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Nov. 18, 2007
Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno
On whether anything changed defensively...
No, there was the tight end [Kellen Davis], and number 5 [Devin Thomas] that I told you all week are big time players. We just didn't do a good job with those guys and you have to give Michigan State credit.
On what happened on the fake punt...
They just bounced it out to the outside, I didn't see it. I think we had it where he was going to go, but the kid [Jehuu Caulcrick] just did a good job. I really didn't see it. But it was no surprise.
On the last time they were in a situation like this, up 17 points and not holding on...
I know it has happened but I can't remember when.
On if a loss like this is an indication that this program isn't where it once was...
No, that's ridiculous. I told you Michigan State was a good football team. Michigan State lost three tough games by a total of fourteen points. I said they had a lot of talent; they did a good job.
On the last play by Anthony Morelli...
There are fifteen plays in a game like that, that could make a difference. It was an up and down game, it was a good football game. They hung in there. We had the ball most of the time, we moved it pretty good. We missed a couple of shots - what are you going to do?
On if he felt they could really run against Michigan State's defense...
I can tell you I never felt we could do any one particular thing against them all day. Obviously, when we started to run the ball, they started to do more blitzing, which I am sure you guys observed. So they started blitzing the outside to take some of that stuff away and you got to throw the ball.
On the defense not getting a turnover...
Anytime someone scores over thirty points against you, you got to figure...
I thought overall the kids played hard, played well and I think you got to give Michigan State some credit. Doesn't always have to be somebody loses a game, sometimes what happens is the other guy does some things well and they win a game. And I thought Michigan State hung in there and when it looked like they could have folded they came right down the field and got the ball to the key guys and that's how it went.
Penn State Junior Kicker Kevin Kelley
On the fake field goal ...
We've had it called a couple of times this year but then taken it off and kicked a field goal. But Coach came up to me right before and said to be ready in case we call a fake. Then we got the chance and the guys executed it perfectly.
On his nerves once the fake was called...
I was pretty calm. I thought after the play I was going to be a little bit more tired than I was. From the Michigan game, when that happened, I was exhausted afterward. But I think knowing that it was going to happen first kind of helped me a little bit.
On blowing the lead...
It's tough and it happens. But [Michigan State] is a good team and we knew that coming in the whole time, that we would have to play well, but things didn't go our way.
On losing the final regular season game...
It's definitely frustrating but Coach keeps emphasizing we still have a bowl game; we still have another game left. So we just need to finish the season off right.
On where the Penn State program is now on the national level...
We're at the same spot that we were when we first got here, I think. You look at the games we've lost and we've lost to great teams. We haven't lost to tames that shouldn't beat us. We've beat ourselves in some games but we're competing against the best teams all the time.
On losing to Michigan State ...
We beat ourselves. But yes, they are a good team. You see the Big Ten this year, and you see everybody beating everybody. They were 2-5 in the Big Ten but that doesn't really say how good they are as a team.
Penn State Senior Wide Receiver Terrell Golden
On losing to Michigan State...
If you really take a look at Michigan State, they are a much better team than their record shows. They have an explosive offense, as we've seen tonight, and their defense did pretty good, too. They're better than our record shows. We had some tough luck early in the season and a lot of different things can contribute to a loss. Sometimes it just doesn't go your way; it's just the game of foot ball.
On addressing the team after the loss...
Tell the team to keep our heads up. Our season's not over; we still have one more big game. Yeah, it's disappointing but there's nothing you can do about it now. If you truly left it all on the field, you have to nothing to ashamed of or worried about. And I think all the guys, even down to the special teams - I think we all left it on the field.
Penn State Linebacker Bani Gbadyu
On what changed the team this week...
Nothing really, we came in and practiced all week; there's nothing we didn't practice for. We came in and played hard, they made some plays and we made some plays. You win some and you lose some, and obviously we lost today.
On being shocked by the outcome of the game...
Yeah of course, but Michigan State is a really good team. They are well coached and didn't make a lot of mistakes, and they are a really balanced team. They have two really good running backs, and we had a hard time bringing down No. 30 [Jehuu Caulcrick}.
On late third quarter fumble recovery by Tyrell Sales...
It gave us a lot of momentum; it was a play that got our sideline up and our fans in the game. When you make a play like that it changes momentum, so I was excited for that.
On talent level of Michigan State...
If you see that the tape, they almost beat Michigan and they came back on Ohio State. This is a very good football team and they are very talented. They just played a better game today.
