forward and talking about playing yourself out of this. It's a test and you're under fire under the test and you have to be able to respond and persevere through these things. There's no question on the football field you have to make plays. It's not an animated TV deal. You have to make the catch, the block or the throw. We had a blown coverage after we tied it up on a very basic defense. Next thing you know they are kicking a field goal to go up 23-20 and that's the end game. There are too many plays that are like that that need to be made. There's no way to sugar coat it. I love our football team and the way we play and how hard we play as well as the coaches. Collectively as a group we have to win. Everybody in that locker room right now is extremely disappointed. We made some plays but we have to win.

On deciding to punt instead of go for it on fourth down at the end of the game...
It's fourth-and-8 -- if we don't get it then they are at the 50 and now we are going 90. I was thinking about it but common sense says that with three timeouts you can stop them and get the ball back at the 40. But the percentages are not with you on fourth-and-8. I wanted to get the first down but we are trying to win and do the very best that we can.

On not being able to make plays late in the game...
I think the play they made on Aaron Burbridge was a great play on their part. He made a great catch in traffic but their guy stripped it out and it was a great play. The interception for a touchdown we had was tough to deal with because it was a blown mistake in protection. And the other interception was a late throw that was on the quarterback. There is enough blame to spread around to everyone, including the head coach. It's play selection, how you use your timeouts, what to do on some of those fourth down plays, but I can't really pinpoint anything.

On the lack of improvement from the offense throughout the season...
We're young and play with a lot of people on the offensive line that has been in and out. I would say our receiving group has improved and we are running the ball more effectively. It's the turnovers. You can't turn the ball over four times in a game and one for a touchdown. You have to look at the fourth down play we didn't get as a turnover. We don't get points out of those situations, and you can't make those critical mistakes.

On the lack of success at home this season ...
I talked about that in our locker room. We've lost five games in Spartan Stadium this year, and to me that is unheard of. I've been here 12 years and that's never happened. This always been a great place to play and a great environment. I appreciate the support we had today and thought the fans showed up. I feel badly for them because I know they suffer too. All I can tell you is that you regroup and use it as a way to motivate you and bring you closer. You find value in what's going on and push forward. If you can do that then you have a chance to get better and move forward. If you look backwards and blame others, things fall apart. And we will not fall apart.

On the importance of this final game ...
Very important. We need to go to a bowl game. We have played better away from home so maybe that's the omen this year. We need to go to Minnesota with the mindset and right idea to get it done. I don't care what bowl it is, but that has to be the focus.

Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi

On the decision to punt at the end of the game...
It was fourth down-and-8. The decision was they had a pretty good defense, let's stop them and get the ball back on offense. Simple.

On the pass interference call near the end of the game...
Players play, coaches coach. I have no idea. I'll see it on tape again.

On dealing with the loss...
It isn't any more difficult for me than any other player or any other coach on this football team so what's the difference? A loss is a loss.

Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Dan Roushar

On the addition of anything during the bye week...
Not really. Just looked at some formation things alignment-wise but we tried to stay true to what we've been and who we are, didn't do a lot of things in that way.

It felt like, after the Nebraska game, we were getting our offensive linemen back as a group. The core group had practiced very well leading into that. We thought, rather than get away from who we've been personality-wise, stay with who we are. It had been successful the past few times we've played against them. We thought we'd be able to go in there and throw the ball effectively and mix the run in there. Unfortunately we didn't get it done. We had two opportunities down on the goal line and you leave 14 points off the board, you get hit by the safety on a deep ball that we're taking to shot and they pick it off to start the half and you know, all of a sudden, you've given yourself a real deficit to work from. Unfortunately we didn't get the job done.

On Dion Sims...
He was much healthier. I thought he played well. From what I saw, he blocked very well as well. I thought he stepped up and had a nice game.

You know, obviously the last play you're trying to think player as much as you're thinking concept. You're trying to get a guy to make a play, he goes up, gets the ball, and just doesn't have the ability, as I looked at it, to bring it down and secure it. The safety came up and got it out on him. There was a lot of things we left off the table today, so we'll have to evaluate.

On Andrew Maxwell's interceptions...
The one that was most apparent right at the start of the second half, the safety came down on a blitz on the back side. Our tailback did not recognize the blitz, didn't go back and pick it up. The other throw, as we look it, probably could have stayed in the boundary on the deep one down the left side. He went to the field with it and the safety got over the top with it and made the play. We'll go back and look at it, and see if we can get better.

Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald

Opening statements...
Obviously [it was] a great team win the way we bounced back. To come up here on the road, make the plays that winners make, especially down the stretch, it was a great team win. All three phases, I thought we played pretty well in. I see a lot of room for improvement though still, and it's what we'll work on this week. You know, a lot of little things continue to recur, but I'm really proud of our seniors; they were the ones that led us through last week.

