Michigan State 42, Eastern Michigan 10
 
 
 

 

 
 

Sept. 6, 2008

Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening Statement ...
First of all, I'm excited about the win. I thought Eastern, as I said earlier, is a well-coached football team. The main focus for us today had to be to come out and try to execute, to play very physical, and that was the MO as we came out. That was what we tried to do. I thought in the first half we let some points up when we got down there and made the fumble. We went into the half up 21-7, made the decision to play [freshman quarterback Kirk] Cousins at 14-7, and we had that decision made prior to even coming into the game. I felt like we needed to get some experience for him, so we did that. I thought he played well. I thought [senior quarterback Brian] Hoyer was sharp - no interceptions, maybe one miscue on the fumble, but that was it. In the second half we played much better, and I felt like we dominated the second half.


The basic idea that we had coming into the game to win was three things - we had to be good on turnover margin, (which we were minus one on that), but our attitude had to show through. Our attitude was toughness, and that was the focus. On special teams, [senior safety] Otis Wiley had a career day on punt returns, I thought [senior running back] Javon Ringer did some great things on kick returns. We ran Javon - his 34 rushes were a career high, with 138 yards, and [freshman running back] Andre Anderson got some action, too. [Sophomore wide receiver Mark] Dell made some nice catches, [freshman wide receiver B.J.] Cunningham made a nice catch, so we got a lot of people involved, especially in the fourth quarter. I'm excited for the win, and we need to get ourselves prepared for Florida Atlantic.

On getting young players involved...
There's nothing that can substitute for game experience. We had that level of emotion going on out there, and execution, and accountability. When you're accountable on a football field on game day and it's a packed stadium, that makes it a little more special, and you can't substitute that. There's no way you can.

 

 


[Freshman wide receiver] Keshawn Martin played, and I can't remember all the young players that played, in the fourth quarter there were quite a few, and that was by design. It's a team win when you can do that, so we're excited about that.

On the team's lack of penalties...
The focus was no penalties. We had one miscue with the two people in motion when we were trying to convert on third down, but I can't remember a hold or a pass interference out there. I thought we played pretty well in that area, considering that some penalties are unforced, and some are forced, so we felt good about that. Our guys came to play - they were focused, the attitude was great, and those are the things I'm most impressed with. As a football coach, you want your players to come out and do the best they can do, and I think that's what our guys did.

On Javon Ringer's number of carries...
He can rest for six days. He's the kind of player who wants the football. But the other guys are making plays. Andre Anderson you saw make some plays out there, and [freshman running back] Ashton Leggett got a touchdown, and I thought [junior running back] A.J. Jimmerson got involved as well a little bit. We thought we needed to make a statement with running the football, just in terms of saying, `we're going to run it.'

Eastern Michigan Head Coach Jeff Genyk

On missing the fake field goal in the third quarter ...
Their defense, in the past, had really allowed that fake to look pretty good. So we really felt we had a high percentage to make that fake. It may have been a little aggressive to go for four yards instead of just a couple, but I really felt like once we had the option play called back, we needed to find a way to get seven points. It was an aggressive call, obviously we are coaching to win the football game, and so we needed to try for seven points at that time.

On Michigan State's defense ...
Michigan State's defense is very athletic. There were a number of plays that normally we would have made but immediately there was a Spartan defender in our way. I think that was challenging for our receivers but I think Andy (Schmitt) had a good day. I think he really had control over his emotions except for one play and he did a nice job for us.

On what the Eagles got out of the loss ...
In order to win this game we had to execute at a high level. I thought that for the majority of the game we did execute, but whether or not we took it to that level is a different story. I really believe that it gets our players to know how hard they have to play and the effort it takes to win a game like this.

On stopping the Michigan State offense ...
We really focused on trying to stop Javon Ringer and the inside running plays. The linebackers did a really good job of leading when the guards were pulling so that we could make those tackles.

Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell

Opening statement ...
This was a game in which we really challenged our offensive front. Certain players responded very well today. We had a very good week of practice, just in terms of tempo. Guys weren't hanging their head after last week's game and you could just see the determination in members of the offensive line. We were very pleased with how they performed today. Those drives that we had, especially with rushing the football, can be attributed to those guys up front. The other thing that stood out for me was Otis Wiley, who just did a tremendous job on returns and I expect him to keep getting better and better. We continue to look for ways to get Javon Ringer the ball and we want to make sure we continue to establish some things there. Mark Dell continues to open himself up a little bit and distinguish himself. It was just very well-rounded.

