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Nov. 22, 2008
Q: Can you express your feelings for this senior class, winning two Big Ten Championships and 40 games?
A: It hasn't settled in. I have been proud of them all year. I have been proud of them for four years. The last few, we probably let a couple of slip away from us that we probably should have handled. But they have been consistent. We have had our problems. We have had some kids who didn't have time to grow up before they caught up in some stuff. And these guys, when we have made some tough decisions, have stuck with us. Nobody came in and complained or griped; they just kept working. It's great to be around a bunch of people like that. It has been a great experience, win or lose. I am just delighted for them that they get to go out to the Rose Bowl or whatever pops up and get a chance to play another big football game. I am pleased for them; I really am.
Q: Can you talk about Daryll Clark's performance today? Was it his best of the season?
A: I don't know whether if it was his best performance but it was certainly a good one. I was a little bit annoyed at some of the things that some of you guys wrote and that some people had said that he hadn't played that well. I kept trying to say, 'hey, nobody's perfect.' But he is a fine athlete, a fine quarterback and a wonderful, wonderful guy and a real leader. So, I was delighted he went out and played the kind of football game he did today. I thought the kids played really well, obviously led by Daryll Clark.
Q: Given the struggles earlier this decade, how much does it mean to you to get your program back to this level of national prominence?
A: You guys ask me questions that I don't really think much about. I don't mean that to be a smart aleck. When it's over and we get a couple of days off, I may have some thoughts about it. It's just been so satisfying to see these guys stick together. We talked, when we were having our problems, that all we needed was a couple of guys who could come in and kind of give us a different attitude and do one or two things that would help us get over the hump. I always felt we had a good bunch of kids and those kids stayed together and then a couple of kids came in and did some things. Michael Robinson came through and the whole bit. It has been fun to be around them. I have enjoyed every minute of it; except for a couple of weeks ago, I didn't enjoy every minute of it. Other than that, it has been great.
Q: What do you hope the seniors have gotten out of playing at Penn State?
A: I hope each and every one of them had a great experience. Each one of them will have had a different experience. They are not robots; they are all different human beings. Some have had to struggle. Some have struggled academically. Some have had to overcome injuries and fight their way through things. Each one of them, when they go home, will start thinking about what they have been able to accomplish and do it with some satisfaction. I hope every one of them has felt this was a great experience, both on and off the field and in the classroom. And most of these kids are good, solid students. This is not a bunch of kids for which football is the only thing in their lives. I hope 10 years from now, they look back and say, 'by God, I am glad I went to Penn State.'
Q: Do you feel some vindication since you have now earned a berth to the Rose Bowl?
A: Vindication isn't anything I have thought about. We were in the Rose Bowl three or four years ago. We have won three straight bowl games. I think the expectations of our fans are such; that is the only thing that worries me once in a while. They expect so much and that's good. The place was packed today, on a day that is so cold and windy and as bad as it was today. The student section was filled up. I just think that is all I care about. When we lost to Iowa, everyone went 'ugh' and rightfully so because we all had high hopes. Vindication is a word that suggests animosity and I don't have any of that. I really don't. It's been great to see a bunch of kids get it done.
Q: You said at the pep rally last night that you were coming back, now that the game is over, can you now definitively say that you will be back next year?
A: I am planning on coming back, yeah. I never planned otherwise. Everyone is making a big deal out of the fact that I don't have a contract signed. I have never even asked to do that. I will sit down in the next couple of weeks with Tim Curley and President Spanier and say 'what do you think of this?', 'what do you think of that?', 'what are we going to do?', and that kind of thing, so when I talk to high school kids, I can be honest with them. Right now, I have no plans to leave. We'll see what happens.
Q: Going in, did you have a real particular feeling that the team was going to play like this today?
A: Our team practiced really well. They were on a mission. I felt good. I felt we would play as well as we could play. I felt that we would be a little bit better than Michigan State. Michigan State is a good football team. I said after the game last week that Michigan State may be playing as well as anybody in the Big Ten and I meant it. They did not have a great game today and I think that is a tribute to our defense which stopped some of the things that they have been able to do to other people. I felt we were going to play well and I felt we were good enough to beat them, but you never know.
