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Nov. 22, 2009
Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno
On what he told his team at halftime...
I didn't say anything, I said, "let's go." I thought we played fairly well. I thought we were hustling and hitting, I didn't think there was anything to give them any kind of thought. I told them Friday night, I said we've got to go out and play a 60-minute football game, show people we're a pretty good team. So I just said, "remember what I told you last night."
On if the shorter passes in the first half helped to set up the bigger plays in the second half...
We had trouble with some pass protection early, once we had a couple things where we could move some people around and the blitzes, we felt we could beat them deep. The receivers, we had time, and they're pretty good. Of course Clark had a good game.
On Daryll Clark's third quarter performance...
He struggled a little bit until we got some things pinpointed, he was fine; he's been fine all year. The kid has lost what, four games in two years? He's a darn good quarterback.
On what Clark's personality is like during the game...
You'd have to ask him that. I think he's pretty good [during games], he's around trying to cheer people up, patting people on the back. He'll come over every once in a while and ask me something... He just wants to be active in everything that goes on out there, which I think is good.
On how long they had been practicing the Curtis Drake touchdown play...
About three days. We just wanted to start to use Drake a little bit, so we put that in this week.
On if he believes his team has done enough to play in a BCS bowl game...
You know, I don't even know who makes up the BCS, who's involved in it or whatever. We're a good football team. Are we better than X, Y and Z? I don't know, obviously I think we could play with anybody, outside of that horrible first half against Southern Cal when we were sitting on our hands. We've played pretty good football, and I think we're a good football team. I think we can play with anybody. Now whether somebody is going to take us or not in a BCS bowl, I don't have any control over that.
On what he would say to help get his team into a BCS bowl...
What do you want me to say? Pick us! Pick us! What else can I say? I appreciate everybody wanting to know, and if I could get on the phone and call some people and say you owe me, or if not you better watch out there might be a horse's head in your bed (laughter).
On whether he thinks the college football postseason determination process is fair...
Please, don't get me into all of the ethics of college football every time I get up here. We're playing, we won, I'm pleased the kids played hard. We had a tough time out here, Michigan State's team came out and they went at it. I'm just happy for [our players] and I hope they get the kind of game that they'll be excited about.
On how his team stays on the national scene over these last few weeks when they aren't playing...
I don't know, it's almost impossible. There's so many big games coming up around the country. What do you do? I could jump off the roof of my house, I don't think there's any way to do it until we change the format of the scheduling in the Big Ten. Or as I've tried to say several times, add a twelfth team and have a division championship.
On how easily his team won this game..
I think in all fairness to Michigan State, they made a couple mistakes and boom, boom, we were like that. And then they start to get a little out of character, they had to get out of character playing catch up. Each game has a little personality of its own. We've had a lot of tough games here. I was out here in '54 when Biggie Munn was the head football coach and Duffy Daughtery was assistant coach and we got beaten by about five touchdowns. I came out here in '65... they ended up beating us about 44-7. And after the game Duffy put his arm around me and said "Hey, you're going to be O.K. I lost five games my first year as a head coach. You'll be all right." And I said "Thanks Doc." You know, I've got good memories of good friends. George Perles was a good friend.
On if tonight's game was the best performance by his team all year...
Yeah I think we did a better job outside of the field goal kicking. I think the kicking game was good, I think we covered better, we didn't kick it around. What, did we have two-three penalties? We played a really good solid football game, most aspects of it. There's one or two things obviously we could have done better.
Penn State Senior Linebacker Josh Hull
On how good this win is going into bowl season...
It was really important to end the season the way we did. And we're going to have week off and take some time to enjoy and then come back and then it's time to get back to hard work.
On if this was the best they've played all year...
Yeah, I think both the offense and defense in both aspects of the game, in the second half, was huge for us today.
On what they talked about at half time...
Just to be patient and relax. Maybe we played a little tight in the first half. Keep making some plays and let the victory take care of itself.
Penn State Junior Wide Receiver Graham Zug
On his drop...
I mean, once you have a drop you always have to rebound from it. You have to make the play.
On quarterback Daryll Clark's game...
You know he did a great job today. He's been a great leader all season. He's been a great quarterback for us. On what it is about Michigan State that makes them come out like they did... It's just about having fun out there with the guys. We were able to come together as a unit in the second half to finally finish our drives.
On if they needed this performance...
Absolutely. We needed to be 10-2 and not 9-3. We wanted to be 10-2 and that's what we did.
Penn State Senior Quarterback Daryll Clark
On if anger helps him in his performance...
It can but I can't go out and play angry as a quarterback. If you sit there and get upset over what you did, and you think `Oh I'm so mad I'm going to go throw this pass and throw that pass,' and then they're going to end up not being there. You end up turning the ball over more. So we wanted to make sure that that didn't happen today.
