Post-Game Quotes: Purdue
 
 
 

 

 
 

Nov. 20, 2010

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Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement...
What a day. Outstanding job by our football team hanging in. I think Purdue came ready to play, obviously. Didn't play our best football, after the pick six, gave up a big play, but we just kept playing. We knew we needed to catch fire emotionally, and we finally did in the fourth quarter, with about 8:56 to go (on the clock). Three turnovers in the fourth quarter defensively, including the punt block. Offense responds, I think (Kirk) Cousins played very well. I think the key to being a great quarterback is being able to overcome a throw that goes the opposite way. Being able to respond and be resilient, being able to get back up after getting his shoulder dinged, and getting back up after his ankle. He was 28-for-37 with about 270 yards. (Edwin) Baker ran well and is at over 1,000 yards now on the season, with 91 yards (today). We just sort of stalled out offensively I felt, (once) across the 50 (yard line), we did that quite often. We kept playing, defensively we gave up some plays, but somehow, someway we got back into it. All I can tell you is that we are a 10-win football team, 10-1. We know that we are going to play in a major bowl, we know we have a chance to be Big Ten Champions next week, if we win, regardless of what goes on, we have a chance to be at least Co-Champions, that is special. So happy for our seniors, very emotional for them, they leave here being the winningest team in 114 years, any way you cut it. You have to play the game, so outstanding job by them, being resilient. We have won three games on special teams plays, special teams is critical. Denicos Allen made the play of the game on the blocked punt.

On sending more pressure on the punts by Purdue...
We weren't really sending more, guys were just getting close. For whatever reason, whether it was the blocking or whether it was the timing. Denicos (Allen) got a great jump on the ball on that last one, came off the edge unblocked and put his hand right on the football, just like you were supposed to. The ball stopped dead on the 3-yard line, and didn't go out of the end zone for a safety, which I thought was big. We were then able to get in. And I'm not sure of the sequence of events after the challenge. C.L. Rucker's interception was big; we got into the end zone pretty quick from there. Then we obviously got in at the end, and a big two-point conversion to (Mark) Dell from (Kirk) Cousins, he put the ball right on the money.

On the team psyche early on in the game...
I felt like we came in ready to play, very emotional, with the parents there pushing their child out on the football field for one last time at Spartan Stadium, that is a very emotional experience. For whatever reason, I thought we started fast. We went right down the field and scored. We ran 30 plays and they ran 5 at the end of the first quarter, and they were ahead. Sometimes it goes that way, but credit Purdue, they made plays. It was a good football game and games against Purdue are always going to be like that, they always are.

On the play of junior quarterback Kirk Cousins...
He is resilient and a competitor, he has toughness and is the leader of our football team. When your leader does things, people follow. Leadership sometimes is thrust upon people, and it was certainly thrust upon him in the fourth quarter. He needed to get it done, down 15 (points); we needed to make plays somehow and someway. If you watch our sidelines it got electric there in the fourth quarter, it got electric after C.L. Rucker's interception that is when it started. It is just like anything, sometimes things start to roll and it gets hard to stop it.

On the injuries to Kirk Cousins...
He came back, at the end of the first half I believe, sort of regrouped and was ok. I thought (Andrew) Maxwell did a nice job when he was in there; Andrew is going to be a very good quarterback for us.

On the difficulties rushing the ball recently...
People put more people up there (in the box), they have a good run defense, and they have good players. Why has it been tougher? Because we are in this conference. When you are playing out of conference sometimes you are not playing the competition that is in this conference. By the time you get to this point in the season people pretty much know what type of running plays you are going to run. You've run 1,000+ plays, and people do a very good job watching and recognizing. (Ryan) Kerrigan is a great player; they have a great get off (the line). I thought their linebackers played pretty well. We moved the ball down the field and then we sort of stalled out. The game started to become dictated into a passing game with 12 minutes to go, needing two scores. It became a little bit more of a passing game at that point.

On punting the ball and relying on the defense to make plays...
Punt is the most important play in football, as you saw today. We pinned them down there a couple of times inside the five, one time they got out with the long ball. Then we blocked a punt on them. You have got to be successful on punt. That is one play where you should pick up 40 yards at the minimum every single time, if you do it right. There is an 80 percent chance that you are going to pick up 40+ yards, and field position is such a critical aspect in winning a football game. I believe in our football team, I believe in our defense. We're going to play, we're going to make plays, it is not a perfect world out there. Some guy could be sitting out there booing and the next minute he could be cheering. That is why you buy a ticket; if I could have booed I would have too. That is why football is such a great game, it is emotional, it is an emotional game played by a lot of people doing a lot of different things. Credit Danny Hope and Purdue University, they played hard, and I said that to him before the game. It is not for lack of effort or toughness, in terms of them winning and losing. If you do that, you have a chance to win always.

