Mark Dantonio knows Saturday's 30-6 loss to Wisconsin was bad. He also knows they also still control their destiny.

You could tell from the look on Mark Dantonio's face Saturday's loss to Wisconsin was not the outcome or performance he expected. Despite the 30-6 loss to the Badgers. Dantonio knows his team can still control their destiny.

Opening Statement...

 We knew what they were when we came into this football game. We talked about it this week at length, that they were a very solid football team. And they would make you beat them. Fundamentally sound. It had to get loose to beat them over the top, beat them with our wideouts. Protect the quarterback, run the football. Get off the field, stop the run. Do all the different things that you have to do to win a football game.

 

The bottom line is we did not do those things. If the game was a close game, it was a close game. The game was all of a sudden moving and we've got some adrenaline, it's 13-6. The tackle, which 

was a great tackle, the fumble recovery and they housed it, all of a sudden turns it from 13-6 to 20-6. Got to get off the field on third and long. I don't think we pressured the quarterback as well as we have. I thought we stopped the run on defense, offensively you got to protect the quarterback. Can't take sacks, can't throw interceptions, can't win a football game going basically five turnovers to basically one. You have to call the Jake Hartbarger where the ball snapped high, it's gonna fall on a turnover.

 

You're not going to win a football game like that. So when you look at it, we have to recollect ourselves, our destiny is still in our own hands just like the Nebraska situation last year, when we lost, we ended up playing all the people we needed to play to get that championship game, which is the Big Ten Championship game.

 

People have been saying a lot of good things about us lately, and now we'll take some shots. And I think that that's usually the case in these things, and we gotta regroup ourselves. Like I tell our players, you can always, always get worse. So we're going to pick ourselves up and get ready to go and play Indiana, and that's the nature of it.

 

On what you can learn from the fumble recovery play...

Well I think that first of all, I thought we came out second half and we were sort of energized, we were moving the football a little bit, and boom that happens, you know, we got to recollect ourselves. I've said all along, we're still developing an identify of who we are. And you know, sadly, it went in a different direction today. But that's when we find out who our leaders are. And we're going to be defined by how we handle our problems, I don't think there is any question about that. We're going to find out who those people are that step up. We gotta keep playing hard.

 

I mean really, they made some plays in third down, but, the reality is, they get the ball and then had one drive in the second half. The rest of them, sort of, the points were handed to them. But, you know, on the flip side of things, you have to be able to move the ball. You can't win a football game easily by scoring two field goals. That's the nature of it. Or, can you win it when you turn that ball over in the red zone? Either way, we'll end up coming. And those things happen, in both areas. I think you have to congratulate (Alex) Hornibrook, I thought he played very, very well. For a guy, his first time out, playing as a starter, big game, put the ball on the money and he made some great throws and they made some great catches.

 

On Tyler O'Connor being off today...

Well you know I think that it's hard to say because there's a lot of situations in the game, so you try and remember those situations as you're standing up here. But I think the combination of pressure by him and people behind the chains, the combination between good man to man coverage and good press coverage by them. And I think they did a nice job, the corners did a nice job. Always things get related to this. So you really have to watch the film to say, okay we couldn't do this and this was the reason. Or you couldn't do that and this is the reason.

But I thought every time it sort of just ended up empty. If we got down the field, across the 50, something would happen, and set us back. Whether it be a holding call, whether it be something, a pick, or something of that nature. We just couldn't get over the hump. That was frustrating.

 

On not having Riley Bullough on the field...

Well you know, I thought Shane Jones played pretty well. But we stopped, we played pretty well against the run. Some of the running yards came in third down, in two minute situations before the half. But, I thought we played pretty well in that area. And Riley is playing linebacker, so I think the situation is a little bit more with the corner route, and number 7 not being covered. They got around us a couple times.

 

I think Riley, from the sideline, did a great job. Those are the things that you have to deal with, that's all a part of this. A couple of the players have not played, and we're still good. So that's not an excuse.