The guys responded when we got back off the bus a week ago from Ann Arbor; that's when this game started. And the credit goes to our seniors. To come up here, and our defense had their backs against the wall a couple times, but I think we were (plus-4) in the turnover ratio, and when that happens, that's a big, big catalyst in winning the football game. So I'm proud of our seniors, great team win, and way to bounce back.

I want to wish Mark [Dantonio] and his staff and his young men the best of luck next week. Obviously it would be huge for them to get into postseason; I've got a ton of respect for the way Mark coaches, the way his staff goes about their business, and obviously the way their young men play.

On using quarterback Trevor Siemien on the final drives instead of starting QB Kain Colter...
Kain [Colter] was a little dinged up and we made the decision to go with Trev [Siemien]. It was just a decision that we had made.

On bouncing back from the loss at Michigan last week...
I think it starts and ends with recruiting character young men. I'm like a broken record on that, but our young men are resilient because of the way that they've been raised, and we get the young man that comes to our program that number one, believes in himself, and as we try to create a program here - and we try to instill a set of values and things that we believe in - they have to buy into it, they have to own it, they have to manage it, and they have to hold each other accountable to it on a moment-by-moment, day-by-day basis, and it's all part of the blueprint.

When you have success, you've got to do a great job, I think, as a staff of kind of shutting the noise out because you get complacent and you think you're better than you are. And then when you've had some tough defeats like we've had, you've got to shut out the noise and the negativity. With the 24-hour news cycle and social media, it's tough on our guys; it's hard as it's ever been. But we talked about that on Monday. I said, `The guy that was your best friend two weeks ago when we beat Iowa now thinks that you're not worth a darn when we lose a tough one in Ann Arbor.' That's why you don't listen to that stuff. Otherwise you're on a roller coaster of emotion, so just stay consistent and stay the course and keep plugging along, and again, the credit goes to our seniors and our young men.

On being aggressive via the throwing the ball in today's game...
We're going to do what we believe is going to help us to win, period, end of discussion. It is what it is. Sometimes you're right and sometimes you're not, and when you're not, you're the goat. I get it. I respect it and I understand it, but I promise you this: we're trying to call the plays that help us win and our guys are trying to execute to the best of their ability, end of discussion.

On Venric Mark being injured and filling in for him...
He tried to go, and then just got a little banged up again. We're just trying to be smart. We feel like we've got really good depth there. I just asked him if he's going to play next week and he told me `Yeah.'

On Trevor Siemien's performance...
Going back to last week, I thought he came in and played outstanding. I mean he really played well, and I believe he's carried that over. We've been saying this all year: we believe we've got two quarterbacks we can win with. It's a lot better situation than probably a lot of NFL teams. It gives us a chance in every game.

On defending Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell...
I think that we found a way to contain him. He didn't have any explosive runs today. The guys went out and executed.

On his team getting better after last year...
To see the way that the program has responded I think is a terrific credit to our players. They've stayed the course. We're going to set things out for them as far as a vision and a belief system and a value system. But it takes them to own it, it takes them to manage it every day, and it takes them to hold each other accountable to the Wildcat way, and they've done that.

Michigan State Junior Defensive End William Gholston

Thoughts on how the team played...
I just know that me, my teammates, and staff when you play football at this level you have to dedicate your life to be a student of the game. I feel like everybody on the team does that. We come out and play hard every single game. So as long as we go out and give a 110% effort, leave it all out on the field and giving every single thing that you have, I can be comfortable.

On his performance today...
My performance doesn't matter. I think my team left it all out there today.

Michigan State Senior Linebacker Chris Norman

Thoughts on the frustration of the season so far...
This has been the model of the season. Added on top of that, this was the last game at Spartan Stadium. None the less it is a very tough situation to be in.

Playing the last game at Spartan Stadium...
I did everything I could do; I controlled everything that I could control. But we didn't get the W so it was tough looking at all the fans leaving. Losing to Northwestern, seeing the faces of my teammates, and just exiting the locker room getting dressed knowing this was my last game in Spartan Stadium.

Rallying the team as a captain...
That is something I was thinking about immediately after the game was over. Just because you can look at our situation and really ask yourself; what are you guys going to play for? A bowl game really isn't going to be enough so I am going to think about this for the rest of the game and the rest of the week to look at what I can do to as a captain to get everybody ready for next week.

Michigan State Junior Running Back Le'Veon Bell

Thoughts on the season so far...
You know it is crazy how we just coming up short. Like I said we are going to live and learn from it.

On disappointment of red zone turnovers...
Tough, tough, you can't, especially inside the five yard line; we can't leave there without any points twice. One of them a turnover on downs and another one was a fumble. We can't do that, it is unacceptable.

Feeling of the locker room post game...
It's frustrating, it's just frustrating. Guys know where we fall. Where things are here and there, where we could have done better. It's not just at the end of the game or the beginning, it's the whole game. Every play is a big play. We just need to make sure we execute on whatever play we are on, and just keep moving forward.