Q: Who put the heaters on the sidelines?
A: The players. I told them 'if I were on the sidelines, you wouldn't have the heaters.' I said 'but I can't go upstairs in the nice warm booth and tell you guys you have to freeze your butts off.'
Q: Now that the game is over, will you get surgery this week?
A: I am not sure what we are going to do yet. Probably.
Q: Did you hear any rumors this week?
A: I don't even know what you are talking about. What kind of rumors? There are always rumors going around. No, I didn't hear any of it. I have been into this thing this year. I have been really trying hard to keep focused on the football team because I feel like I can't turn it on on a Saturday without doing some homework. I have tried to help the coaches as best I could. I know a lot of times I wasn't with them one-on-one. I spent a lot of time on the phone with them. I was at every practice and all that kind of stuff. I try to stay focused. I tell them to try to stay focused; I can't be going around reacting to every rumor. You can't be a phony. They'll read that.
Q: Penn State has now won 800 games and you have been on the field for more than half of them, what does it mean to you?
A: Oh, I don't know. I have told the story 1,000 times. When I decided to coach, I called my dad up. I was here two years. I came down here to save money to go to law school. I owed $2,000. My dad never owned a home. He worked two or three jobs at different times. I went to law school at night. He always dreamed that I would be a lawyer. When I called him up and told him that I had decided to coach, he said 'for God's sake, what did you go to college for?" And I said, 'I might be pretty good. I like it. I like the town. I like the people.' He said, 'for God's sake, try to have an impact on that team instead of teaching a bunch of guys how to knock each other's brains out.' So, I look back and I think I have made a little bit of an impact on this place. I feel good about that.
Q: When you were scouting Michigan State this week what led you to believe that you could throw so much and so successfully against them?
A: Their defense. Their scheme. You can throw it on them; you can't run it on them. They play the run so well. Those two safeties are up there all of the time. Their linebackers run really well. We felt we were going to have to throw the football to at least keep those guys back a little bit, so that we could get some running room.
Q: With the bowl game more than a month away, did you want to win this game big to carry momentum through the break?
A: I think one of these days, the Big Ten is going to have to sit down with this problem. Everybody we play in a bowl game has played football during the period when we are not doing anything. There won't be a Big Ten team play a football game in the next month or at least until they go to a bowl game. I really think that hurts us a little bit. Some of the teams that will be in bowl games have two more games to play. I don't like it, but that's the cards you get and that's what you have to deal with.
PENN STATE POSTGAME PLAYER QUOTES
#17 Darryl Clark
Q: Can you talk about the feeling of going to the Rose Bowl? A: It's very exciting. But you know what was more exciting is we are Big Ten champions... we are on top of the Big Ten. Nobody thought we would be in this position at the beginning of the year. So to be able to do something like this is really a blessing.
Q: Did you feel like this was your most accurate game of the season?
A: Well the ball exploded out of my hand and I made sure to work on my feet all week. That is important because with it being cold out there I needed to step through all the throws and be as accurate as possible. It felt good today. You know I woke up feeling really good saying "You know it's going to be a good day for us." We knew what we needed to do. Coach Joe (Paterno) and all the coaches got us together and got us prepared for this game. We went out there and made some things happen.
Q: It seems like you were pumped up after making some big plays and getting some touchdowns. Is that what you mean when talking about letting loose and having fun?
A: Letting loose and not leaving anything back. Just letting it all out there because this is the last game. I wasn't going to be the one to mess up anything for these seniors. They deserve what they got today. Those guys have been through the ups and downs of Penn State football. They worked hard this year and like I said earlier, nobody gave us respect and nobody thought we could do it. For us to come out and do this, it's great. All the guys did a great job of getting ready today. Deon Butler, Jordan Norwood, the defensive line, all of those seniors came out and played well today. I'm so proud of them.