On the ability of the special teams to make plays...
We put a premium on special teams. Probably that is what we worked on the most in our off week. We actually did individual drills during special teams. In other words, you have special teams punt, and we did individual (work) within that group of people. There are coaches coaching those people just as with defensive backs and such. Our players believe in that, any time you start making plays on special teams. You can look at the Little Giants play, the punt return by Keshawn Martin, look at the Mouse Trap play, and then the punt block. Those are four huge plays in our season, which have come off of special teams. Look at Aaron Bates, being second in the conference as a punter; you can look at Dan Conroy being (14-15) (on field goals) as a kicker. You can look at the extra point that was missed, that was a high snap, was crucial in the game, and forced us to go for two. Every aspect of special teams will allow you to win or lose a football game. That is what we talk about and our players believe that.

Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi

Opening statement...
Defensively obviously this wasn't our best performance of the year. But I'll tell you what, character-wise that football team has got a lot of character. Our guys made plays when they needed to, and I don't think anyone in the stadium besides the guys in that locker room believed that we could get it done. Our kids never stopped believing. That locker room believes.

On junior defensive tackle Kevin Pickelman's performance...
Pickelman broke a finger early in the game and came out, and I said `What's Pickelman doing? Get him back in there.' Pickelman stepped up and played a great game. Blake Treadwell went down, had the flu and was throwing up all night, so Treadwell wasn't able to play and Pickelman took over and played like he's supposed to play. He's really starting to get over that ankle injury and playing with a lot of power. Those guys made some plays in there.

On the energy that was lost in the first quarter after the long touchdown run and interception for a touchdown...
I was up in the press box for the first half, so I don't know what we lost energy-wise, but I think it always takes a little wind out of you. Our kids never stopped believing, went in at halftime, regrouped and said that we're going to be champions. Just keep going, one play at a time, and it's a 60 minute game, not 30, it's 60. Our kids just came out and played in the second half and made plays. Chris L. Rucker had a big pick, Greg Jones had an unbelievable hit on the quarterback on that fourth down play, laid his tail out, and Chris Norman picks the ball. Players make plays. Give [Purdue] credit, they made plays. They do a great job scheming you up and give Coach Hope and their offensive staff a lot of credit. We knew they do some good things and put you in binds, and they do a good job with their spread offense.

Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell

Opening statement...
Offensively, I'm sure you guys have already talked to the guys that certainly were standouts, and we're so proud of those guys. Really our part was to just be a part of it; we're just so proud of them right now, I' m really speechless because there's so much emotion, as you can imagine, in the locker room. Especially with the senior class going out, we're just so proud of them hanging tough and just believing in what Coach Dantonio has put in place, and that is the character that these young men are resilient and they were going to find a way to win. We're just proud of what they did on offense even when adversity hit.

On the difference in play calls between successive drives...
It just depends on the situation. We've got a variety of things to look at, it's like a menu if you will, when you're looking at the game plan. You also have to have some give and take and some communication with the head coach, and a lot of times Coach Dantonio will share a few thoughts and we'll discuss that as an offense and decide what we need and where we want to go from there. Our young men come off the field and they give us great feedback, those guys are constantly coming off the line and saying, `Hey, we're getting this, we did see this or we haven't seen that, how do you want us to adjust.' Naturally those things typically happen with your quarterback all the time, and Cousins continues to do that, but we had it at every position. It was just a heightened awareness. Running backs talking about it, wide-receivers communicating. It was a good day in terms of a team effort.

On the team's rushing performance of only 95 yards...
I can't answer that just standing here. There's not a lack of effort, that's for sure. I think sometimes the flow of the game may put you in a situation where you're thinking a little bit about throwing the football and mixing some things in. We're going to continue to try to stay with what we do, and we want to be as balanced as we can. I think sometimes the game, maybe the tempo of the game where you feel like you need some momentum to shift, sometimes that may make a change in what you're doing.

On Junior Kirk Cousins' performance at quarterback while battling injuries to his shoulder and ankle...
I think before you get to your technical abilities and those types of things, there's a will to win. That's why he's one of the unanimous captains of the football team as an underclassman. He brings that energy not just to the offense, but to the entire team. You can't put a price tag on those things; you don't coach those things up...What he brings to the table is tremendous and it affects the whole team.

