Postgame Quotes: Wisconsin vs. Michigan State


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ON WISCONSIN

Oct. 27, 2012

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Postgame Quotes
Wisconsin vs. Michigan State
Oct. 27, 2012 - Camp Randall Stadium

Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema
BIELEMA:  Give credit to Michigan State obviously to pull out another game like that at the end. I thought our guys invested a lot into that game during the course of the week, players, coaches, everybody involved, and, to go nine straight weeks and then to be on the verge of getting everything back to where we wanted to be is difficult to swallow, but it’s probably a good time for a bye week to get ourselves healthy from an injury standpoint. Don't know anything further on Joel (Stave), it was a left shoulder injury, and we'll get some information out when we can. But I thought we played really well defensively, did a heck of a job until the final few minutes there but kept putting our defense out there trying to play a field-position game.

Give credit to the critical field goals, Kyle French, and obviously getting that last touchdown was difficult and I know our guys will get better and hopefully move forward here in a short fashion.  With that I will open it up.

Q.  On the drive after the fumble recovery, were you guys trying to set up the field goal on the third down play?

BIELEMA:  Yeah, we felt better with the field goal from the left hash and that's the one where he tried to cut it back inside and we had gotten in that formation a little earlier in the game and thought it was going to be there and obviously didn't convert but just get ourselves into a field goal position.

Q.  What was your take on the holding penalty?

BIELEMA:  I think it was on Sam honestly, I saw it as the play happened.  I didn't hear an announcement.

Q.  How much did the offense change when Danny came in?

BIELEMA:  Yeah, I mean, obviously you have a plan with Joel (Stave) and it really didn't matter what quarterback was in there but the change of the quarterback changes the game itself. It didn't change anything play-wise or anything like that; it’s difficult spot for him to come into, let Danny (O’Brien) handle it. The plays that hurt us in retrospect were the negative yard plays, we can't play behind the chains and that was causing us to play off rhythm and not get ourselves into a position to have success on third down.

Q.  On MSU’s game-winning touchdown in overtime:

BIELEMA:  The game winner, it was a slot receiver, and I don't know if he did a double move but I know we were playing, talked about slant game but I don't know if that guy did a double, broke it back outside.

Q.  On the snap over James White’s head:

BIELEMA:  Yeah, on the play (we thought) that hit was going to be a big hit, they had adjusted it a certain way and looked that way and that obviously took momentum on that play to turn around and turn it into a second and whatever it was. Felt good about that, going into the game plan, obviously it didn't work there.  That's a shame because that was probably a big hit if we would have been able to execute it cleanly.

Q.  On the decisions to take the play or the penalty twice:

BIELEMA:  Well, the first one I can't remember the exact semantics, but it was either going to be    they told me originally the reason it went back and forth they told me it was going to be a spot foul which means where we tackled them they were going to tack on 10 yards on top of that and then they turned around and said no, it was a difference of 4 yards, and then the last one in the fourth quarter it was either going to be second and 18 or first and 25 so we took the second and 18.

Q.  On the struggles in the run game:

BIELEMA:  Yeah, you know, obviously give credit to Michigan State.  We thought they would be able to … we knew it would be a tough task but we were never able to get anything going on the ground and anytime that happens for us offensively it's never going to be a good day.

Q.  On the play of Joel Stave:

BIELEMA:  I don't know what his numbers were when he left the game but he definitely threw the ball, we've been on him to try and get rid of the football when he's feeling pressure.  I can't remember the exact semantics of the play he got hurt on but I know they had him covered up and he just wished he could have gotten rid of the football quicker.

Q.  (No microphone.)

BIELEMA:  You know, they did obviously … made some nice adjustments, we gave up that play that Jimmy just talked about, you had them backed up second and 18 and I think it was a Z stutter, came underneath No. 2 and hit a big play like that obviously hurt us.
And the original touchdown to get 'em into the overtime was a shovel pass we defended for a second but then it came in behind it.

