MSU Spartans
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Penn State 42, MIchigan State 14
 
 
 

 

 
 

Nov. 21, 2009

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Michigan State Football Post-Game Quotes

MSU vs. Penn State Saturday, N ov. 21, 2009

Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement...
Right now what we have to do is regroup and understand that we are going to have the opportunity to go play in a bowl game, which is a positive. We have the opportunity to regroup and get ourselves ready to go even though there were some disappointing things in this football game - but I think we have competed very well throughout this season. I also thought we did that last year as well, and we ran into the same thing last year.

We took a step forward I guess by having it tie at halftime, but the end of the game is the bottom line. We play a game for 60 minutes and we didn't get it done tonight. When you look at why, it starts with the head coach first of all, and then runs down to the assistant coaches. We have to ask ourselves if we did the right things schematically offensively, defensively and on special teams. That would be number one, and two would be asking ourselves what we did during the game in terms of calls and making decisions. The third thing is execution because we have to be able to execute out on the football field.

I said before, that emotions are very important in this game, and when you think you can you probably can. But all the sudden when it feels like a wave is rolling over your shoulder and things get tough to do out there, it becomes harder. This was a game of confidence, and you have to credit Penn State because they are an excellent football team - and an excellent defensive football team because they tackle very effectively, play the ball in the deep part of the field, and get pressure with four players. When those things happen it puts you behind the ball a little bit and you have to find away to work your way out of there.

In the first half we had a couple drives down the field and across the field but we didn't score any points. [Penn State] had a couple of drives and chances on field goals, but they didn't get any points either. I thought it evened up there, but then they had one drive and we were able to answer it. The first half was pretty much even, but in the second half for whatever reason we could not capture the momentum back after the two scores. You have to play with momentum and enthusiasm otherwise things can always get worse and I think that's what you saw tonight.

I don't know if it was what we were doing out there as it what how we were doing it. We had some dropped passes and a couple picks but I thought we ran the ball okay in the first half and have a couple big runs. IN the second half however that's where it disappeared with the situation being the way it was. I thought our defense played well in the first half all the way until the last series. From there things started to spiral out of control in the third quarter.

On the plan for practices in preparation for the bowl game...
The first thing that bowl practices do is reward your football season, and it's an opportunity to go some place with your football family and play a team that is from out of your conference. The second thing I think you do is allow your younger players and the ones that were red-shirted extra opportunities to get better. You work with them a little bit more and you try and develop them to give them a springboard before spring practice.

You also get yourself healthy and we will get Rod Jenrette back, which will help us. You get yourself healthy a little bit with the players that have been knocked around and dinged a little bit a chance to get back. You overall critique your whole program in terms of what you are doing on the field and can find say `Hey should we change this, or do this,' because you do have time to do some of those things. You can't change it all but you do have time to tweak some things.

On this season sending a message to the underclassmen...
I think if you want to be the best you have to play against the best, and you have to play well. Penn State or Iowa is probably going to go to a BCS bowl game and we had the opportunity to beat Iowa and we come up short. Then we have the opportunity to play against a great Penn State team, and we are in the game and we come up short again. In some ways you can look at that and say we are right there, but in other cases we are (much farther away). Somewhere the truth lies in between, and you take the fact that this will be our third bowl game in three years as success and a sign that the program is moving forward - and build on that. We have to have a good recruiting class and you have to continue to build your program.

On now turning the concentration to winning their first bowl game since 2001...
We had a disappointed locker room because we all had high expectations and after last year I thought we were over the hump a little bit. We were in the game and we're right there so we have a disappointed football team. I had to go from one interview to the next so I didn't hear what they had to say, but it was a pretty quiet locker room, as you would expect.

Our guys will compete and I think we have proven that, and the thing about football is you get a chance to get back up after you have been knocked down and we will do that. We have the banquet tomorrow and you have to think about that and know life's not fair. We will put a tie on tomorrow though and go to the banquet and celebrate together but also mourn together too. The healing will begin tomorrow and that's what you have to do.