On freshman Andrew Maxwell's series as quarterback...
He's always there ready to go, we like to sneak him in there when we can, no matter what the situation is. But this one dictated that at that time he needed to go in, and we have a lot of confidence in Maxwell.

MSU Senior Linebacker Greg Jones

On today's performance...
We had a lot of small mistakes on defense today, which were easily fixable but costly at the same time. Coach Dantonio told us not to panic and we calmed down. We played our best in the fourth quarter, and that is where it counts the most.

On the slow beginning of the game...
I don't think today's performance was because of low energy because we were very motivated. The problem was that we didn't execute well. It all comes down to execution and we didn't do that in the beginning of today's game.

On what Purdue did to throw MSU off...
You have to give Purdue credit, they have some really good players and made some good plays, but I don't think our performance today was a result of how they played...We have to remember to make a play on the ball when it is in the air, not just cover.

On Kirk Cousin's perseverance...
I never doubted that Kirk would get back up and keep playing, that is just how he carries himself and I have a lot of respect for that. He just got up, went to the sidelines for a minute and did whatever he had to do to get back in the game.

MSU Senior Linebacker Eric Gordon

On today's performance...
We came out slow and I don't know why, today is our Senior Day. But we just kept fighting and kept playing and halftime really helped us. I wasn't worried because when you looked into everyone's eyes you could tell they were going to fight until the end. The crowd was also a big help because in the fourth quarter they got really into the game, which made us more excited. On what they talked about before Purdue's last offensive drive... We just said "let's keep playing." The defense feeds off the energy of the offense and once Kirk Cousins got that touchdown, I don't think anything was going to stop us.

On what it means for Kirk Cousins to score a touchdown when injured...
All I have to say is that Kirk is a very tough guy. He got knocked out a couple times today but just kept coming back. I really thought Andrew Maxwell was going to be playing for the rest of the game, but that didn't happen. I don't know exactly what happened to Kirk, but he has toughness and it was good to see him earn a rushing touchdown.

MSU Junior Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On his injuries...
I've been battling a sprained ankle and sprained shoulder three or four weeks now and they just don't heal when you keep playing on them. I've been battling and getting a lot of treatment on but they are very tender so when you get driven into the ground or twisted in the pile it's not going to react to well. Sprains are something that you can keep playing as long as you can handle the pain but it slows you down. There was a point in time I was close to pulling myself out of the game and not trying to be the hero because it's about the team and not me, but I have to give credit to our training staff who I talked with at halftime and they encouraged me to stay in there and I think that helped us get the win.

On his confidence...
There is definitely a footwork problem because of my sprained ankle; I can't plant my leg and pivot off it without excruciating pain so I have to play with flat feet. It makes it very tough to play a Big Ten team on basically one ankle, but when you have receivers like Mark Dell who can get separation and make difficult catches in traffic it helps a lot.

On his final touchdown...
You just react when you're playing football and being an athlete. You see the seam and nothing is open so I went for it.

When he re-injured his ankle and decided to keep playing...
It was halftime when we had to make the decision because at that point the shoulder and ankle had been aggravated. We just made the decision and went for it, and after the first series I felt I could do it. Obviously I wasn't at full strength but I was able to do it enough, but when you have players like this around you like Mark Dell, who is one of the best receivers in the Big Ten, and you have a blocked punt and interceptions, which we've had in all of our close games, it makes a bad ankle and shoulder easy to deal with because you have guys helping you out.

On the bouncing back after two early mistakes to go down 14-7...
Well we scored a touchdown on the first drive so I don't think we were flat, but suddenly its 7-7 and then I throw an interception that gets returned for a touchdown. It doesn't mean we were flat I just made a bad decision and got hit and tried to fire it in there. Next thing you know its 14-7 on two plays that were mistakes. When you don't execute in football it makes things tough but we were able to execute later on in the fourth quarter.

On Mark Dell being such a dependable receiver...
Mark is a special person and a special player, he is a special talent who came here as a big-time recruit and I think people were wondering when that was going to show and we just felt so good about him if he could stay healthy this year. He's a tremendous football player who loves the game of football and is passionate and never gives up. We worked so hard this off-season in the indoor and outdoor facilities and driving to the Detroit area to work together just to build our chemistry, so hopefully on those two point conversions and inches on the goal line we can get the win.

On next weekend's game against Penn State...
Well we are playing for a championship next Saturday and Penn State is going to be ready to go and they have a great football team and it's going to be a challenge playing against them. But we are playing for a championship, which is something special, and 10 wins is also special. We've talked a lot about leaving a legacy here in our time and we want to leave something that people will remember, and we have a chance to do that next weekend.

