Dantonio Post Game Comments

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio spoke with members of the media following his teams Outback Bowl victory over Georgia in triple overtime. For Dantonio, the win gave him his first bowl victory as head coach of the Spartans.

Forgive Mark Dantonio if he was super excited following Michigan State's triple overtime victory over Georgia.

For Dantonio, the win allowed his program to take another positive step forward and place their name in talks about being considered one of the top teams in the country.

The following is Dantonio's post game comments provided by MSU Athletics Communications.

Opening statement...

We've been waiting for one of these bowl trophies for five years so we're thrilled to have it. I want to thank the Outback Bowl for making this a very special time for us. Outstanding job by the entire Outback Bowl community and everybody involved with it; this is a tremendous bowl. I want to congratulate Georgia on a great football game. It was a great game. They have a great football team and obviously played extremely hard as well. I want to congratulate our players. We talked at halftime, I guess it was 2-0 for most of the first half, but they had a couple of explosive plays late in the first half and go up 16-0. We just talked about if you want it you've got to take it back; keep believing. Just believe. And that's what our guys did. We came back in the second half and I thought just started playing well, starting playing a little bit better, tough to run on but we made plays and found a way. Darqueze Dennard's interception for a touchdown and an interception really stopped them when they were coming out one time and got the ball down there. But two picks and came up with some fumbles. Great individual effort by Rashad White at the end of the game with the block, but our defense played outstanding I felt throughout the entire game. Offensively, big drive at the end of the game, the two minute situation with 1:26 to go on the clock. That's why Kirk Cousins is who he is and you see some of our guys making the plays that they made. I thought Brian Linthicum played an outstanding game and had some big plays in the game as well.

On the Georgia defense...

You've got to credit Georgia and how they play. I mean they locked on. They got on our guys and they made plays. They have an outstanding defense. You see as the half and really as the game sort of presented itself why both defenses are ranked so high. Very difficult to run on both of them, but guys make plays. But credit Georgia and what they were doing. Obviously I'm sure we wish we had a couple throws back but there were a couple of great individual plays by the defense as well.

On the importance of getting Brian Linthicum involved in the game...

Our tight ends are a big part of our offense. The tight end screen, throw back tight end screen was a big play, probably about a 50 yard play to get us down there at some point in the second half. Obviously a big play. We hit a leap pass to him, sort of a trick play to him, on another one, so he was involved in two sort of trick plays that he made plays on. Obviously a big two-point throw from Cousins to him when he was not the primary receiver. Kirk came off the primary and went to him. He did a great job. Brian's a great football player and he'll have a great, exciting career ahead of him.

On LeVeon Bell's touchdown to take the game to overtime...

We were right there. We're six inches away. I just felt like, hey, you've got to get the inches. We talk about the inches all the time; you've got to be able to get those six inches. We felt like we had enough time to run it one more time and if not, spike the ball and have another down to throw it in there or whatever we had to do. But we were six inches away and it wasn't an easy six inch run but he got it in.

On the performance of the Spartan defense...

I felt like we played pretty well in the first half defensively. They hit a big punt return. Great job by (Mike) Sadler all day punting the football. He pinned it in there with a great punt, but the guy got out, Boykin got out and made a great run. That was the second one. The first one was a long nod route. The guy faked the corner route and brought back to the post and hit us on that. But other than those two plays we really played them very well. At halftime, again, I just talked about you've got to believe in yourself and somebody's got to step forward and we've got to start that ball rolling; we've just got to get that momentum rolling. If we can do that, we can be successful, and that's what happened.

On beating Georgia in the Outback Bowl...

Big win against a great football team, against an SEC team, against a team that won their division and was 10-2 in the regular season. Again, I think it just points towards us becoming an elite program in this league. There's not a football team that we cannot play with and not win against. We've done that. We've beaten every football team in the Big Ten Conference within the last four years. The standard has been set by our seniors. We're going to have to continue to work and grow as a program with recruits and different things. But everything is there. Two 11-win seasons, there's not too many football teams in the country that are saying that right now. I would think that this win would hopefully help solidify a top-10 ranking in this year's final polls.

On Darqueze Dennard's performance...

Two big picks, again, resilient. He got beat on a deep fade, a deep long ball, got beat on that early in the first half. But he responded. He's originally from Georgia. Big game for him. Two big interceptions, one for a touchdown. Our defense scoring. You know, if your defense can score, great things are going to happen for your team.


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