Q: We can see that you had that little swing in your step today. You call it your "little pimp" step. Can you talk about that?
A: It's a little confidence step. When things are going right, you are throwing the ball right, guys are making plays and we are getting touchdowns, you get a "little pimp" to your step. You get excited. This is the football I like playing here. This is what we are capable of doing. And when everyone does well, our defense stops (Javon) Ringer and contains (Brian) Hoyer, it leads to a good day.
Q: What was the difference between today and the last two games?
A: Rhythm. I would probably just have to say the rhythm. The first two drives it is very important that you complete some passes, move the ball and get some first downs. When come out with a good start, begins a click for the remainder of the game and the rhythm. I am glad we got it back today.
#2 Derrick Williams
Sr./Sr. Wide Receiver
Q: Was everything perfect today?
A: Everything was perfect today. Almost a perfect ending, but we still have one more game. Everything has been great throughout my career here. We captured two Big Ten championships in the four years that I was here. I am part of the first team ever to win the Big Ten title here at Beaver Stadium. It has meant a lot. I just got to thank God and Coach Paterno.
Q: What did you think of the play of Clark today?
A: I think he did really well. Like I said, Daryll to me is the best quarterback in the country, the best athlete. He is a guy that just loves the game. You know he is very into it. I would want him more than any other quarterback.
Q: Did you ever see you guys opening up the passing game this well against Michigan State?
A: Well we just sat back and let the offensive coaches dissect their defense. We knew we would have to throw the ball and we knew we would need to have a balanced attack. A lot of guys did a lot of special things.
#22 Evan Royster
So./So. Running Back
Q: What was practice like this week and how did you guys handle the game plan?
A: They have some really good safeties in their secondary. We did a lot of play action and stuff to get them sucked up.
Q: You guys seemed to hit the screen pass well today. Can you talk about that?
A: Well we saw of film that other teams did that to them a lot this year. We saw that teams were successful doing that against them. We came in and made sure we started the game off with the screens.
Q: Why did you guys have more blitzing today?
A: Well I just think it was something we haven't shown in a while. We wanted to give a little change-up. It was just a little wrinkle. We did it a lot before, but we were not always going to live with it. It is just something you do with the right situations and force them to throw the ball on third down a lot faster. On third and 10 when he's throwing five yard out patterns, that is exactly what you want.
Q: Is that a tone-setter when you get to a guy early like that?
A: Yeah I think anytime when you are trying to get them off-balance. We played some penny today, we nickel-blitzed, we dime-blitzed and we did a lot of different things today that we haven't shown. They had two weeks to prepare for us and they had some new wrinkles so we obviously had to show them some new ones.
Q: You also held Ringer in check today. What did you see on film of him that made you figure him out?
A: The thing with him is I think we got a lot of people to the ball and tackled him very well. We kept him in the confines where he wasn't as dangerous. He's an excellent football player. He's someone we took note of.
#43 Josh Hull
Sr. /Jr., Linebacker
Q: What does it mean for all this to be happening to you guys?
A: It means so much to the whole team. There is no better way to send the seniors out. They put four years of hard work and effort and it is a great way to send them out.
Q: How do those roses taste?
A: Great, I could eat them all day.
Q: What was the key to stopping (Javon) Ringer?
A: The linebackers had very little action today and that is a tribute to the defensive line, they played lights out. It was a slow day for the linebackers because (Javon) Ringer couldn't penetrate the defensive line. They played very well today.
Q: Were you blitzing a lot today?
A: Yeah, I blitzed a lot today. We put a couple of blitzes this week and that was our thought going into the game.
Q: Do you agree with Joe (Paterno) and say that the team has been on its game since the beginning of the week?
A: Going into this week at practice, we knew Michigan State was going to bring their "A" game and we had four outstanding practices this week so we knew we were ready to come into this game today.
#3 Deon Butler
Gr./Sr. Wide Receiver
Q: There were a lot of rumors saying that this was going to be Joe (Paterno)'s last game. Did you ever for a second think that it could be?