On his health for next weekend...
I think with a week to heal and with our trainers we will get a plan together and be ready to go. With only one week left there's not really a reason to baby it because we have a month off after that so we are going to give it all we got because that's it and we have a lot to play for.

MSU Senior Wide Receiver Mark Dell

On Kirk Cousins' toughness and final touchdown...,br> Kirk is just a phenomenal player and you can see the drive and toughness he came out with. With a banged up ankle he showed how much toughness he has and showed he is a leader for this team and helped us with the win.

On his touchdown and two point conversion...
It was a great catch, it was actually a choice route and I went over top and I wasn't sure if Kirk made the same read as I did I was just taking a gamble but by the time I looked up the ball was right in my numbers. It was a great pass along with the two point conversion. He put it right where the defender couldn't get it and it made my job easy.

On the emotions before the game...
I think I held it together, I think I had to pick up my sister and my mom who were pretty emotional but at the same time I was just excited to get back on the field with my teammates which was the main thing.

On playing such a big role in his final home game...
It feels great. Any time you can come out here and make plays for your teammates it feels great, and when my number is called I feel like it's my job to make the offense run well. It's just part of being a senior leader, and I took it upon myself to make plays and clean up the miscellaneous drops I had this year and I think I've done a good job of that so far.

On when he saw the ball on the two point conversion...
I saw it toward the end when the defender swatted down on it and I saw it right after he missed the ball. It was just a laser and I couldn't have asked for a better placing of the ball.

MSU Senior Linebacker Jon Misch

On senior day...
On senior day every senior has a lot of pride for the school and expects to be able take the game into their own hands and make a play. Going into halftime all the seniors came up and said they were not going to lose this game. We really came together as a whole.

On being behind...
You have to fight off any thoughts you have and it gets hard especially when you are down by 15. It's agonizing. It's right in your face. Our team showed a lot of maturity to be able to take it and say we are not going to let this happen. We are going to stick our foot in the ground and we are going to end up making plays right now. I am obviously so happy that we did.

On what was the turning point in the game...
Rucker's interception definitely put light into our eyes. It was at a point when everybody was saying we need to make a turnover right now. Once it happened it was like OK, this is possible. And obviously Denicos Allen blocking that punt made a huge adrenaline rush for everybody. We started to feed off each other and that is what we needed.

MSU Junior Nose Tackle Kevin Pickelman

On facing Purdue and their game plan...
We just played our technique that Coach Gill teaches. It was mainly me staying healthy because of all my injuries the last few years. I could never keep going so to come back healthy is was nice to help out the team and help out my D-line.

MSU Senior Cornerback Chris L. Rucker

On being a senior...
I knew this was going to be my last game at Spartan Stadium and it got real emotional. It is something I will never forget. The fans made it much better, cheering and everything. Getting this win made things a lot sweeter for us.

On his interception...
I just remember seeing a broken route and I came down with it...The ones you have to think about are the hardest balls to catch. We knew we needed a turnover, a turning point in the game. Once we got that interception, that was a key turning point in the game. It gave us the energy to finish the game. I was in the right position and made the play.

MSU Sophomore Defensive Tackle Jerel Worthy

On the sideline getting the team pumped up...
The emotion was crazy. Everybody was feeding off each other.

On getting emotional...
These next two games we have to have. To go somewhere you've never been before you have to do something you have never done before. We have to play with that attitude every time we go out. I was just trying to do what I had to do for the seniors today and I wanted to send them out with a win.

On preparing to play Purdue...
With the bye week that we had it was a good benefit to us because we got to go in and watch film and really get a feel for what Purdue was trying to do. It was just good preparation. We wanted to know what was coming. They made us study hard. Kevin Pickelman got a big hit late in the fourth quarter and guys were pretty excited. It was good preparation.

Purdue Head Coach Danny Hope

On the blocked punt...
It's hard to tell with that many people lined up on the line of scrimmage of the gaps. We will have to look at the film. It does not really matter where the breakdown came from; it was the difference maker of the game.

On what he said to the players after this game...
I think they played awfully well for the majority of the season, I am really proud of our football team. We started the season off with a lot of question marks. We lost both of our top players right in a row, really proud of our football team. It was a great game today; very disappointed we did not win. It was a heartbreaking loss, but it is fun playing Boilermaker football. Our guys are having fun and are playing with a lot of energy and heart. Very disappointed with the loss, but very proud of our football team. I think they showed a lot of courage and poise and Boilermaker pride in the latter half of the season, we would come in most of these game three and four touchdown underdogs and play the top teams and players down to the wire. I look down there and count five, six freshman on the field and that is encouraging in regards to the future of our program.

