September 17, 2011

Cousins: 'We will get back on track'

SOUTH BEND - Michigan State suffered its first loss of the season, but fifth-year senior Kirk Cousins is already looking forward to next weekend's opponent Central Michigan.

"We've got a lot of football to be played still," Cousins said. "We've worked too hard to think that this is over now. We've got tons of games to be played. We are going to be excited for Central Michigan next week and Big Ten play after that."

Cousins completed 34-of-53 pass attempts for 329 yards and touchdown with one interception. The fifth-year senior, however, was disappointed with the inability of his offense to score points in the red zone.
Michigan State was just 2-of-5 on red-zone scoring opportunities against Notre Dame.

"We were down by the 5-yard line twice and came away with no points," Cousins said. "That is tough, you can't expect to win doing that."

The Spartan offense is at its best when there is good balance between run and pass. Michigan State's inability to run the football put an inordinate amount of pressure on the Spartan pasing game.

"We had a little bit of difficulty running the football, but we still have to execute," Cousins said. "We still have to execute but getting behind early made it harder and harder to try and run the ball. We will get back on track and run the ball better next week."

The Notre Dame defense was able to generate consistent pressure once Michigan State's running game was stymied. Cousins was impressed with the way the young Spartan offensive line held up under fire, especially after red-shirt freshman Skyler Burkland was carted off the field with what appeared to be a serious injury.

"They battled and did a great job," Cousins said. "They battled and fought all day against a great defensive line and a very talented defense. I was proud of the way our offensive line played and proud of the way our team as a whole battled. I think we showed a lot of character."

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