A: He never said anything to us about it being his last game. He is such a fixture around here I don't think anyone thinks about it. This isn't the first time that the end of the season came and people didn't know if he was going to be back or not. We kind of just see him here as having an eternal life here, so we weren't bothered about it. We knew he would be back another year or so. But we cherished the moment because this was our last home game here and our last season, for the seniors. I think that is more so what was on our mind.
Q: Do you seniors feel that through the four years you guys collectively put Penn State back on the map?
A: Yeah we definitely feel that we have led this for four or five years. All those 6 a.m. runs and those plate pushes, this is what it comes down to. We have been dedicated to this program and brought into it since day one. The hard work has paid off and you can see that in our résumé we put together. We have another game to go, but people and this senior class definitely feel that they made a great deal of accomplishments helping Penn State get back and have the younger guys continue the tradition.
#47 Josh Gaines
Sr./Sr. Defensive End
Q: What was it like in the tunnel before the game?
A: I was emotional. I was trying to hold my head down so that people couldn't see my tears. It was real emotional, it was the last time and I won't be able to do this again and I am proud I am at Penn State.
Q: How do you relate that with playing well early in the game?
A: It was real emotional and we had to settle it down and focus on getting the win. Defense played good, offense played good, and it was a great feeling with everyone clicking today.
Q: How did you guys stop (Javon) Ringer today?
A: We got a lot of guys on him. Whenever he touched the ball you will notice two, three, four guys hitting him at one time. When he did break, it was one guy who tried to tackle him. It was a great team effort.
#24 Jordan Norwood
Gr./Sr. Wide Receiver
Q: What a great way to go out with all three of the wide receivers having great games with such a big win.
A: It was great. Obviously, a game that we wanted to win for a lot of reasons and we are fortunate to have been able to. I am happy to be able to spend it with these guys.
Q: Did Daryll Clark have his swagger back this week?
A: Yeah, definitely. He looked how he looked earlier in the season. That is how he can play and how he knows how to play. We are happy for him and I am sure he is happy too.
Q: As a senior and someone who has been around here, what do you tell the younger guys after the loss at Iowa to make sure they are ready for this game?
A: We told them that there is a lot left to play for and a lot of work that still has to be done. They responded to that and they played well also.
# 7 Anthony Scirrotto
Q: On what's next for Penn State's team...
A: We have hard workers on the team. When we go out to practice we enjoy it. We have fun out there, and I think that is a big thing. The biggest part of our success all season is that we are a great practice team. A lot of enthusiasm, we love going out there and banging around, making each other better, and that is what we are going to do. We are going to be practicing before taking finals and going away. We are just going to enjoy every moment we have because it was the last opportunity to play at Beaver Stadium, but we still have one more game left and it is a big game. We have to do what we have to do.
Q: Was there a different feel at practice this week?
A: No, it has been the same. We have had the same approach all season. Every game meant so much to our success. Every game was for the Big Ten championship, and I think that is what separated us from the other teams, the success on the practice field, and the work ethic we had in the off season that carried over to preseason. We just love it out here, with each other.
#57 A.Q. Shipley
Q: Do you ever think back to the years where things were not great?
A: They were not fun. My first year 4-7, whatever we were, it wasn't fun, but there were a bunch of guys that believed and saw beyond what was happening at that point and came together, and eventually turned things around.
Q: Who did you befriend anyone right away coming in?
A: Being a defensive player, growing up in western Pennsylvania Paul Posluszny and I were good friends from the start. Then Ed Johnson, Jay Alford, and those guys took me under their wing and there was a great cast of characters. We just needed a couple players, a couple people to buy in to the fact and we were able to do it.
Q: How much hope did you have at the time?
A: I can't remember, six plays ago, yet alone four years ago. For the most part, I think everyone believed that we were one step away and we finally got that step the next year and haven't looked back since.
Q: Can you talk a little about the group talk after the game?