Michigan State Junior Linebacker Denicos Allen

On the mistakes made vs. Northwestern...
There were plenty of mistakes that happened today, that's the reason we lost today. It has kind of been that way all year. It is just the little mistakes that cost us by just that much. We lose a lot of our games by less than four points. It's frustrating

Thinking ahead to play Minnesota...
We just have to finish the season off strong. It is all about how you finish. The last game is like a mark going into the next year. We have to finish that off strong and hopefully everything clicks on offense and on defense. So what we can show people what to expect next year. We just have to get our stuff together.

Thoughts on the pressure of playing at home...
Things just aren't going our way. It is just a really down year for us. We go out and play the best we can, we just make mistakes and other teams capitalize on them. We lost five games at home.

On the importance of getting to a bowl game...
Yeah a bowl game would definitely be beneficial to the team. We could definitely use the extra practice, the extra competition. You know we are a young team so we need all the experience we can this year going into next year.

Michigan State Junior Linebacker Max Bullough

On finishing the games...
We need to close games out, we need to not allow that drive after we tie things up. We need to not allow that drive after we tied it up at 13.

On the frustration of losing close again...
It's frustrating obviously you know. This one hurts, this one hurts a lot. It has come down to a lot of close games and this is just another one. This one is just another one on the list.

The difficulty on losing on senior day...
Yeah, that adds some extra emotion to it. It is our last game of the year too. We would have liked to win this one.

Mindset of going into the Minnesota game...
We got to win, we got to win. We have to make it to a bowl game. We have to get past it like I have been saying. We have come back every week and played strong even if we lost the next game. There is never any quit and there won't be any next week.

Coming up with key stops...
We have had a lot of opportunities to stop the game. I think we have a lot of times and we haven't at other times. Those are the ones that everybody talks about. You know we had two 3-and-outs before that last drive penalty in blown coverage. They aren't beating us; we are beating ourselves a little bit. So that is something we need to look at and practice.

Northwestern Sophomore Quarterback Trevor Siemian

On playing with the injuries to junior quarterback Kain Colter and junior running back Venric Mark...
We talk about asking, `Who's going to pick up the flag?' and my opportunity came up and I was trying to execute and the other guys on offense played their butts off. Whether it's Kain back there or Venric or me slinging it around, I think we can do it all and we showed that today.

On the play calling towards the end of the game...
[Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach] Coach [Mick] McCall said we were going to throw it around and pick up a first down or two, and I said, `let's do it.' And that's a tribute to our guys outside stepping up in that kind of situation - making the plays they did. Coming into the year they were saying that we had the best receivers in the Big Ten and that's been a big thing. I think we're a pretty versatile offense. I think one of the staples of our offense is tempo - it's got to be tough for a defense and it's tough for us sometimes but we know what we're doing. Any way we can get them off balance or gain an advantage on our side - we're going to try to do it.

On the big pass to freshman super back Dan Vitale and the play of the super backs...
Aside from that one drop he played really well against some good cornerbacks. We were going fast, we were playing with tempo, and maybe we caused some miscommunication. I was fortunate enough to find him and he had a great catch and run. The super backs have been capable all year and if they keep playing like they did today then we'll keep getting them the ball.

Northwestern Freshman Super Back Dan Vitale

On his 41-yard reception...
I saw that break in coverage out there and soon as I caught it I just took off, trying to get what I could. That kid trying to punch the ball out - it was a smart play by him and I got the wind knocked out of me a little bit but it was an awesome feeling getting down there. It was a big drive for us.

On using tape of Drake Dunsmore to improve his game...
He was good at attacking the leverage of the defenders, which was I think what got me open a lot today. I really took that from him. Being a smaller guy myself, I watched how he used technique to block and I've tried to make that a strength of mine.

On his role in the offense today...
It changes from week to week but I think I'm starting to prove myself. I'm just going to keep going out there, doing my job, and doing what's asked of me. We knew we could hit those short passes on the sidelines and our coaches did a great job planning for that. They gave us a great game plan. I think I'm starting to get a hang of everything - how the momentum swings affect the game. It's been a fun ride and I'm ready for these last two.

On the road win...
It's a big momentum swing for us. We felt a little crushed last week but with a win this week we're hoping we can latch onto that momentum and get two more wins. Personally, I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing and I think good things are going to happen. We're getting more and more confidence each game.

Northwestern Senior Safety Jared Carpenter

On the last drive and knocking the ball out of junior tight end Dion Sims' hands...
From where I saw it, I thought he caught the ball. I kept punching and punching and was trying to get it out. Incomplete catch, fumble - I'm just glad we got the job done. We knew they had no time outs and our first job was to get them down in bounds. I saw the ball thrown and I just broke to him. We work on drills in practice and it's good to see those paying dividends. I've been watching the Bears a lot and to see what (Chris) Tillman's been doing - that kind of stuff rings in your head.

On the physicality of the defense...
We've been working on strip drills and turnover drills all year and it's great to see it paying dividends.

 

 

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