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Player Quotes: Ohio State

Nov. 8, 2017

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Several Michigan State players met with the media on Tuesday to preview this Saturday’s game at No. 13 Ohio State.

No. 12 Michigan State travels to No. 13 Ohio State on Saturday, Nov. 11 in a battle for first place in the Big Ten East Division. The game will be nationally televised on FOX beginning at noon.

Both the Spartans and Buckeyes stand at 5-1 in the conference standings with three games left to play in the regular season. MSU improved to 7-2 overall with a thrilling 27-24 win over No. 7 Penn State last Saturday in Spartan Stadium, as Matt Coghlin hit a 34-yard field goal on the last play of regulation, while OSU lost its first Big Ten game with a 55-24 loss at Iowa.

Sophomore linebacker Joe Bachie

On what stands out on film about Ohio State…
They look the part. They’ve got the big o-line, they’ve got talent on the outside, obviously some good running backs. J.T. Barrett has been there for a while, he’s going to command the field, he’s going to manage the field. We’ve got to be a smart team, we’ve got to execute our job and that’s going to give us our best chance.

On his recruiting process and Ohio players on Michigan State’s team…
Coach Bollman, when he came to recruit me, he talked a little bit about it. I just knew the team from looking up the roster and stuff and hearing about it – a bunch of Ohio guys are going there and this is a special place to me, Michigan State is, they take shots on guys and a lot of the guys are from Ohio.

On being the Big Ten’s best running defense…
That’s what we preach. Confidence is growing. With a young team you’ve got to learn a lot. Now 10 weeks in or whatever, 11 weeks in, we’re not young anymore, we’ve got to go. We got our experience and now it’s the championship month and we have got to go out there and contend.

 

 

Junior linebacker Andrew Dowell

On playing in his home state this weekend…
It’s definitely a game all of us Ohio guys get hyped up for. It’s a great opportunity and then it’s got the double meaning in this game for us; we can elevate, put us in a really good position to get ourselves to the Big Ten Championship. We look at it as a must-win and we really look forward to getting after it.

On the valuable experience of playing at Ohio State his freshman year…
It was great. I was able to tell some of the younger guys, especially some of the young guys from Ohio, what the atmosphere will be like. Just stay locked in, can’t get awestruck by different things. It was great for my personal development and me helping the younger guys and telling them what to expect.

On his past experiences at Ohio State…
I’m actually 2-0 in The Horseshoe. Played there in the state championship my senior year in football and went down there my freshman year.

On J.T. Barrett…
He’s a dual-threat guy. He can run it, they set draws up well and he manages the game well, too. Besides last game, he usually doesn’t turn the ball over too much. He’s got good ball control. He’s their guy.

On what Ohio State’s two running back’s bring…
Really good backs. (J.K.) Dobbins is coming along well. He’s a good jump-cut runner. (Mike) Weber is really strong, breaks tackles well. They’ve got a nice two combo set and we got to get after those guys.

Sophomore safety David Dowell

On what he’s changed this year to improve his game…
It’s not necessarily secret stuff, just playing different, like you said, inside or outside technique. Just being able to recognize when they’re in certain formations and stuff like that and knowing what types of plays they’re going to run out of those formations.

On Andrew (Dowell) rerouting players to the outside during the last game…
Yeah I think I know what you’re talking about. That was something… They kept running the over-route, usually like a slant or like a deep-post. He was able to help me on that because we kind of knew it was coming. Like what I said, one of the adjustments we made.

On making an adjustment with Andrew (Dowell) right before his first interception…
It was really just… He plays inside of me, so having him as an inside presence just to be able to help on some of those inside routes.

On the next step to getting better after playing against two good passing attacks…
I would say, be even better on our technique, be more consistent. Me personally, sometimes I’ll be good at my technique and sometimes I’ll waiver on my technique. I know that also for our corners, too, being able to adjust mid-game as well. When you see they’re doing different things, being able to adjust to it and make plays.

Senior linebacker Chris Frey

On how it feels to be in this position going into the Ohio State game…
We’re really excited to be in this position, especially after the year that we had last year. To be in that situation is just a testament to the guys on this team giving it everything they have every single week. Just having the mindset that the past doesn’t matter. We’re going to look forward to the future, we’re going to take it week-by-week and day-by-day and just focus on the task at hand. Just putting the past behind us and knowing that that was a different team, we’re a different team now and we have, like you said, we’re in the driver’s seat. We have every ability, every guy on this team with the ability to make plays and to take this team to the next level.

On going back to Columbus as a team captain and this being the final time he will play OSU…
We talk about it all the time, just leaving this place in a better situation than you got it, or leaving the jersey in a better place, or seniors having their best year. To be able to go to a Big Ten Championship or being the East Champs, being in the driver’s seat of that situation is just huge for us. We’re really excited to take this team on. We’re playing a really good team. This is, quite frankly, going to determine the East. We’re going to put our best foot forward and give it everything we’ve got this week to come out with a victory.

Sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke

On having big games against big time opponents…
Minnesota was a very good turning point game for us. We realized that we can run the ball. We’ve got a lot of physical guys up front, and getting back to that point is what we’re trying to do.

On the national attention and individual praise he’s getting…
I’m just trying to focus on the task we have and obviously that stuff will come if you throw 50 times a game. I’m trying to focus on the games we have ahead and what we can accomplish this year.

On if he’s ready to replicate the workload he’s had the last few weeks going into Ohio State…
Definitely. I am ready to do whatever I need to do to win.

On gaining confidence and learning after the Northwestern game…
I think that’s correct. I am having more confidence in my arm and the throws I am able to make. As games go on, as you learn, you gain more confidence in yourself.

On if he had a different mindset between the Northwestern game and the Penn State game…
Thinking back on it now, maybe. I didn’t really notice anything different during the game, but I feel like I was a little more accurate last week than I maybe was the Northwestern game and I trust myself a little bit more.

On what Lewerke is expecting walking into Saturday’s game…
The coaches have told us that it’s a loud place, it’ll be loud like Michigan was – that same type of environment with a lot of people. We’re kind of just trying to focus on blocking out the noise and blocking out the emotions that can sometimes run high when you’re in that environment.

On closing out November strong and if there’s pressure knowing that there’s a shot at the Big Ten Championship game…

Yeah, I think it’s a great opportunity we have and we definitely realize it. We realize what a win here this week could do for us and we’re trying to make the most of it for sure.

Junior safety Khari Willis

On what stands out on film about Ohio State…
They go faster than they did in the past with the new offensive coordinator. They go a little faster, but they still do what they do. They’ve got some good players on the edges, some good backs and obviously a very experienced quarterback.

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