On the progress of quarterback Rob Henry...
He threw the ball well at times in practice. Tuesday he threw it really well, and either Wednesday or Thursday, he did not throw the ball well at all. We were concerned. And he did not throw the ball very good in pre-game and were really concerned but we went with him anyway. I think he is an unbelievable guy; he's an exceptional young man. It is certainly easy to believe in Rob Henry, I believe in him and all the players believe in him. I thought he did a great job today, passing the football and orchestrating our offense. He is a heck of a player and an A-plus person, we are lucky to have him on our team.

On cornerback Ricardo Allen...
I do not know if today was his best game or not until we go back and look at the film and grade it. Sometimes you see the big plays, the key plays so you assume that he had one heck of a game. So you had 65 snaps, he gets graded on all 65. So you make some big plays, make some great plays, and some plays that he could have done better on, so I can't say today was his best game until I look at the film. He certainly makes big plays, he is a great football player, a joy to coach and brings a real spark to our football team and always does his best. That is what is really fun about coaching a guy like Ricardo Allen. He is a really good football player too and that makes it even more fun coaching him.

On big plays in today's game...
We manufactured some big plays today because our quarterback was able to throw the ball a little bit better today. We have not been able to pass the football with consistency since the Ohio State game. But we had a guy that can throw the ball some today and we're able to manufacture some big plays. The last two or three games coming up to today's game we had some plans to manufacture big plays but they weren't all deep passes down the field because we have been handcuffed from a passing standpoint. It was good to be able to pass the ball better today we are still a ways away. I am really proud of Rob Henry.

On Rob Henry's interception...
I am not sure exactly what happened on that, I am not sure if it was a receiver or a broken route or Rob Henry trying to throw it away or we had a miscue. It was a busted assignment somewhere. It was a miscue of some kind.

On the way the game ended...
I do not think we have to come up with an excuse why we were not able to win. We played a really good football team; they were three or four touchdown favorite and we played them right down to the wire. So I would not look at it as not being able to close out the game that would indicate some type of defective character. I do not believe this team has any defects of character; we were shorthanded from a firepower standpoint. I do not think it was an inability to close.

Purdue Junior Kicker Carson Wiggs

On the 52-yard field goal...
Pregame I couldn't hit it that way because of the wind. But it had to be a real good kick, everything was perfect, snap, hold, everything. Felt good to hit a long field goal, like it does every time, but putting the opponent down two scores with a couple minutes left, that's the best feeling.

On the blocked punt...
I know they brought a ton of pressure on the left side. To me it looked like they jumped over the wall, pretty athletic play I'd say.

On being knocked out of bowl eligibility...
The locker room is a little more down than usual cause we know we are out. We fought our butts off, I thought we played well and just didn't finish as well as we're supposed to.

Purdue Senior Defensive End Ryan Kerrigan

Being knocked out of bowl eligibility...
It's kind of unbelievable. You start out 4-2 and to not go to postseason play is kind of disheartening especially when you're a senior to have that happen.

On losing two years in a row to Michigan State...
Yeah it really is (tough to take). This is the second year in a row we've had them on the ropes and been one play away from putting the game away and not able to do it. So that makes it a little more disheartening.

On the 15 point lead in the fourth quarter...
We try not to pay attention to the scoreboard at that point. Coach kept saying just don't look at the scoreboard, keep playing, and everything will take care of itself.

On the defense having to start with a short field...
That's football, we have to respond to that and we didn't do that. I missed a tackle on the Cousins touchdown, and that can't happen. I can't let that happen. We have to respond better and make better plays whether we're in good situations or bad situations.

On the play of cornerback Ricardo Allen...
He's a great teammate. He's a guy that came in last summer and wanted to work right away and wanted to be a starter. He's one of the best players on our team and has a pretty bright future ahead of him. For him to get one (interception return for a touchdown) last week, and get one this week, that's huge for us.

Purdue Freshman Cornerback Ricardo Allen

On his first interception...
We knew that they run a lot of slants, so we had it planned. Coaches told me to go inside, look at the quarterback, and he'll come right to you.

On the fourth quarter of the game...
We fought all night, they got the momentum at the end. You know they're a great team, and they finished. We need to finish better.

On his individual performance...
I always say the sky is the limit. I never take what I did (in the game) as a plus. I always try to get better every week.

On Michigan State's success in the fourth quarter...
They didn't make too many mistakes. They ran their routes crisp, they blocked, and they caught the ball.