On why he looked jacked up on the sideline...
Well this is a big game. And there were a lot of opportunities we had to score points in the first half and when we have those, we have to take advantage of those. When we don't, it's kind of frustrating.
On if he was frustrated...
I was a little frustrated, yes. But I knew, it's kind of like last week. We were hurting ourselves. There were things that we could have done out there and just go out and execute and we just failed to do it in the first half.
On if he wanted to go for the 4th down late in the second quarter... Yeah, I did. But you know, I knew eventually we were going to get our second shot in the second half
Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio
Right now what we have to do is regroup and understand that we are going to have the opportunity to go play in a bowl game, which is a positive. We have the opportunity to regroup and get ourselves ready to go even though there were some disappointing things in this football game - but I think we have competed very well throughout this season. I also thought we did that last year as well, and we ran into the same thing last year.
We took a step forward I guess by having it tie at halftime, but the end of the game is the bottom line. We play a game for 60 minutes and we didn't get it done tonight. When you look at why, it starts with the head coach first of all, and then runs down to the assistant coaches. We have to ask ourselves if we did the right things schematically offensively, defensively and on special teams. That would be number one, and two would be asking ourselves what we did during the game in terms of calls and making decisions. The third thing is execution because we have to be able to execute out on the football field.
I said before, that emotions are very important in this game, and when you think you can you probably can. But all the sudden when it feels like a wave is rolling over your shoulder and things get tough to do out there, it becomes harder. This was a game of confidence, and you have to credit Penn State because they are an excellent football team - and an excellent defensive football team because they tackle very effectively, play the ball in the deep part of the field, and get pressure with four players. When those things happen it puts you behind the ball a little bit and you have to find away to work your way out of there.
In the first half we had a couple drives down the field and across the field but we didn't score any points. [Penn State] had a couple of drives and chances on field goals, but they didn't get any points either. I thought it evened up there, but then they had one drive and we were able to answer it. The first half was pretty much even, but in the second half for whatever reason we could not capture the momentum back after the two scores. You have to play with momentum and enthusiasm otherwise things can always get worse and I think that's what you saw tonight.
I don't know if it was what we were doing out there as it what how we were doing it. We had some dropped passes and a couple picks but I thought we ran the ball okay in the first half and have a couple big runs. IN the second half however that's where it disappeared with the situation being the way it was. I thought our defense played well in the first half all the way until the last series. From there things started to spiral out of control in the third quarter.
On the plan for practices in preparation for the bowl game...
The first thing that bowl practices do is reward your football season, and it's an opportunity to go some place with your football family and play a team that is from out of your conference. The second thing I think you do is allow your younger players and the ones that were red-shirted extra opportunities to get better. You work with them a little bit more and you try and develop them to give them a springboard before spring practice.
You also get yourself healthy and we will get Rod Jenrette back, which will help us. You get yourself healthy a little bit with the players that have been knocked around and dinged a little bit a chance to get back. You overall critique your whole program in terms of what you are doing on the field and can find say `Hey should we change this, or do this,' because you do have time to do some of those things. You can't change it all but you do have time to tweak some things.
On this season sending a message to the underclassmen...
I think if you want to be the best you have to play against the best, and you have to play well. Penn State or Iowa is probably going to go to a BCS bowl game and we had the opportunity to beat Iowa and we come up short. Then we have the opportunity to play against a great Penn State team, and we are in the game and we come up short again. In some ways you can look at that and say we are right there, but in other cases we are (much farther away). Somewhere the truth lies in between, and you take the fact that this will be our third bowl game in three years as success and a sign that the program is moving forward - and build on that. We have to have a good recruiting class and you have to continue to build your program.
On now turning the concentration to winning their first bowl game since 2001...
We had a disappointed locker room because we all had high expectations and after last year I thought we were over the hump a little bit. We were in the game and we're right there so we have a disappointed football team. I had to go from one interview to the next so I didn't hear what they had to say, but it was a pretty quiet locker room, as you would expect.
Our guys will compete and I think we have proven that, and the thing about football is you get a chance to get back up after you have been knocked down and we will do that. We have the banquet tomorrow and you have to think about that and know life's not fair. We will put a tie on tomorrow though and go to the banquet and celebrate together but also mourn together too. The healing will begin tomorrow and that's what you have to do.
On living up to the higher expectations that were set at the beginning of the season...
It was so close in certain games and we lost some close games, but I don't know if that is necessarily the situation as opposed to making plays at the end of the game. Calling the right plays at the end of the game goes along with that as well. It's not all the players or all the coaches, but when you get into something like this I wish we could have come in here and talk to you guys about a win or a close loss as much as I hate to say that. They all count so the big thing we have to do is rebound from it - if it was a one-point loss at the end in the last second can be just as disappointing and just as devastating.
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