Up Close: with Michael Bazemore

"We're still optimistic and we know we can't lose any of our games and we have to root for the Indiana's and Illinois' to pull out some big wins. If we win these games and the way the teams in the big ten are playing this year there might still be a chance (to win the Big Ten title)."--Senior defensive end Michael Bazemore

EAST LANSING - EAST LANSING - One of the goals for every Big Ten team is to finish the season strong and send their seniors out as winners. Michigan State is no different and they have a group of fourteen seniors they'd like to send out with their heads held high.

Scout.com caught up with senior defensive end Michael Bazemore to talk a little bit about how his season has gone so far, what his goals are for the remainder of the season and his approach to Saturday's homecoming game - his last one - against Northwestern.

Q: Are you guys feeling a little bit snake bitten?

BAZEMORE: "A little bit, but our players are still high we know we win out the last fives game and finish the season strong."

Q: Has it been tough knowing how much energy they have invested in last 2 games?

BAZEMORE:"Everybody is dangerous in the Big Ten and it's always tough to lose but we just want to get back out there and get that bad taste out of our mouths."

Do you feel the Northwestern offense is similar to Michigan State?

BAZEMORE:"Our coach tells us that they are pretty similar in their scheme and what they do with their offense and try to spread the field out and try to give their receivers the ball"

Q: What are you guys playing for at this point? Is the Big Ten championship a long shot?

BAZEMORE:"The way the season is going there is always a possibility but we just want to win and send our seniors out strong and finish out strong and maybe finish with a bowl game; the sky is the limit."

Q:Do you still shake your heads at what happened at the end of the first half (against Ohio State)?

BAZEMORE:"It's over now, it was a mistake and we've got to get over it, it's something that we hangs in the back of our minds and its something that we wish we could take back."

Q:Mental state of the team…team will respond differently this time after two losses?

BAZEMORE:"In the past we used to hang our heads but this year everybody came in and we had a good period. We're ready to work and ready to get some wins."

Q: Does the Homecoming game mean anything more to the team?

BAZEMORE:"We try not to focus on all thefestivities during the week, we just want to go out there and put forth the winning effort."

Q: Have you seen [Brett] Basanez, their quarterback play?

BAZEMORE:"I heard he's pretty good and the offense is pretty good"

Q: Ohio state passed it a lot, and getting to Troy Smith was difficult, so do you pressure Basanez more?

BAZEMORE:"Yeah we have to force him to make some throws and with any quarterback if you allow him time, he will find somebody open."

Q: What is the mindset of the team is at this point? Where do you go from here?

BAZEMORE:"We want to win and keep winning our games and really get the bad taste out of our mouths."

Q: Do you want to prove coach wrong that you're not out of the championship?

BAZEMORE:"We want to prove everybody wrong. It will be an ideal situation and if we win out and if we win out and things go our way we may possibly have a big ten championship."

Q: What kind of a challenge do you think for the defense it is to face a high powered offense like this?

BAZEMORE:"We definitely have to rally and its pretty much on us because their offense is so strong so people are going to focus on us stopping them"

Q: How many points do you think is going to take to win this game?

BAZEMORE:"I won't get into that but we always want to go out there and shut down the offense but some plays are going to happen but we try to not let them score at all if possible"

Q: Your MSU career is coming to a close, can you talk about your career?

BAZEMORE:"I've enjoyed my time here at Michigan State. I've been through some ups and down and most of my memories are positive and I want to build on that."

Q: Are there any negatives during your career?

BAZEMORE:"A lot of the losses over the years, we make [the] mistake [of] let[ting] the game get out of our hands."

Q: When you came here, how did you think your career was going to unfold?

BAZEMORE:"I wanted to come to Michigan State and get an education and get a championship and some big ten rings but you make the best out of your situation."

Q: How did injuries early in your career affect you?

BAZEMORE:"It was always frustrating because you didn't want to ride the bench"

"I feel that I get better every time I touch the field"

Q: You hear its going to be a high scoring game so does that motivate the defense even more to shut them down?

BAZEMORE:"We never want anybody to come into our field and pick up a lot of points; we want our offence to put up a lot of points.

Q: Most people are kind of ignoring the defense in this game…

BAZEMORE:"We are hoping for a very boring defensive game"

Q: What do you remember from the last play of the first half?

BAZEMORE:"Me and some other guys on field goal heard I think one of the coaches yelling field goal team so we ran out there but man and Clifton (Ryan) recognize that it was still third down and we saw some offensive guys on the field so we ran off. So it was pretty much a bunch of confusion."

Q: Are you guys thinking the Big Ten title hopes are over?

BAZEMORE:"We're still optimistic and we know we can't lose any of our games and we have to root for the Indiana's and Illinois' to pull out some big wins. If we win these games and the way the teams in the big ten are playing this year there might still be a chance."

Q: How can you improve the pass rush?

BAZEMORE:"We definitely want to improve our front rush, we don't want to have to keep sending a lot of blitz and we want to keep him in the pocket and make him make throws."

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