 

On what challenges faced over the last 10 years, because this isn't normal for MSU...

 "It's never as bad as you think it is and it's never as good. I think that's the nature of things. And if you look back at things today and you hold on to the football and all of the sudden we'd gone down and scored, it would have been 13 all. The game changes.

 

 "But, it sort of is what it is. I don't think that the game flip flopped drastically because of our abilities. I think we made mistakes. They forced us into mistakes, and they should be congratulated for that. The mistakes were made, and you can't overcome those types of mistakes. Some of it, you've gotta snap down. Things happen.

 

 What Dantonio saw from Shane Jones and Byron Bullough...

 "I thought Shane played pretty well at the end. I thought we stopped the run effectively, we got into third long yardage numerous times. We either stopped them or they hit one. But I thought Shane played pretty well, but again, you have to watch the film really to really see. But I thought he played solid.

 

 On what Wisconsin did that Notre Dame did not...

"Well I wouldn't even bring up the Notre Dame situation, I would say more or less that Wisconsin played good, fundamental football. They come in to the football game, we talked about that all week, how they've got both hands on you up front. They know what they're doing, and they do it very, very well. They have a system, and they do it very well.

 

 "They were first in the nation, in some certain defensive categories last year, were up in the top five. But they have a system, and they played it. I thought their corners played very well, I thought their whole secondary played pretty well. Again, you gotta go watch the film but that's what they did. You know, I think they're a good football team.

 

 On QB competition with Lewerke/O'Connor still in front?...

 "I don't think that all of the sudden we say because these things happen we go against that. I do think it was important that we see the work he played, I thought that we needed to get him in there and watch him get his feet on the ground a little bit, so we wanted to do that. Did not play Damion, but he was a little banged up so he didn't play.

On the defensive front...

I think we needed to play those guys on defense, and we wanted to play them earlier. You're always going to be hesitant to play them, but they're good players. If they are going to go out and gain game experience, then we need to play those guys. With our situation, with bringing some graduate transfers in here, we are going to lose those guys. We need to have guys with game experience coming back. They're outstanding athletes, and they're big and physical and had game experience, so they could get their feet on the ground. We should have played them earlier, but the way the game was going there were a lot of quick defensive series. Our defense would go on and then our offense would be right back out. We took the step across the line so now I think the idea of "okay let's play them" is off the table. We're going to play them.

 

 On players holding fists up during national anthem...

I've said all along and talked to our players, that to me, we talked about this three or four weeks ago, your patriotism and faith are sort of the same thing. That's your choice, and it's influenced by what you have experienced in this world. So whether someone salutes, puts their hand over their heart or does something else, everyone has a choice to make. We're in college, our young people are in college and I promise you one thing - that when the flag is presented in some respect, I guess it becomes much more important now. It's not just, "oh by the way here is the Star Spangled Banner." There are decisions that people have to make and as long as it's done in a peaceful way, this is America. That's what the flag stands for. You get to do what you need to do and that's the beautiful thing about this country. At this point in time when the true enemy comes I guess we will all stand together, but I can't make assumptions for our players on what they've gone through in their lives. All I can do is try to lead the best way I can and be positive and accepting to our football team and our players. And when we come together after the national anthem, we come together in solidarity.

 

 On switching quarterbacks ...

I don't know. Things were coming pretty fast. We were down there and I told him we were going to kick a field goal and an onside kick. We were up 36-7 last week in the same situation. Four minutes to go in the third quarter. All of a sudden the complexion of the football game completely changed. We kicked a field goal, we were down by 21. Throw the pick, try to go on first down. Go for two, probably and then try to get it to a one score game. We were just thinking positively at that point. I don't think you abandon somebody when they are having a tough day. I didn't want to do that. This hasn't become a quarterback race. That is not the issue. We will play through the pain a little bit here and see what happens.

null

Spartan Nation Top Stories