October 25, 2009

'We played our hearts out'

EAST LANSING - Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio was pleased the effort, grit, and determination shown by his football team, but disappointed in the outcome of a classic game between Michigan State and Iowa.

"I told them I was very proud of them," said Dantonio, whose team lost on 15-13 when Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi completed a touchdown pass on fourth down as time expired. "There is not a team that we cannot beat on our schedule, and we had to come ready to play today. I talked to them about the inches and that life is full of adversity that you need to respond to."

Dantonio was clearly not pleased with some of the calls that went against his team down the stretch, but the third-year Spartan coach did not criticize the officials during his post-game press conference. Among the calls that Dantonio appeared to take exception with was the holding call on cornerback Chris L. Rucker on a play in which the junior cornerback picked off Stanzi. Dantonio also appeared to be troubled by the personal foul penalty assessed to Jeremy Ware for hit on Colin Sandeman.

"I think I will leave that up to you people," answered Dantonio when asked if he thought the penalty on Ware was warranted, "because I think you guys can document it, you can research it, and you can look at it in slow motion and question it yourself. I got and explanation, but I do not want to share it."

The penalty on Ware may or may not have directly impacted the outcome of the game. That penalty did help extend and Iowa scoring drive that put the Hawkeyes up 9-6. But the Spartans responded with a gritty scoring drive highlighted by a 37-yard gain on a hook-and-lateral, which was followed by 30-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Blair White.

"I just felt like it was the right time in the game to do that because they would be playing soft on third-and-18," explained Dantonio. "They were going to allow us to catch an 8-yard pass and that is what we had to do, and then we had to have some room to get it out clearly. I thought it was an opportune time to do it, so I made the call and it worked."


Click the link below for portions of Mark Dantonio's post-game press conference.

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