Dantonio: "You live with what happened."

"When you lose a close game like this, you know, you come in and you feel like you could have won the game. Nobody's hanging their head, we're not going to allow people to hang their head," coach Mark Dantonio said. "This is a long season, win or lose, this is a very long season. This is the first game in the Big Ten conference and we're a 4-1 football team."

MADISON, Wis. – Despite leaving Camp Randall Stadium without a win, coach Mark Dantonio got a better feel for how his Spartans will match up against Big Ten competition.

"Very, Very proud of our football team, you know, it's not perfect, we're not perfect, but we're playing," Dantonio said at his post-game press conference.

The four-quarter effort of Michigan State was nearly enough to topple top-10 ranked Wisconsin, but they fell just short 37-34.

"When you lose a close game like this, you know, you come in and you feel like you could have won the game. Nobody's hanging their head, we're not going to allow people to hang their head," Dantonio said. "This is a long season, win or lose, this is a very long season. This is the first game in the Big Ten conference and we're a 4-1 football team and we need to live with that knowing we could have been a 5-0 team, but give credit to Wisconsin. They made some plays, and so we're going to regroup."

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of such a close game came with the five fourth-quarter penalties. But Dantonio said some of the yellow flags might be understandable. Take, for instance, the late hit on Wisconsin quarterback Tyler Donovan called against Kellen Davis on a third down.

"We'll have to look at that one," is all Dantonio would say. "In the heat of the game, guys, the heat of the game the whistle's blowing and you're playing. These are split-second decisions by refs and by players both and you know, we're going to play aggressive football."

Dantonio said he understands many penalties come from effort and hustle and not from a lack of discipline, so he tempers any criticism.

"People are trying to make the right decisions out there," he said. "I don't criticize too much publicly."

The same goes for Chris Rucker, Dantonio said. The freshman cornerback was ejected from the game in the second quarter after a skirmish with a Badger wide receiver.

"Chris is a great young man, first of all, and he keeps his composure. So I'm not sure what happened," Dantonio said, adding, "you got to back away from those things, you got to know when to stop."

In the end, though, Dantonio said the final score had less to do with penalties and more to do with execution.

"You live with what happened. It still comes down to making plays . . . At any point in time we come up with a play, one play . . . we win the football game. That's how close it was."


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