On living up to the higher expectations that were set at the beginning of the season...
It was so close in certain games and we lost some close games, but I don't know if that is necessarily the situation as opposed to making plays at the end of the game. Calling the right plays at the end of the game goes along with that as well. It's not all the players or all the coaches, but when you get into something like this I wish we could have come in here and talk to you guys about a win or a close loss as much as I hate to say that. They all count so the big thing we have to do is rebound from it - if it was a one-point loss at the end in the last second can be just as disappointing and just as devastating.

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi

Opening comments...
Defensively overall, we played a good first half but it's a 60-minute game. We didn't play well enough in the second half to get it done. We had a chance and just didn't make plays when we needed to. I feel bad for our seniors, who played their tails off. Our kids played their tails off. We never, ever question their effort. That's the most important thing: effort.

On what the extra practice will mean for the team...
Anytime we get extra practice it's going to be beneficial to everybody. We just have to get better.

On Penn State's effort...
That's a good football team, give them a lot of credit. They won up front in the run game. They are physical and they are where they are for a reason.

On the speed with which Penn State scored in the third quarter...
It did happen fast. They were some short fields, whether it's turnovers or the punt game. We just didn't get it done defensively. We didn't get off the field. They made plays and we didn't.

Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell

Opening comments...
Certainly our hats are off to Penn State. They are a very good football team and we knew that coming in, it was not a surprise. Certainly when you are playing a team like that, from an offensive perspective, you need to be hitting on all cylinders. We certainly weren't doing that tonight. There isn't really an answer as to why not, because those things a little bit more subjective and we have to go back through the film.

It was disappointing. You'd like to go down against a very good team knowing you played your best, offensively speaking. We did not do that tonight, so that's something we need to evaluate and find out what were the breakdowns. We need to be able to answer the bell and put points up on a team that is a very good team. It's a 60-minute game and you have to have that mindset and that type of intensity to play and make those plays at those times.

We'll continue to dwell on the positives of what we did. I thought we were able to get a little bit of momentum going running the ball in the first half. That's a positive we have to continue to move forward with. We can't afford, especially against good teams, to go three-and-out. I don't know how many we had, but those are the things that you want to work against. Turnovers also always decrease your opportunities for good things to happen. Those are things that are correctable and all those things start with us, as coaches. We love our kids to death and we are going to coach them up and if we're fortunate enough to play in a bowl game then we'll have them ready.

On rushing the ball more than passing...
That's something you look back on after the fact. Sometimes you're in the flow of it and going with what you feel is there. One of the thoughts against Penn State is that you want to try and keep the chains moving. Sometimes passes are passes, but it's always a little bit more high-risk. At certain times if you're running the ball decently, which we were at times, you feel pretty good. We did get stubbed a couple of times there. Sometimes it's just because they are a good team, sometimes it may have been a miscue on our part and those are the things we have to correct.

On Kirk Cousins forcing passes...
I'm sure he may have been trying to make a play. They do that at times. He's made some and we made one at the end of the game. That was basically a broken play. Sometimes that can happen, but I can't speak for the young man. We just coach them as hard as we can and try to put him in good situations. Protection-wise, we knew there were some guys that could get after you. I think we had a couple of drops here and there and that's uncharacteristic of us at this point because we had gotten so much better on that. Those are things we are going to continue to work on and try to put our guys in good situations to do the best that they can with the best effort they can give.

On Cousins making uncharacteristic mistakes...
On those, he we going to the right guy. Some of it may have been receivers not getting to the spots we'd like them to as well as they could.

Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno

On what he told his team at halftime...
I didn't say anything, I said let's go. I thought we played fairly well. I thought we were hustling and hitting, I didn't think there was anything to give them any kind of thought. I told them Friday night, I said we've got to go out and play a sixty-minute football game, show people we're a pretty good team. So I just said "remember what I told you last night."

