Scott Reed - Spartan Digest

With Connor Cook still a question mark for Penn State, Michigan State continues to reach higher for goals.

From the start Michigan State looked to reach higher than they had in the past. Mark Dantonio had his team ready for their win over Ohio State and knows with or without Connor Cook the Spartans have shown they can get the job done.

Expect another long week of talk on the status of Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook as the Spartans look to win the Big Ten East and head to Indianapolis to take on Iowa.

Sunday during Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio’s, Sunday night teleconference, he was mum on his senior quarterback's status for Penn State, but very positive about the role the injured Cook played in the Spartans upset win over Ohio State as well as the two quarterbacks that guided the team to the win.

“I thought that both our quarterbacks played very well,” said Dantonio.  “I thought Connor was very positive on the sideline, and the only thing that I ask all our players is they are there to bring value to our team.  So I thought he brought value and there is no questions about that.  I thought he was into the game, I thought he wasn’t sitting there just watching.  He was enthusiastic and I thought our other two quarterbacks, Tyler O'Connor and Damion Terry did an outstanding job.”

During the postgame press conference, Dantonio was asked about how he motivated the Spartans and brought up a tweet he credited to linebackers coach Mark Snyder with a tweet that fit the program's motto of Reach Higher.  Again on Sunday he was asked why he felt so strongly about the message.

“To me this was a program game for a number of reasons,” he said.  “We control our own destiny and continue to do so with the win.  Secondly, it was an opportunity to get our tenth win, a double digit win and at Ohio State.

“It was an opportunity to get our tenth win, a double digit win and at Ohio State.  It also was an opportunity to play against a team that had beaten us last year.  We have a lot of guys from Ohio, obviously want to measure up when we go down there.  So a lot of things were brought into focus.

“The Reach Higher aspect was brought back into focus because of the two teams we had lost to last year, Oregon and Ohio State and Ohio State being the National Champion.  Before we could think in that direction, we had to beat the defending National Champion at their place.

“So all of those things sort of came into context and then I saw Coach Snyder’s message, and in light with everything else going on and us talking about winning up front and the energy that we were going to have to bring, and also the actual weather that was going to be in the game, I thought it was sort of fitting to bring that up.”

Dantonio would not get into discussions about Penn State enjoying all of his 24-hour rule of enjoyment.  But knows the win over the Buckeyes gives the team a different view than they had following their loss to Nebraska.  When asked if Saturday night's win gives his team a renewed purpose, Dantonio was quick and to the point.

“There is no question about that,” said Dantonio.  “When you lose a football game, anytime you lose a football game you’ve got to regroup and it’s tough.  “Especially if you are sort of on a run a little bit and you lose and the way it went down we felt we could control something as least in that outcome cause it was so close.

“I’m sure every football team that loses feels like that.  So it’s important to be able to regroup and we were able to do that and with the way things went down, as I said before, we’re playing the teams we need to play to set the stage.”

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