Q.  On the play of Kyle French

BIELEMA:  Yeah, you know, he's really … I would say over the last two or three games built his confidence and we all knew the Purdue game wasn't great but didn't falter, didn't waver, he's a sophomore getting better and we're a young football team that unfortunately has to go through life lessons, learning experiences, but that will only make us stronger in the future.

Q.  On the mood in the locker room …

BIELEMA:  Very tough, very tough, you know, it's a … I think this group after what we've been through earlier in the year felt they were on a mission to get to a special place and those things are still in front of us.

I think the options that we had before today are still there as far as getting to where we want to be but we just like winning.  7-2 sounds better than 6-3, so we’ve just got to make sure we don't lose anybody along the way, be smart, take care of ourselves, get ourselves healthy and take advantage of the bye week as best we can and get ready to play on the road at Indiana.

Q.  On the sack of O’Brien at the end of regulation …

BIELEMA:  What we wanted to do is have a positive play and we had the next call already in but when we got backed up, I didn't want on put ourselves into a position to convert that third down play so there is another one where you want to get rid of the football when that situation pops up.


Junior OL Travis Frederick
On the team’s performance:
“The difference is the matter of the amount of mistakes we made today. I obviously had several mistakes myself and you just can’t win when you’re behind the chains.”

On self-inflicted mistakes by the offense:
“I think they had a really good plan coming in. They have tremendous athletes and just the way that we fit up against them, it just didn’t work against them.”

On whether the Badgers’ struggles running and protecting the quarterback was a credit to MSU:
“I think it’s a little bit of both. I think they played very, very well. They’re very talented, especially at the linebacker position. I think they had a very good game plan coming in, as well. But we also made a lot of mistakes and we can’t win with sacks and things like that.”

On the disappointment in the locker room after the game:
“This week I think, with it building up the way it did, with the bye week and long stretch that we had, I think a lot of guys were hanging on by a thread with their bodies and trying to get that. But knowing we were going to have a week off next week, I think a lot of guys really put everything they had into this and really hung themselves out there.


Junior RB James White
On the mood in the locker room after the game:
“I mean, we’re all sad about it. We had plenty of opportunities to win that game and we just didn’t finish it out.”

On whether there was a spark the offense lost when Joel Stave went down:
“No, I don’t think so. Danny [O’Brien] practices with the ones sometimes too, so we just weren’t executing the offense.”

On “playing behind the chains” and whether that was the reason the Badgers lost the game:
“It’s part of the reason maybe. There were plenty of reasons why we lost the game. But, definitely, putting ourselves behind the chains, you can’t really get the ball moving. You have to change the play call when you play behind the chains.”

On his touchdown run that was called back because of a penalty:
“No, I didn’t see it until I turned around. It was just unfortunate, but we still had opportunities and we still could have put the ball in, but we didn’t.”

On why the team thought they had a great chance on the play where the ball was snapped over his head:
“The corner ran with Montee [Ball] on the motion, so I’m pretty sure the tight end couldn’t hook around to the outside and it was going to be an outside run to the left. So it looked like it was going to work.”


Junior WR Jared Abbrederis
On what the difference was in this game:
“We just couldn’t ever really get anything going. We got behind the chains there on first down. We beat ourselves. Obviously we scored a touchdown and it got called back because of a penalty. Just things like that; we just kind of beat ourselves and got behind the chains.”

On the reaction of the team when Joel Stave went out and Danny O’Brien came in:
“We have trust in each other. He came in and he did a good job for us. We just weren’t able to get things going. Hats off to Michigan State, they have a great defense and played well.”

On how critical at the moment he realized the called-back touchdown was:
“We had a couple penalties on that drive if I remember. So we definitely knew the importance of it and wanted to get a touchdown, but we came off with a field goal. But our defense played great all day, so it was just a shame we didn’t put more points up on the board.”

On if the team got too conservative offensively at the end:
“I think we were attacking as much as we could. (The Spartans) have a great defense. We didn’t take as many shots as I think we did the first half, but I definitely feel like we had some calls. But just like I said, we got behind the chains on first down and it’s hard to call shots when you’re behind the chains like that.”


Junior LB Chris Borland
On the feeling of the defense after the game:
“I think guys were frustrated. We put forth a good effort but didn’t execute when we needed to. As you can understand, the guys feel pretty bad after that loss.

