HC Mark Dantonio Postgame Quotes

Michigan State HC Mark Dantonio Postgame Quotes
Nebraska vs. Michigan State
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018

Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening Statement
"Great environment out there today. Congratulations to Nebraska on what they were able to accomplish there. Exciting atmosphere for our players to play in. When you really break down the game, we were down in the red zone I think twice, maybe three times. The drops, we had too many drops. I felt like if I had to point to one thing in a football game, you have to look at the dropped passes. I thought (quarterback Rocky) Lombardi played pretty well. You've got to make some decisions on what you're running, you can't run it all. I thought he played pretty well. 

“Nine out of 20 on third down in the game, 35 minutes of possession time, so there's some good things. Ran the ball 35 times, 36 times or something for about 150 yards, but at the end of the day you've got to put the ball in the end zone and in the red zone. Defense played outside, had a sudden change and they stopped (Nebraska). Also, we had two drives where they had the chance to kick the field goal. 

“So, disappointing but I'm proud of our guys in terms of their energy and their competitive spirit and their toughness. At the end of the day, you've got to get it done for a win. There's such a difference if you win the game 9-6 as opposed to losing the game 9-6. There's a complete flip, it's just like another dimension between winning and losing, and we've got to win."

On scaling back some offensive plays
"I think you've basically got to have a wind play, the wind was blowing out there probably 20 (MPH), maybe more. It was a decisive factor in the game, although sometimes it would swirl in there. Then, it started snowing in the end so the footing got a little bit worse. The wind and the weather was definitely a factor, but I think you scale it back with Rocky (Lombardi) a little bit, he's a redshirt freshman. You want to limit some of the things that you're doing. 

“I think we did some good things as far as throwing the ball down the field. In terms of explosive plays receiving the football I think we had two, both were to Connor (Heyward). One was a broken play, one was a wheel route. Other than that, we had a couple drops, and they're going to affect you. Two drops in the end zone would've resulted in two touchdowns."

On the decision to go with Quarterback Rocky Lombardi
"I feel good about Rocky. He's played in bad weather before, he's from Iowa and the wind is going to blow out there and everything. I thought he was prepared for that. As far as when we made that decision, I just felt we needed to rest Brian (Lewerke) until he was able to settle himself a little bit and settle his shoulder. He could've played though."

On the dead-ball penalties and what he contributes those to
"I contribute that to losing your composure, I would say. I couldn't even see some of them, but they didn't help us. I thought we overcame them for the most part, but they put us in a tough situation. They hit the one pass right after one of them and we held them down there. I can't remember which ones were which, but I know a couple of them just didn't need to happen."

On frustrations with the offense
"I would think if there's a level of frustration, I think it would come from the head coach, too. So, yeah I'm frustrated about points. But, play calling was fine. We've got to execute. There's an execution factor that's involved here. Now, some of it's weather, some of it's them playing, making plays on the ball. Some of it's us. So, you've got to be able to sort it out and look at it and see what the underlying factor is here. But, you've got to score points. We're all inclusive in that, which means it's a football team. We're not keeping score of the offense and defense, it's a football team. We either win together or we lose together. There are teams out there losing 42-41. They're going the other direction in frustration. We're playing good enough defense to win, we got a couple turnovers. We got one turnover and had to move it back because of a penalty. You've got to deal with those things, but again I go back to our effort and our toughness and our energy we bring to the game. I keep saying it to our players, the difference between winning and losing is so small you really can cut it with a knife sometimes. It's also the difference between joy and frustration, and there's enough of that to go around."