On the performance of young players...
It's always a bonus as you go through. At certain positions, players would be playing anyway and it doesn't matter that it was Eastern Michigan. Fred Smith and Keshawn Martin had already been in the mix at Cal, so we're just going to continue to roll them in the process more and more. There were a few guys up front who played quite a bit. Guys are holding their own and getting opportunities to show what they can do.

On the play of Kirk Cousins...
We planned on getting him in early in the game. It was a focus of ours. Regardless, we wanted to get him in there in the second quarter. We wanted to get his feet wet no matter what the situation was. He performed very well and we were very pleased.

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi

Opening statements...
It was a solid performance defensively, but we still have a long way to go. We gave up a big run where we had some guys get chopped down. I thought we did a nice job with the run game, outside of that. I think our kids played hard and with more focus. We talked all week about playing 60 minutes, making sure not to have a good series and then having a breakdown here and there. We really focused on being focused every snap. You have to give Eastern Michigan credit because they are a good football team and they did some great things offensively.

On the impact of Eastern Michigan's missed field goal...
That was huge. I'm glad they didn't kick it, to be honest with you. We were waiting for a fake. We just played big defense on fourth down.

On the play of the linebackers...
We're probably rotating four or five guys in there. We're still young. Greg Jones is a guy who is a very talented player, but needs to continue to focus on playing 60 minutes. Eric Gordon had a very good game for us today at outside linebacker coming off a sub-par performance last week.

On the pass rush...
We'll have to go back and look why we aren't getting more. We didn't blitz very often today. We thought maybe we'd get more pressure and we didn't get as much as I'd like. They did a good job of getting the ball out on time.

Michigan State Senior Right Guard Roland Martin

On running the ball so frequently ...
It gets you excited because you get to go out there more and more and hit somebody. You just keep pounding them and you know that [the defense] has to be sore. We had the ball a lot so we just kept pounding them and pounding them. We like to go out there, run the ball and run the Michigan State offense.

On the play of redshirt freshman Joel Martin...
He's a redshirt freshman stepping in and that's a big role he's stepping into. I think he stepped his game up a bit and got some experience under his belt.

On the performance of the offensive line...
We try to be a physical offensive line and we put an emphasis on running the ball this week. We weren't real excited with our performance last week so we were excited to get out there today and run the ball well.

Michigan State Junior Free Safety Danny Fortener

On the defense starting strong...
The first couple of series the defense went three-and-out so that really gets you pumped up. It's just about having fun out there and flying around. We had a good game plan coming in and we had a great week of practice preparing for [Eastern Michigan]. I think we did a really good job on third downs.

On playing in the home opener in Spartan Stadium...
The first play out there I looked around and all of the people so that was pretty exciting. Then I had to get back to reality, have fun and just play football.

Michigan State Senior Quarterback Brian Hoyer

Opening statement ...
The biggest thing from our offense today was our o-line. They pounded up front all day and Javon (Ringer) had a great day. It's always good to bounce back with a big win at home.

On the team's game plan to rush the ball ...
That was our goal; we wanted to send a message. After last week we were a little disappointed in our running game and we wanted to come out and establish that today and I think we did an amazing job. The o-line was getting off the ball and Javon and Andre [Anderson] were making some good cuts. When a good thing is working, you're not going to change it so we just kept pounding it and the o-line did a great job.

The effect of electing to take the ball to start the game...
Anytime your coach tells you we're taking the ball, you have to be pumped up about it. It shows a lot of confidence in us. Like I said before, we wanted to establish the run, especially after last week.

On Javon Ringer's performance ...
Javon never gets tired - he's a freak. He's in great shape and he's very dedicated. He had five touchdowns but I know the thing that is going to stay in his mind the most - the fumble. That's just the type of player he is; he's very determined. It starts with the o-line and those guys did a great job.

Michigan State Freshman Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On completing his first collegiate pass...
It was a monkey off of my back. It felt really good and was a big relief. Not a lot went through my mind, I was just trying to complete the pass. It was fun to go in there early in the game as opposed to mop-up duty because you are still in a battle. So, I thought it was a good day for everybody all around.

On when he found out he was going to play ...
The coaches told me if I practiced well that I would have a chance to get in the game earlier so I just really focused this week at practice. They didn't tell me last night but today during the game today they told me when the defense goes out on the field to stay loose and stay warm just in case. The situation called for it and it worked out.

Michigan State Junior Defensive End Trevor Anderson,br>

On the performance of the defense ...
I think we did pretty well. We came in with a good game plan and that was to get after the quarterback. I think we did a good job against their spread offense. They do a lot of quick steps, not too many five-step drops. I think we did a pretty good job of getting to him [quarterback Andy Schmitt].


