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Postgame Quotes: Wisconsin at Michigan State


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Oct. 23, 2011

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes

Postgame Quotes
Wisconsin at Michigan State - Oct. 22, 2011
Spartan Stadium – East Lansing, Mich.

Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema

Opening statement:
"I would first like to give credit to Michigan State and Coach Dantonio. Obviously they did a nice job and it was a very hard-fought game. Obviously you don't want to see it end the way it did for us, but I'm excited about the way our guys responded in the second half and especially in the fourth quarter. We needed all three phases for us to win today and it just didn't happen at times. Every group had their moment, and to see the look in these guys eyes after the game and to realize I've never been a part of something like that, but we need to take it and move forward. I think our kids will respond appropriately and battle back and be sad for quite a bit, but we have another opportunity against Ohio State next week."

On calling timeouts at the end of the game:
"We wanted to get the ball back. We were right there on a punt return that we thought had a chance to break, and possibly a punt block. If we got the ball back with less than 30 seconds, then we were going to go with the block so we wouldn't have to use the last time out there to stop the clock. Obviously, they converted and had the opportunity at the end. We were going for the win."

On the last play of the game:
"I never even saw the play. They didn't show it and I wasn't watching. I was talking to our captains; I grabbed Bradie (Ewing) and Russell (Wilson). We were playing victory defense so I slipped over to the offense. I think the guy that caught the ball ran out of bounds but he wasn't the first to touch it, so that makes it a legal catch."

On his personnel on the last play of the game:
"It was kind of a MASH unit there at the safety position in that formation. We put three safeties back and Dezmen (Southward) was down and (Jared) Abbrederis had ran that before. We knew we had a timeout, so we were just trying to get everybody lined up and in the right position."

On how his team will respond to a loss like this:
"I'm around these kids every day. Going back to January when we started working, I know these kids are tremendous characters with great attitudes and energy. This will sting and they will carry this memory with them for the rest of their life - and it's going to be difficult. But as coaches, we have to pick up the pieces and move forward and correct the mistakes we made today."

On the performance of Montee Ball:
"Montee is a tremendous character. I haven't seen any stats or what his numbers were but he was running very hard. I thought the second half, in particular, he was really running with some juice and breaking some tackles. He got dinged in the first half, but at halftime he came up to us and told me he was all right. He got cleared for the second half and played well."


Junior LB Chris Borland

On defensive success in fourth quarter:
“It wasn’t really adjustments that we made. We did what we had been doing all game, we just did it better.”

On whether confidence ever waned:
“No, that was a good sign. That’s something positive that we can take from this game that guys continued to press even when we we’re down two touchdowns late. That showed leadership and character. But it still hurts.”

On head coach Bret Bielema’s postgame message to the team:
“He said he knows how we feel and there’s no other option but to rectify it and do what we need to do and go into Columbus next week.”


Senior S Aaron Henry

On if the team can bounce back:
“Most definitely. This is probably the best ball club I’ve been around. Being that we’ve had adversity in previous years and were able to bounce back, this is just another thing we need to grind and get through it. I actually had Bible study about adversity last night. I just simply talked about when adversity comes, whether it’s in football or life, how are you going to handle it? Are you going to believe or are you going to fold the tents. I truly think this ball club is going to believe.”


Senior QB Russell Wilson

On whether Michigan State’s defense rattled him:
“No, not at all. They came up with some plays, we came up with some plays. It was a game that was back and forth and it’s a tough loss for us.”

On how the team will bounce back:
“I definitely believe we’ll bounce back in terms of our leadership. We have a lot of leaders on this team, and not just our captains but some of the other guys as well. We all have to step up and keep believing and keep working. It’s a tough game. It’s the type of thing where when you play great teams, it’s going to be back and forth with adversity. I’m sure we’ll see it again and we just have to learn from it and keep growing.”

On team’s championship hopes:
“I definitely believed it and I’ll never stop believing it. It’s the type of thing where we’re trying to go 1-0 every week. We came up on the short end today, but we have a great team. If anybody says we don’t, they’re crazy. I think we have a lot of talent on our football team, from offense to defense to special teams. We’ll have a lot more opportunities. We just have to focus on Ohio State. It’s going to be a big game for us and a big game for them.”

On the late defensive effort to keep Wisconsin in the game:
“The defense did a great job in the second half of getting us the ball back and giving us chances. We capitalized on those chances near the end. That’s the main thing. It’s a shocker. It’s one of those things where we have a great team with great players and great character and we believe.”

On comeback chances when down 31-17:
“We knew we could make that comeback. All we needed was the defense to make a couple stops here and there to get us the ball back. We made some great, big-time plays and gave ourselves a chance.”


Junior RB Montee Ball

On losing in that fashion:
“It stings really badly. We practiced really hard, we competed and we came here ready and focused. But errors, errors. The blocked punt, the safety and all that stuff just killed us.”

On if he’s ever experienced anything like this:
“Never, never. Once he threw the Hail Mary up, I thought ‘OK, let’s be real here, he’s not going to catch it.’ But, the guy made a play.”

On how to bounce back from a loss:
“Just like what we did last year (after loss at Michigan State). The only thing you can do is move forward. That’s the only thing you can do, you don’t want to go back. Tomorrow we’re going to watch film, make sure we correct our mistakes and move forward. We have another tough game ahead of us.”

On positives the team can take from the game:
“A positive we can take from this is scoring early. In the past couple games we didn’t score right off the bat, so that’s a good thing we did. Getting the ball in the end zone and capitalizing on big plays.”

 On if the comeback was a result of adjustments or better execution:
“Better execution. We were running the same exact plays we were running at the beginning of the game, but we were more hungry and we didn’t want to come away with a loss. Unfortunately, we did.”


Senior OL Peter Konz

On the potential of a rematch in the Big Ten Championship Game:
“I would never want to think about that, because then you start looking past the next game. If tonight’s any indication, you have to do everything right and just focus on one game at a time.”

On how the offense handled adversity:
“We did well. We really stuck to our gameplan and we always battled. As you saw, we were fighting until the very end. There was going to be no giving up and no ‘we’ll get you next time.’”

On the crowd creating communication issues:
“It’s a loud stadium, but our stadium gets loud, too. I don’t think it was that much of a deciding factor. I think it just comes down to one of two plays, and that’s about it.”

On the final play:
“I was pretty confident that our defense would get a stop. Just watching the ball through the air, I had to look up at the Jumobtron because I couldn’t see over our guys. I saw the bat-down and I thought ‘OK, overtime.’ I didn’t realize someone caught it, but once they said overtime, we were ready to go. I thought we had the momentum at that point and there was nothing that could stop us except for that replay.”

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