A: I don't think we expecting that. It was a pretty touching scene. He lost control of his emotions there for a second and I think he is looking back on this year, and realizing what we accomplished. Realizing this was a special group, and I think for the most part he just lost his emotions a little bit.
Q: Talk about your father's legacy to these kids. You see it everyday, what he means to these kids.
A: The guy you ought to grab is John Carter sitting right out there because John was talking to me yesterday about what Penn State means to him and the doors it's opened in his life. Not just in the NFL, he's talking about in the business world and connections he's made from Penn State and the values he learned. He runs his own company now and he says, "I know I've got to be on time. I know I've got to do certain things, there's certain values I've got to have." Joe is not a coach. Joe might as well be a professor. He's an educator. He's a guy who's trying to get people ready for life and that's how he's been his whole career. I think when you talk to our kids 10 years, 20 years down the road, just like myself being his son, the older you get, the smarter he gets. The more you live, the more you see that son-of-a-gun's right. And he's usually right. With that touchdown play to (Dan) Lawlor tonight, every coach said it won't score. He said it would score and it scores.
Q: These seniors came here at a time when this program was as low as it's been in 40 or 50 years. Now they leave at a time when it's back up there. That's got to mean something to them.
A: Absolutely. It means a lot to these kids. I mean, Derrick Williams will forever be remembered as the guy who helped turn this program around. It doesn't matter what he does in the bowl game or anything. He's going to be an iconic player. When you see him and when you see the number two, our fans are going to know who he is 20 years from now, 30 years from now because he was one of those guys who made the decision to come here when it wasn't popular to do so. He could've gone anywhere he wanted and he said, "There's something about Penn State, something about that family and that environment. I want to be around it." And that's a tribute to him.
Q: How much have those kids passed on to the younger kids coming along?
A: I think they've done a great job. You see Deon Butler and Derrick Williams and some of the older guys, Gerald Cadogan, taking the younger guys and kind of saying this is the way we do things here, this is the level of expectation and the success we expect at Penn State. When we've been good, we've had that going so I think we'll be good going forward.
95 Abe Koroma
Q: What was a key to stopping (Javon) Ringer today?
A: Just find Ringer and tackle him. That was our game plan. We prepared all week. We knew he was a good back, strong runner, has great vision but we were up for the challenge.
Q: Did you expect to be able to contain him as well as you did?
A: I mean, we feel like we can stop any back in the country. We just have to play our game.
Q: Did you feel that this team had that game this week? Was there something special about the way you guys were preparing for this week?
A: Yeah, we knew that this was for the Big Ten Championship, a chance to go to the Rose Bowl, and a chance to show the country that we're one of the elite teams in the country so we were ready for it.
Q: You guys made a statement early with a couple tackles for losses on that first series. How important was that to kind of set a tone?
A: It was just to let them know that we were here and we were ready to fight so that was a big key for us to set the tone for the game. Then that kind of just went the rest of the game for us.
Q: Obviously, not the easiest of seasons for you personally. Does that make this any sweeter?
A: I had a rough beginning but now just coming to the end, it was worth it. I'm happy where I'm at right now, where the team's at right now, and I'm blessed.
Q: Do you appreciate it more?
A: Oh yeah, those three weeks when I was out, it was hard just to watch the team on TV, so now that I'm back clicking and we got a Big Ten Championship today, it feels great.
Q: Have you ever been to Southern California?
A: No, I'm looking forward to it.
Q: How do roses taste?
A: Oh, they taste beautiful.
91 Jared Odrick
Q: Is this your last home game?
A: Oh no, I'm not going anywhere. I've got quite a few left.
Q: Can you talk about how you guys are responding since the Iowa loss?
A: I think we did all right. I think we're responding good. Everybody's in good spirits. Everybody came out to beat Michigan State, not to redeem ourselves or anything, and everyone came out to beat Indiana last week. That's past us now. We're moving on to bigger and better things and also onto the bigger bowl.
Q: Do you ever think of that loss?