On whether next week’s bye week is coming at a good time:
“There are pros and cons to it, but we do need to get healthy, so it’s good from that aspect.”

On how he thought the defense played:
“I Thought we played well except for that last drive of regulation. They hit us on a couple of passes and it really hurt.”

On the deciding overtime drive for Michigan State:
“They executed well, they protected well, and the quarterback saw it and made a play. They executed and we didn’t.”


Senior RB Montee Ball
On the running game’s lack of success:
“It was very tough. (The Spartans) are a great defense and I felt like the plan was perfect coming into the game, but we just didn’t execute.”

On the quarterback switch after Joel Stave’s injury:
“Obviously we didn’t want Joel to get hurt, but we know that Danny (O’Brien) can come in and get the job done, and I felt like he did a good job.”

On the offense’s execution:
“I believe that everyone, including myself, didn’t execute everything correctly. We’re going to make sure we watch film and keep our heads held high because we still have everything to play for.”


Senior CB Devin Smith
On his feelings after the loss:
“It’s really frustrating. I think everybody; we all played our hearts out. To not be able to capitalize and get a win at the end of the game, it’s really devastating. Especially being a senior and this is the last time I’m ever going to play Michigan State, and the second-to-last game at home. I think it’s disappointing we weren’t able to finish that game.”

On what changed for the defense during the last two Michigan State drives:
“Overall the changes that were made were just adjustments by (Michigan State). They were able to adjust on a lot of things we were doing. We pretty much had the same defensive scheme going on throughout. They made great adjustments and were able to capitalize on a certain things.”


Junior TE Jacob Pedersen:
On the mood in the locker room:
“It was as tough as you expect it to be. That’s one we feel we should have had, but give credit to Michigan State. They made plays down the stretch when they needed to and we didn’t. Tough loss going into the bye week, but we’ve got to bounce back and get better.”

On whether UW’s offensive struggles were due to good Michigan State defense:
“If you look at the whole game, it’s a defensive standoff. They came in highly ranked, and it goes to show that they’re definitely a good team. They didn’t give us much, but when they did give us stuff, we kind of killed ourselves. We’ve got to be able to capitalize on those plays, but give credit to them, they’re a good defense.”

On whether a spark left the offense when Joel Stave got hurt:
“No, both he and Danny (O’Brien) take reps in practice. We’ve played with both of them. We’ve got all the confidence in the world in Danny. Hope Joel makes a fast recovery, but we’ve just got to make plays.”

On whether he ever thought seven points would be enough to win the game:
“Seven points is never enough to win a football game. This (game) proves it. We needed more points on the board. We thought we had a couple good plays in there -- we had that one that got called back -- but we’ve got to get more. We’ve got to get better.”  


Junior QB Danny O’Brien
On what he saw when he took the field, and how it was different than what he saw from the sidelines:
“I think as the game went on, they did pressure us more. A lot of different blitz looks with some tricky coverages behind it. But we kind of knew that. As the game was winding down I believed they were going to blitz us more, try to get a turnover. It was kind of a field position game all day. We didn’t turn it over, but at the same time we’ve got to make some plays.”

On how it feels to get into the game but fail to deliver a win:
“It’s tough. But I think there are two things you can do. You can point to ‘I didn’t get reps all week, I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that’, but at the same time, that’s the life of a quarterback. You’re a play away at all times, and today showed that. I felt like I was ready in terms of what they were doing, and we had a good gameplan. Again, we just didn’t execute, and we’ve got to score touchdowns in the red zone instead of field goals.”

On whether he felt like the offense ever got into a rhythm in the second half:
“It was tough. That’s a good defense. You’ve got to give some of the credit to them, but at the same time, we’re a good offense and we know that we left some plays out there, be it on the line, the receiver or myself. We’ve just got to make some plays.”


Senior DE David Gilbert:
On the mentality of the defense on Michigan State’s final drive of regulation:
“It was just the mentality that we had to finish the game on defense, be strong on defense. We knew this was going to be a defensive game coming into it, but at the end of the game, ultimately we didn’t make enough plays. We didn’t want to go into overtime with these guys -- that was our mentality.”

