Coach D Quotes Purdue
Posted Nov 21, 2010

Here are the quotes of Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio following the teams win over Purdue. The following quotes were provided by Michigan State Athletics.

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.

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