We had a set game plan for them and they played right into what we thought they were going to do. We thought they were going to have some wrinkles in there but they didn't have as many as we expected. We go exactly what we expected from them.

Senior Running Back Javon Ringer

On his five-touchdown performance ...

All the credit goes to my offensive line. I really did not take that much of a pounding at all, for as many carries as I had I feel pretty good right now.

On being able to carry the ball this many times a game ...

I can only speak for the present, but right now I feel pretty good - I'm ready for the next game. I know that in order for me to do what I have to be able to do, it has to come from the people up front. The offensive line is the most important piece of the offense, not me, not Hoyer, not our receivers. As long as our line is dominant we should have a lot of success.

On knowing he was one carry away from tying the MSU single-game rushing touchdown record ...

They told me on the sidelines sometime in the third quarter. I wasn't really thinking "I've got to get that sixth touchdown." That fumble is nagging at me. I thank God so much for this win and my performance but, I promise you, (I'm not really enjoying this because) the only thing I'm thinking about is the fumble.

Michigan State Redshirt Freshman Running Back Andre Anderson

On his playing time and workload in today's game...
It was exciting - I really didn't know going in to the game much about when I was going in, but I just keep going to practice and working hard. I was surprised coach called my name that early in the game. I thought you know, maybe if we got a big enough lead I'd go in, but I didn't know I'd go in that early.

One the importance of having that kind of work load for this year and next year...
I think it's definitely important for the team because it's kind of hard with Javon having 30 some- odd carries a game. It'd be hard for anyone to have 30 some- odd carries a game, so to be able to just go in and give him a little breather, get the ball one or two times, get a couple blocks in here and there and then let him get back in and contribute.

On proving himself as the number two running back after today's game...
Hopefully I did, the coach felt confident putting me kind of early in the game, and I went in there and I contributed to the team and got a couple yards and a couple positive gains. Hopefully this game will show him that I'm ready to go in, and able to go in, knowing my plays and everything I need to know go to not miss a beat when Javon comes out. That I am able go in and maybe keep the offense rolling. Going into the next game, all I can do is go into practice like I did this week and try and learn the plays and the defense and get out on that field and give 100 pecent for our practice days. Hopefully it will pay off like it did this week.

Michigan State Sophomore Linebacker Greg Jones

On Andy Schmitt, Eastern Michigan's quarterback...
I think he was very mobile and him being able to run was a big threat. I don't think his passing game was as big a threat, but he was very mobile and able to make plays with his feet. I think we did pretty well on being able to contain that. They were throwing double passes and things like that, so we had to make them do some adjusting too. I think we did pretty well.

On what it felt like waking up this morning the day of the home opener...
I like early games so I think that was just a great feel. Being able to wake up and come out seeing all the fans here. We are really excited about it - we love the fans and think they are doing a great job this year and that they will keep that going.

Eastern Michigan Senior Linebacker Daniel Holtzclaw

On playing against a strong line and running back Javon Ringer...
Their offensive coordinators are doing a good job with personnel. I think he's a great running back, he keeps you running with his feet and with contact. He did a good job out there, he's one quick, shifty back and I give props to the offensive line.

On playing Indiana State and Michigan State a week apart...
Obviously a Division I-AA team, a powerhouse Big Ten team, there's a lot of difference there. Personnel-wise, they are a lot bigger, faster, and stronger. I think we did a good job and I figure we just have to look towards Toledo.

On being as prepared as possible for Michigan State...
I think definitely we were prepared. It just comes down to execution, that's all I can say.

On his personal play...
I just give my credit to the linemen and all my ten other guys out there on the field. Personally, I've had a hard game, I think I could always do better, I take my hat off to the ten other guys out on the field.

Eastern Michigan Junior Quarterback Andy Schmitt

On Michigan State's defense...
It's a good defense, very good defense, one of the better ones I've seen in my career. They just moved around the ball today, you know they were attacking pretty well. A little field position game, and we just dug ourselves in a hole on first down - we didn't see a lot of production on first down. Second- and-long, third-and-long, it's kind of hard as an offense to move the ball. We basically just have to execute a little better on first down, and that will make the job for us a little easier.

On starting from rough field position throughout the game...
It's tough you know - it's hard to open up a lot of things when the ball is on the three and you are coming out. It's hard to get into your offense when you are down at your own goal line like that. It would have been nice to have a little better field position, but you know, it didn't happen that way. We just have to execute when we have the ball down there and make a run at it.

On preparations for next week's game...
I just think we have to go out there a play a little better, make some plays. I thought we played well today and made some good plays out there. We just have to go out there and keep doing what we do and get ready for Toledo.