On whether the defense tired at the end of the game:
“I don’t think so. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses.


Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio
Opening statement:

 “Very exciting locker room and exciting for our football team right now. I’m very exited for our team. I thought, obviously, we played very well defensively pretty much throughout the entire football game. Offense made plays down the stretch when we had to make it; we had some missed opportunities in the first half. We were sitting there with three points really until the last minute of the game, so credit Wisconsin certainly. They are a great football team and this is a very tough environment to play in, but I’m really happy for our football team, very happy for Andrew Maxwell. To be the quarterback and take the ball down the field at the end of the game and score, I think that’s what you dream of and then to come back in overtime and win it like that, those are the things. It was very fitting it went to Bennie Fowler. Every football team every season has defining moments, one way or the other, and I think it sort of defined us a little bit today. We’ve been close … and what I’d like to say I guess is basically, hey we’re not going to quit. I said that last week, we won’t quit on people. We’ve always hung in there and that’s a tribute to our team leadership on our football team and our chemistry as a group of people and individuals.”

On the game-tying drive in the fourth quarter:
“I think that Maxwell was sharp, he hit a couple of passes down the chute, down the middle there, and great play calling by (Offensive coordinator Dan) Roushar there. Then he got hot on the out-cut. I think he stood in there under pressure and then we were able to run the ball a little bit in the overtime possession there … I didn’t even see it. I just knew that everyone was jumping up and down, I figured we completed it, it was a touchdown. Exciting for our football team.”

On Andrew Maxwell’s performance down the stretch:
“Certainly to have Dion (Sims) back in there gives us a positive and he makes a big catch. Really they had about three big third down plays there in that drive as I remember. I don’t know it’s all sort of a blur, a little bit of a blur for us a little bit but great drive.”

On the Spartans’ defense:
“The majority of (Wisconsin’s) running comes from their great tailbacks, from Montee Ball and from James White and from Melvin Gordon. That’s 200 yards a game, so we stopped the run. Coach (Pat) Narduzzi and his staff do a great job and, as a defensive coach, I take great pride in that. I think what we did was stop the pass as well in the second half. (Joel) Stave’s very sound, I think he does a great job under pressure. He’s relaxed under pressure and can deliver. I’m sure that that hurt them because you know he was the guy that was in charge at that point in time for them, but our guys just kept playing. We just kept playing. We just said, hey, push them, push them back way back, I guess. We just kept playing and our guys had enthusiasm, they had a lot of confidence at that point.”

On the defense’s response to MSU’s late fumble:
“I think the defining moment of the game in terms of the overall picture of that game, because you have to play it as they come, but when we fumbled the football and they get it on the 18 or whatever it is and we hold them to three, that’s big. It at least puts us one score from tying it. Had they kicked a field goal, it obviously would have been much more difficult, I mean had they scored a touchdown.”

“When you go through tough times, it makes you a little bit resilient and you’re close. We’ve been close, we’ve been a play here, a play there and we just need to come up with those plays. Somehow, someway at the end of this game we came up with the plays. It wasn’t just one guy, it wasn’t just the touchdown throw at the end of the game. It was a number of people making plays offensively, defensively throughout that last you know five, six minutes of the game, seven minutes probably.”

On stopping Montee Ball:
“We do what we normally do, but we do a pretty good job identifying who’s what and trying to stop what they do best. A lot of the things they didn’t even do, they change up just like everybody changes up. But what you have to do is be able to tackle in space, get off blocks you know obviously we pressure some. I just think we had out motors running again which we’ve had really all season long.”

On Andrew Maxwell:
“I’ve got a very confident young man on the field and the guy that was going to step up and go. I felt that coming out the second half. I think sometimes when you’re a young player you just don’t want to mess it up, let’s just not mess it up. You can’t do that with the quarterback position, you have to go at it. I think that’s what he did the second half. Even if we had just had three points he was going at it. The throws were there, they were on target. I thought he did a great job scrambling. Really excited for him and for his family and for our Spartan nation.”

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