A: Sure, I think of it but you can't dwell on it.
Q: Have you been to California?
A: No, I have not. I can't wait.
Q: Does it matter who you play?
A: Not really. We're going out there to win that game. At the same time, we've got a few people in mind that we want to play, that we'd rather play, that we'd rather have a match up against.
46 Tyrell Sales Gr./Sr., LB
Q: The offense had a swagger coming into today, but talk about the defense. It looked like it had a swagger coming up against (Javon) Ringer.
A: Yeah, we've got to. Anytime we come up against somebody who's highly touted or getting a lot of publicity, we take it upon ourselves, the defense, we say that we're not going to let them run the ball, that we're going to shut them down. That's been our mindset the whole week, coming out here. They rely on Ringer a lot and we figured that if we shut him down, we'd be successful today.
Q: With all the rumors going around this week about it being Coach's last game, did you guys believe any of it?
A: There were rumors I heard from every angle, but I figured it wouldn't be anything like that because we would be the first ones to find out about something like that. It was just rumors but we didn't pay too much mind to it. We just said if so, great, but if not, even better. We were just focused on Michigan State more than anything and the seniors knew there couldn't be any distractions with anything going on because we still had a football game to play. That's just been our mindset all week.
Q: The speech coach gave at the pep rally and to the squad, how much did that mean to you and help you all?
A: It meant a lot. He said a couple things about how proud he was of us and how he felt about the senior class and what we've been able to accomplish, things we've overcome. It was an emotional time, being one of the last squad meetings. Just looking around at all the guys who have been around for so long and to have it come down to a home game and the opportunity to go out there, play our hearts out, and win a championship, and then get Coach another Big Ten Championship. As a senior class, we talk about how we came in 2005 and we were the freshmen and now we get our own championship now.
Q: Was it emotional for Coach as well?
A: Yeah, Coach was pretty emotional. We see him, something who's been around for a long time. He's seen it all, the highs and the lows. For him to show his emotion, it's really heartfelt. And as a group, it's pretty emotional for us, as well. Looking around, there were guys a little red in the eyes and that's just how much we mean to him and how much this whole team and this program means to all of us when we can talk about a game and it makes us all emotional like that.
Q: You made some plays early on, Deon (Butler) made two touchdowns, Dan (Lawlor) ran for a touchdown, Lydell (Sargent) and Anthony (Scirrotto) picked balls off. Is this a fitting end for you guys as seniors?
A: Yeah, it couldn't be anymore fitting to finish the year 11-1 on our way to Pasadena (Calif.). You never know what could happen, we could still play in the big one but it's a guarantee that we're playing in Pasadena, Big Ten Championship, going out and putting on a good game against Michigan State for our last game. A lot of the seniors had a lot to do with it so we couldn't ask for a better ending. It was a storybook ending for a great career.
MICHIGAN STATE HEAD COACH MARK DANTONIO POSTGAME QUOTES
Obviously, it's very disappointing when you have high expectations and you come out and have a bad performance. It's not something you look forward to and it's very disappointing to our fans and our players. I thought the game got away from us in the second quarter. They played very well on third down and we had a chance to get out on third down numerous times and did not. Screens hurt us. We knew the screens were coming and they still hurt us. And then they opened it up a little bit.
Offensively, I think that we get across the 50 a little bit and then sputter out. We got a drive to give us a touchdown in the end to get back in it. And we started the third quarter down 28-7 and had a sack go from first-and-10 to second-and-20. We go out on that one, and they score the next series, so a disappointing game. We gotta pick up the pieces, and the bowl game comes a little more of a source of playing for respect again - redemption. We need that. Focus on being 9-3.
We had not been in this situation before; playing in a championship is a learning experience for us. And a hostile environment.
That's a very good Penn State team. Congratulations to Penn State. They are a very good football team. They are excellent up front. Very good skill. Quarterback did a nice job. Very well-coached defensively. So that's that. We need to learn to play in this type of environment at this type of level with these types of stakes and we need to do better and get back to work. Questions?