Penn State Linebacker Don Connor
On losing a 24-7 lead...
We were focused the first half and we were focused in the second half. We knew were playing a 0-0 game, and [Michigan State] crushed us. It's a high-powered offense. I think they are one of the most productive offenses in the Big Ten right now. That was always in the back of our minds, and you can't let up on a team like this that can hurt you.
On ending the season with a loss...
It's not the way you want to go out. It's tough on the team and it's difficult, to say the least. You try to learn from it and heal up - rest the body. And hopefully, we'll make a statement in a bowl game.
On defending against Devin Thomas and Kellen Davis...
We knew they were both threats and big-time players. It's tough to say. They played great and their quarterback [Brian Hoyer] made a couple of good passes, and they capitalized on it.
On winning the turnover battle and still losing the game...
They did a great job and put together some 12- and 13- play drives. They played mistake-free football in the second half and which is tough to deal with, so you have to take your hat off to them.
Penn State Junior Center A.Q. Shipley
On being 8-4...
A lot of teams would love to be 8-4 right now. That's not where we planned on being, but it ended up that way. We have to make the most of it; go to a bowl game and hopefully make the most of it.
On were Penn State is at compared to all other programs in the nation...
We are up there, we just have to finish. We've had a few years like this, but hopefully we can finish up with a big bowl win and come back next year.
On the mood in the huddle on the huddle on the last drive...
We were fired up. We were moving the ball well and getting some good passes, but sometimes you just stall out.
Penn State Junior Linebacker Tyrell Sales
On his fumble recovery in the third quarter...
I just saw the ball on the ground and jumped on it. I think they missed the exchange between quarterback and center and there was nobody around so I just jumped on it.
On mood on the sidelines after fumble recovery...
It was a big turnover for us to get the ball with good field position. We knew that if we could get a score off of that it would really help us out.
Penn State Junior Wide Receiver Derrick Williams
On losing the final regular season game ...
It's very disappointing. We came out here feeling good about ourselves. We knew how good of a team Michigan State was. We came out here with a lot to prove on the road, and we just let it slip away from us.
On being pressed on offense...
I think we controlled things pretty well, we were moving up and down the field pretty well. They had a good defensive scheme, but we tried to do the best we could.
If team needs to regroup...
I don't think so. I think we need to just look inside of ourselves and see what we need to do.
MSU Head Coach Mark Dantonio
Our players kept playing throughout the entire game. I'm looking at the stats here, and coming into the game, if we could run it for 100 yards, I thought that was going to be a big goal of ours. I thought that (Jehuu) Caulcrick - every time I looked into his eyes - I just saw a guy that was going to do whatever he had to do to win this football game. Up and down throughout the game, I thought our players showed great character and resilience on the field. We were down by 10 at the half, down by 17, fighting back into it, something else bad happens, and we keep coming back. Devin Thomas had some outstanding catches. He became the season reception leader in the history of Michigan State football today, and he did it in style. (Brian) Hoyer comes back after two interceptions in the first half and plays an outstanding second half. Our guys just kept playing - I can't say enough about them. I don't know if I've ever been in a game like this. Sometimes when you're in a close game, you come back, and you go back and forth, but to do what this football team has throughout the entire season - to play in every single game, and not to come away flat, having an opportunity to win in every single game. To win seven - and to get to a Bowl game - is going to be tremendous for our program.
On the progress his team has made...
Well we said early on in the year that we wanted to be a better football team at the end of the year than we were at the beginning. I think we are. The Big Ten is a tough conference, and playing a Penn State team that's 8-3, I think we're a better football team.
Certainly at the beginning of September we started 4-0, in the middle of the season, we faced some tough situations where we lost some close games, and then we played in November. We went 2-1 in November.
If you can be 2-1 in November, without question this football career for me at Michigan State is going to be very successful, because you'll play some tough games down the stretch. You're going to play games that matter, you're going to play games when things are on the line, and there's going to be pressure.
On being able to play well through the whole game...
You start to dispel some of the myths from some of the things from the past that we haven't finished. When you get to a point where your quarterback finishes, and he starts to develop confidence, he needs to be able to do that all the time. When they go all the way down the field, and you have to stop them on four straight downs, and somehow we did that. I thought Aaron Bates, the true freshman, delivering the punt with less than 20 seconds to go. I thought the fake punt - that was Jehuu [Caulcrick]. That was all Jehuu, and that just epitomizes what he's all about.
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