On if the shorter passes in the first half helped to set up the bigger plays in the second half...
We had trouble with some pass protection early, once we had a couple things where we could move some people around and the blitzes, we felt we could beat them deep. The receivers, we had time, and they're pretty good. Of course Clark had a good game.

On Daryll Clark's third quarter performance...
He struggled a little bit until we got some things pinpointed, he was fine; he's been fine all year. The kid has lost what, four games in two years? He's a darnn good quarterback.

On what Clark's personality is like during the game...
You'd have to ask him that. I think he's pretty good [during games], he's around trying to cheer people up, patting people on the back. He'll come over every once in a while and ask me something...
He just wants to be active in everything that goes on out there, which I think is good.

On how long they had been practicing the Curtis Drake touchdown play...
About three days. We just wanted to start to use Drake a little bit, so we put that in this week.

On if he believes his team has done enough to play in a BCS bowl game...
You know, I don't even know who makes up the BCS, who's involved in it or whatever. We're a good football team. Are we better than X, Y and Z? I don't know, obviously I think we could play with anybody, outside of that horrible first half against Southern Cal when we were sitting on our hands. We've played pretty good football, and I think we're a good football team. I think we can play with anybody. Now whether somebody is going to take us or not in a BCS bowl, I don't have any control over that.

On what he would say to help get his team into a BCS bowl...
What do you want me to say? Pick us! Pick us! What else can I say? I appreciate everybody wanting to know, and if I could get on the phone and call some people and say you owe me, or if not you better watch out there might be a horses head in your bed.

On whether he thinks the college football postseason determination process is fair...
Please, don't get me into all of the ethics of college football every time I get up here. We're playing, we won, I'm pleased the kids played hard. We had a tough time out here, Michigan State's team came out and they went at it. I'm just happy for [our players] and I hope they get the kind of game that they'll be excited about.

On how his team stays on the national scene over these last few weeks when they aren't playing...
I don't know, it's almost impossible. There's so many big games coming up around the country. What do you do? I could jump off the roof of my house, I don't think there's any way to do it until we change the format of the scheduling in the Big Ten. Or as I've tried to say several times, add a twelfth team and have a division championship.

On how easily his team won this game...
I think in all fairness to Michigan State, they made a couple mistakes and boom, boom, we were like that. And then they start to get a little out of character, they had to get out of character playing catch up. Each game has a little personality of its own. We've had a lot of tough games here. I was out here in '54 when Biggie Munn was the head football coach and Duffy Daughtery was assistant coach and we got beaten by about five touchdowns. I came out here in '65...
they ended up beating us about 44-7. And after the game Duffy put his arm around me and said "Hey, you're going to be O.K. I lost five games my first year as a head coach. You'll be all right." And I said "Thanks Doc." You know, I've got good memories of good friends. George Perles was a good friend.

On if tonight's game was the best performance by his team all year...
Yeah I think we did a better job outside of the field goal kicking. I think the kicking game was good, I think we covered better, we didn't kick it around. What, did we have two-three penalties? We played a really good solid football game, most aspects of it. There's one or two things obviously we could have done better.

MSU Senior Wide Receiver Blair White

On the game...
I really have no answers for you. I felt like we had intensity in the game, we were 7-7 at half time, I'm just not sure what happened.

On whether or not he thinks Penn State was simply a better team...
Penn State is always going to be a good team. We weren't ready to play the second half, the third quarter in particular. They're obviously a good team; they have good, if not better players then we do, but with our game plan we should be able to play with anyone.

On what they will do with the down time until bowl games are announced...
I think the holiday break will be good for us, just to get away for a second and come back and work and fight back like we always do.

On him commenting that they weren't ready for the third quarter...
By what happened on the score board, that's at least a half way good analysis, the turnovers don't help. Just plays where we can help ourselves. We just weren't ready to play for whatever reason in the third quarter.

