Spartans Speak After Win

Read what Michigan State's head coach John L. SMith and some of his players had to say after defeating #9 Iowa.

John L. Smith:


I'm proud of our team. Our coaches put together a darn good plan. We came out and we felt like we executed it real well to begin with and gave them some adjustments that maybe they hadn't seen. And gosh, we got some scores. Then we had to show some courage and hang on to win it. No. 1 I'd like to congratulate our coaches and then I'd like to congratulate our kids. They did a good job. They showed courage late. And that's really good because that's an awful good football team. Field position was a big part of today's game, and the kicking game helped us there a lot. I can't say enough about our guys. They're really starting to believe in themselves. They're having fun with what we're doing. There were far too many penalties on both sides of that football, particularly on our side. Gosh darn, we've got to clean up some things there. But, it was a win. And now, we have to get ready for Indiana. We're pleased.

How big was the 70-yard punt?

That was a huge play. We talked about this earlier in the week. He's not just a part of the kicking game. He's becoming a weapon. That was a weapon. For a team that is that good, they're not going to hit you with the big play. They're going to give you the run. They're going to throw the pass and making them have to work to go the entire length of the field. That's the reason you win the football game.

Did you feel like you got Iowa's defense to over-pursue early?

Again, there defense is to keep everything there. They're a lot what we call cover-four and cover-two and change-ups off of those things. But they'll keep it in front of them. They'll give some of the short stuff. So, that's what we tried to do. Let the offense work for you and take what they give you and devise enough good things that you can get the ball to the short guys. Hey, a 3-yard completion is OK.

How important was it to score on the first drive?

That's huge. We get the first one and then we end up getting a turnover and good things happen. And if you win the turnover battle, then good things do happen.

Will you guys use more no-huddle?

For us, no-huddle there are two forms. There's a hurry-up no-huddle. And then there's a no-huddle for a purpose. The no-huddle for a purpose is to define what you are going to see from them and then go ahead and call it from the line of scrimmage. It's really a slow-down and it gives you an advantage to a degree. If we think we're going to see people where we can get an advantage from substituting or whatever the case may be, then you're going to see more of it. We've done this kind of forever and ever.

What didn't happen offensively in the second half?

You have to cross that goal line to get points. And they don't give them to you if you don't. I would ask them to give us points. Seriously, as coaches, we're going to have to take a serious look. I'm kind of a conservative kind of guy, and I but in probably more than I should. DT Kevin Vickerson:

Iowa felt like it came out flat. Did it feel like you guys had an emotional edge at the start of the game?

Kind of, but it felt like we had to prove ourselves first. Everybody had to feel each other out. After we did that, we got rolling. The offensive line of Iowa was real good. We just had to play hard and keep playing hard. We took it that way the whole game, just one play at a time.

Were you guys jacked up a little more with a Top 10 team coming in here?

That's what it is, it's a statement game. Last year at their place, they pounded us. But this year, it was our turn to return the favor and do what we need to do and play how we know how to play.

Do you feel like your defense wore them down as the game went on?

I think we shut down the run as the game went on. They had a good running game. But it wasn't that good in the second half. LB Mike Labinjo:

What was different about this Iowa offense?

They had a different quarterback. Last year's quarterback was a little better runner. This year's quarterback was more of a pocket passer. It was just a different game. Overall, we just dominated them.

Where did the domination come from?

I think it's a little bit of remembering last year's game. We saw this game as a challenge. They were averaging 212 yards a game. It was a good running back, a good O-line. I think people were expecting them to run all over us. The defense took it upon ourselves to stop the run.

Did their high ranking motivate you as well?

I think a little bit. But it was the Big Ten opener. It was a chance to get a little revenge after last year. All week we heard about Iowa running the ball on us and this and that. We knew we had a good defense.

Do you look at things like being a 7-point underdog at home?

We like being the underdog. It takes the pressure off. It gives us something to shoot for.

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