Q: Mark, what were some of the biggest breakdowns on third down there?
A: Well, initially it was the screens. It seemed like when we pressured, they hit the screen. It seemed like when we covered and used a spy on the guy on the screen. I think they got us on three screens in the first half. After that, they went on top on us. They used a trick play on us. They went on top and beat our guy. No one feels worse than those guys but you've got to play better.
Q: What do you think Penn State's conversion on the third-and-18 in the second quarter did to your team?
A: Well, you keep playing. That's what I've been saying the entire game: "You keep playing; you gotta finish the game. You have to keep playing. You have to keep working." It's tough when things are getting out of control a little bit. But things are going to be like that in your life, too, when things are spun out of control and you need to regroup. So we continue to try to do that and we'll do that now. You learn something every time you go out to play. You learn a little more about yourself, about your football team, about how you handle adversity. This obviously is an adverse time for us.
Q: Talk to us about how you went into the two-minute drill there when you were doing the timeouts. What was the motivation behind that?
A: There's no motivation there. I think the problem was earlier in the game, trying to give our guys a rest.
Q: How close or far away do you think you are, as a program, in the upper echelon of the Big Ten, knowing the result of the Ohio State game, knowing the results of this game?
A: Well, obviously, we are a ways away. We were better last year. Maybe we had an older team last year, in some respects. We don't have many seniors. I don't have an answer for that. When the stakes have been high, in the Ohio State experience as well, we get very excited. We get very focused and worked very hard during the entire week. There's confidence there. We can't seem to catch on fire and play ourselves back into a football. I guess that's the thing you look at. You don't ever feel like you're in control of the football game. You gotta get off the field on third down to get your offense on the field.
Q: Against a team that was a field goal away from a national championship, don't you feel like the difference was a matter of personnel?
A: Well, I think Penn State has been recruiting at this type of level, a championship level, for a long, long period of time. They certainly have had a couple of years when they were down a bit and have come back. I remember in '03 maybe. I'm not going to sit here and say they have better players than we do. They played much better than we did today. They are a very good football team. They are an 11-1 football team.
Q: Did you expect to run the ball well against them?
A: I thought we could have been more balanced against them. I thought that we ran the ball last year against them. We won last year. But there's something to be said that every time they come to Spartan Stadium they don't play well and when we come here we don't play well sometimes. But, we weren't able to run it effectively against them, offensively.
Q: When you took this job, you promised to finish games. I think you're undefeated when leading in the fourth quarter this year. Is that next step finding a way against elite teams and elite talent?
A: Our goal is to win championships here. That'll always be our goal, and we'll try to tear up to get there. Sometimes you gotta take two steps forward. I think 9-3 is a great football season. We took two steps forward from last year. But we took a step back today. You need to learn from your mistakes, learn from your experiences and that's what life is all about. If there's a life lesson in this, it's that as a person, as a player, as a team, you're going to fail in a lot of things. The key to your success will ultimately be how you handle yourself afterwards. It's a lot tougher to sit here and answer questions when you lose like this. I'll be strong; we'll be strong. And we'll get there.
Q: Talk about Brian [Hoyer]. He spent a lot of time on his back, and he threw two picks.
A: Well, the second one he got hit. The other one was in the first half, I believe. He took some picks. I thought he was pretty sharp in the first half. I thought he played hard. I thought he had a little something on the football. But give Penn State a lot of credit. They have good players. They are very well designed. They are well coached. They have a good system there for many, many years with Coach Bradley. So give them credit as well. He gave us a good chance early on.
Q: What was it that Penn State was doing today?
A: I call it winning at the point of attack. Their linebackers are very good. They flow. Good defensive tackles. It was a very good football team we played today.
Q: Did you take issue with the deep touchdown pass in the fourth quarter?
A: No. No. I didn't. You keep playing. I was disappointed we didn't make the play.
Q: You talked about taking a step back. Isn't it fair to say you haven't even been here two years yet?