On how far away he thinks MSU is from being consistently good...
We're close, 6-6 doesn't show it, but the players we have are good players and the character gets better every year and I think that's one of the most important things. They just have to keep fighting, and they'll be there. They'll be there shortly.

On if the thought of a bowl game eases the sting of this loss...
Maybe a little bit. Playing in late December or early January is always positive, but what can I say, we just lost similarly to last year.

On whether there was any residual from last year's lost...
I don't think so, I really don't. We've played with everyone this year and Penn State lost to Iowa and Penn State lost to whoever else, they're beatable so it's on us.

On the emotion of playing his last game at MSU...
Well before the game it was pretty emotional, but I tried to stay focused on the game and what we had to do, but it's tough to leave Spartan Stadium this way. The fans are great, and they always have been and we appreciate that.

MSU Sophomore Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On how disappointing this loss is...
It's disappointing, obviously we've worked very hard and you expect to come out and play well. We did that in the first half, and obviously didn't finish in the second half, so very disappointing.

On his leadership growth over the season...
Yeah, obviously every time you're out there you develop more and more. That was a play when I took a down and was able to make a first down. I was just excited, I wanted to will this team to a victory and I thought maybe by doing that it would help get the emotions going, football is an emotional game. I thought maybe I could inspire some guys, but we didn't do enough.

On how he would state his case about why MSU should go to a bowl game...
I feel like we have played everyone tough, every game has been a hard-fought game at some point and I feel like we have played with a lot of character and toughness, and I felt like we played a tough schedule. I feel like we've played quality opponents and against those opponents we've played well for the most part.

On his two interceptions...
Yeah, I made poor decisions on both of them. I can't do that, it cost the football team and when you get in a little bit of a catch up mode because you're doing three-and-outs and then they get ahead by a couple of touchdowns. Instead of just staying patient and letting the game still come to me, I just tried to do too much to try and get it back so fast that I was trying to make plays where there weren't plays there to be made. The one that I threw over the middle deep, I believe that was the first one, I needed to tuck it down and run it there. That was a first down, probably had a good 10 or 15 yard gain there if I had just run the ball. The second one, there was a little bit of miscommunication between the receiver and I and it resulted in an interception.

On the comparison of the halftime versus Purdue and the halftime today...
I don't know if there was anything that attributed to what happened at halftime. I think that we understood what we were doing in the first half, felt like there were plays to be made out there and we were just saying that "we're doing fine, we're playing good football, we're going to be just fine, just keep it up". I felt like everybody was on the same page at halftime, and I don't think there was anything at half time that took us south, it just obviously didn't happen in the second half.

On the defense during the first half...
I felt like they were taking what they gave to us, offensively, that's a good defense, probably the best defense we've played and we were taking what they were giving us, obviously there were some plays there that I missed, that I'd like to have back, but we were doing what we could in the first half and obviously we didn't in the second half.

On what it will take for a young team next year...
It's going to take hard work and toughness, and that's all I know how to do. I understand as a football player what you have to do, so I just go back to the drawing board tomorrow and watch the film and work my tail off. We were sitting in the quarterback room yesterday, and looked at the wall in the quarterback room and the wall says winning quarterbacks, and there are only five I believe in the history of Michigan State. I'm going to take it upon myself to be that sixth name.

On how he would convince the bowl scout to choose MSU...
I would just say look at the way we've played, the teams we've played, and the way we've played them. Just follow our season and if you don't think we're deserving, that's fine, but I would have to disagree.

Michigan State Senior Safety Danny Fortener

On not being ready to start the third quarter...
We made adjustments and obviously Penn State made some better adjustments. We just have to find a way to make plays out there.

On how frustrated he is after the loss...
I'm not really frustrated, I'm more disappointed with how things ended today. I've had a good career here and I'm happy with what I've done and with what we've done and where we've brought the program.

On the loss being more disappointing since they felt like they owed Penn State a game...
Yes, we really wanted to get that seventh win. We'll learn from this, the younger guys on the team will learn and we'll come back strong.

