Video: Mark Dantonio Nebraska post-game

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio after the Spartans loss to Nebraska.

Opening Statement

“First thing I want to do is congratulate Coach Riley and Nebraska's football team. It was an outstanding win and they just kept playing. With that said, the first thing you've got to say to our football team is how we bounce from the bottom a little bit. We bounced around pretty well at the top but we're going to collect ourselves and understand that our destiny is still in our hands. We control our own fate in terms of winning the East (division) and that's the main thing we've got to focus on now. But it's disappointing the way it went down at the end of course and it shouldn't have. Guys made big plays and when defensively you didn't sack the quarterback, too many huge plays that he (Tommy Armstrong Jr.) created. We had a huge opportunity at the end of the game to come down with an interception. Then the controversial play at the end, but they should have never been down there in the first place. Credit them."


On Nebraska's controversial touchdown

"I got an explanation. They said that the receiver was pushed out of bounds... everybody saw the replay. I'm not qualified for that job. My job is to coach and I'm going to do the very best I can. That's somebody else's job."

 

On the decision to run the end around on 3rd-an-8

"If you throw the ball it can stop the clock if it's incomplete. That's always the risk. We ran on that just because we didn't think they would be expecting it, plus it was going to take a bit longer time to run that play rather than a direct run. I think we had like a 40-second clock and because of the penalty they moved us back, but actually they declined. I can't even remember the sequence of that. It went to a 25-second clock and we immediately lost 15 seconds on the clock. The two plays leading up to it, we've just got to make a play and we were out of position. Players make mistakes along with coaches, especially coaches."

 

On the defense's struggles tonight

"Well we didn't get Tommy Armstrong on the ground tonight, that's the bottom line. We got beat on that post all the way to our hash and then the last one depends on how you see it, we'll see what happens there. The two other plays leading up to that they just need to be prevented. We've got to tackle the quarterback one time. They've got no timeouts left so we need to keep the clock rolling so we max pressured him, he stepped up and got rid of the ball."

 

On whether he expected a down to the wire game with Nebraska's previous struggles

"Well when you say struggles I'd say they've lost on a lot of plays like we just lost on tonight. I wouldn't call that struggling, I would call that not winning at the end of the game. They very much so had a possibility at winning at the end of those games so their record is a little misleading. So congratulations to Coach Riley and his football team."

 

On whether they were sluggish after the break

"We are what we are. They've got a good front four. They've got some guys so don't kid yourself. I don't know. We looked a little off on offense maybe initially but we gained our composure there and threw the ball effectively. (Connor) Cook had some big throws and our receivers had some big catches. We ran the ball okay. We ran it initially very very well. We left some points on the board the one time we didn't get it on a 4th-and-short. Maybe we could hit the field goal there but I felt like we could get one yard. The bottom line is when you don't sack the quarterback and he keeps plays alive and he makes a couple plays with his feet. Bad things start to happen when you don't play the deep part of the middle of the field. That basically sums it up defensively. Could we have played a little better defensively on the run? Probably, but they didn't beat us running the football, they beat us with the deep ball."

 

On the last play of the game

"We were trying to get something fast. We just wanted to go 10 extra yards. If we had got 10 yards we thought we had a shot at a field goal to win the football game. But they got pressure there and we had to hang on to the ball. I didn't know whether there was one second left there or not. I thought maybe there was because everyone was stopping but whatever. There's some things you can control and some things you can't."

 

On losing the game in the fashion they did

"It's no more difficult than losing on a blown coverage or tackle or anything else. Mistakes are made out there whether it's not calling the right defense or not calling the correct offensive play. Everybody is going to take responsibility for this, I can tell you that our offense will take responsibility, the coaches will take responsibility, the defense will take responsibility, every individual player will so there's plenty to go around. With that being said you have to credit the people we played against and I didn't think the officiating lost us the game."


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