A: Well, I don't know. We are trying to move forward. There are a lot of people who are disappointed. And there's no one more disappointed than the people in the locker room and the coaches. You take responsibility.
Q: How would you explain the penalties? You had one senior account for five of them.
A: I can't explain those things. Those are unforced errors. We haven't committed a lot of those unforced errors. It's loud out there. There are a lot of things going on out there, but it happens. It put us in some situations that made it more difficult for us. You have to go back and re-teach it. We'll address that as well. There's a lot of things we have to address. We are very proud of this team and their accomplishments. We've done some good things, and we've come a ways. But we're not there yet and that's apparent. We were both beat up physically by both of the co-champions of this league in Ohio State and Penn State. We have to build up our team and work on our recruitment.
MICHIGAN STATE POSTGAME PLAYER QUOTES
#7 Brian Hoyer
Q: After this huge game against Penn State and a long season, and given you're probably going to play someone pretty good soon, what are you going to do now?
A: I'm going to relax for a couple weeks. We're going to sit around and see whom we play obviously, probably an SEC team of some sort. We're assuming we'll be in the Capitol One Bowl or Outback Bowl. It's a long season. To get a couple weeks off, I'm sure my teammates are going to enjoy the time off. I know we're going to meet on Monday, I'll watch this film and then I'll put it behind me. We do have something big still to look forward to in a New Year's Day bowl game.
Q: How much of a black eye is this on the regular season?
A: We just lost to the Big Ten champs. The score probably looks a lot worse than it was. We were moving the ball, but we hurt ourselves with penalties and third-and-longs. I'm sure the score looks bad, but those guys just won the Big Ten Championship. They came out ready and we hurt ourselves too much.
#23 Javon Ringer
Q: Javon, does knowing that you have one more game left and that it's going to be a pretty big one take away a little bit of the sting from today?
A: Speaking in the moment right now, no. It still kind of hurts. After a couple of days go by and this is more out of the picture, I'll feel a little bit better. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to play in a January bowl game; you have to feel blessed for that. But having the Big Ten title right there and this being my first time ever and it being my senior year and this being my last shot, that's going to sting a little bit. But, eventually we're going to get over this. We can't dwell on it.
Q: Can you talk about the differences between Penn State and Ohio State and the rest of the Big Ten? They really have distinguished themselves as being on another level.
A: They're definitely talented. I give a lot of that credit to their head football coach, Joe Paterno. He's a very special person; a lot of great athletes want to play for him. They have a great program and that's why I honestly feel Joe Paterno isn't going anywhere. A lot of great athletes want to play for him.
Q: What was going on at the line of scrimmage today?
A: It was definitely rough up there. No matter how good the running back is, you cannot do anything without your offensive line being pretty dominant up front. Today just wasn't the best day, but our offensive line is going to put themselves back together.
#58 Trevor Anderson
Q: What was the big problem on the third downs? Was it the screening?
A: That's the way I see it. After a while, you become too concentrated on pass rushes and the coaches have to remind you to look out for the screens.
Q: Were you surprised at all that they were throwing it later in the game?
A: If I were a coach, I would want to destroy my opponent too. That's it.
Q: When they were converting all those third downs, did that start getting in your heads? Was it demoralizing?
A: As a team we kept playing. As far as demoralizing - never. Today just wasn't our day. It was theirs and they got it and they deserved it, but we never quit. I'm glad our coaches kept calling those timeouts - they never quit.
#25 Blair White
Q: You were thrown into the mix early on this season - you had to go up against Cal, Ohio State, you lost to three really good teams. What did you learn through that process, especially against Ohio State and Penn State because the scores were so lopsided?
A: That's something that we just kind of have to live up to. That's something I'm sure we'll emphasize for next year this upcoming off-season. That's just something we have to do, we have to play in the big games.
Q: Did you ever think, "They just simply have more talent than us?"
A: It's nothing like that. It's the things that they did, not what we didn't do. They made plays and they made more than we did.
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