On how he describes the third quarter...
It all kind of happened so fast. We didn't start off with very good field position. They ran some trick plays and executed them. It all happened really quickly.

On how the team plans to build confidence between now and the bowl game...
You have to take the positives out of it. You have to throw away all the bad stuff that happened and just look at the positives.

On having some relief in knowing he they will extend their season...
A lot of guys were sad after the game and I said `we still have another game.'

On how frustrating it is in game 12 of the season that opponents are still getting wide open...
It's frustrating but that is the game of football, things happen like that. We just have to make plays. We have to be in the right position. They were doing the exact same things the coaches showed us in practice, we just have to execute.

Michigan State Senior Center Joel Nitchman

On the disappointment of losing his last home game...
It's a big disappointment right now. You never want to lose to a rival like that. At the same time, we are going to try and take as many positives out of this as we can by breaking down the film. We have to get ready for a bowl game. We are very fortunate in that aspect that we have another game left.

On taking more time before the game to take in the atmosphere...
I always do that but today before the game, I noticed things a little bit more.

On being encouraged about the future with the number of underclassmen on the team even after a loss like today'...
We have so much depth coming back with the young guys. Whether it is the young backs or the young offensive linemen, we are going to try and take as many positives out of this gameas we can. I think we can go to a bowl game and really start to build for these younger guys.

Michigan State Senior Linebacker Brandon Denson

On the senior parents getting to spend a day with their sons...
It is fun and exciting and sad all at once. It meant so much more to me and my family to have them out there. I think was just a wonderful experience.

On getting to have their parents walk with the team to the Stadium ...
Not everybody gets that chance to do that. They got to see exactly what we do before every game. It's a Spartan tradition and I know they loved it just like I loved it.

On it being hard to take off his uniform after his last home game...
It was because we didn't come out and get the win like we wanted to. We have a bowl game we're going to now and regardless of where we play, we're going to have a fun time.

On the performance of the defense in the first half...
I think we were just clicking. Special teams and offense were both getting it going. We came out in the second half and they had a couple trick plays and we turned

Penn State Senior Linebacker Josh Hull

On how good this win is going into bowl season...
It was really important to end the season the way we did. And we're going to have week off and take some time to enjoy and then come back and then it's time to get back to hard work.

On if this was the best they've played all year...
Yeah, I think both the offense and defense in both aspects of the game, in the second half, was huge for us today.

On what they talked about at half time...
Just to be patient and relax. Maybe we played a little tight in the first half. Keep making some plays and let the victory take care of itself.

Penn State Junior Wide Receiver Graham Zug

On his drop...
I mean, once you have a drop you always have to rebound from it. You have to make the play.

On quarterback Daryll Clark's game...
You know he did a great job today. He's been a great leader all season. He's been a great quarterback for us.

On what it is about Michigan State that makes them come out like they did...
It's just about having fun out there with the guys. We were able to come together as a unit in the second half to finally finish our drives.

On if they needed this performance...
Absolutely. We needed to be 10-2 and not 9-3. We wanted to be 10-2 and that's what we did.

Penn State Senior Quarterback Daryll Clark

On if anger helps him in his performance...
It can but I can't go out and play angry as a quarterback. If you sit there and get upset over what you did, and you think `Oh I'm so mad I'm going to go throw this pass and throw that pass,' and then they're going to end up not being there. You end up turning the ball over more. So we wanted to make sure that that didn't happen today.

On why he looked jacked up on the sideline...
Well this is a big game. And there were a lot of opportunities we had to score points in the first half and when we have those, we have to take advantage of those. When we don't, it's kind of frustrating.

On if he was frustrated...
I was a little frustrated, yes. But I knew, it's kind of like last week. We were hurting ourselves. There were things that we could have done out there and just go out and execute and we just failed to do it in the first half.

On if he wanted to go for the 4th down late in the second quarter...
Yeah, I did. But you know, I knew eventually we were going to get our second shot in the second half

 

 

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