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October 2, 2010

Notes and quotes: Post Michigan State

EAST LANSING - Mark Dantonio was scheduled to coach his Michigan State squad from the press box during Saturday's conference opener. Unfortunately, doctors found a blood clot in the head coach's leg that prevented him from making the trip to Spartan Stadium.

That didn't mean he didn't play a part in the Spartans 34-24 win.

"Coach Dantonio addressed the group afterwards," MSU offensive coordinator and interim head coach Don Treadwell said. "We had one of those speakerphones and amidst all the celebration that was going on, Coach D was able to share with our football team of how proud he is of what took place today in terms of our young men's effort and determination and all the things a head coach would want."

Addressing the team after the game seemed almost like a given based simply on the amount of interaction Dantonio's had with them throughout the week. But it seems he also had an impact during the game.

"I don't know how much (contact) I had, but I think at times some of the assistants potentially had some contact with him," Treadwell said. "I don't know if it was amidst in times of a series or at halftime, I don't know all those particulars.

"He was involved as much as he could be, absolutely."

So who made the executive decision to go for it on fourth and goal from the one with a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter?

"I think we would seek to hear any comment from Coach D, but it would have to come at the right time and ahead of time for us to do it," Treadwell said. "Other than that, we were going to go forward offensively for whatever we thought at that point in time and just work to execute it.

"I think Coach has taught us that if we don't get a verbal cue from him we are going to go to play for the win and that was kind of the mindset in terms of those calls at those times."

UW Team Notes:

-Wisconsin scored 10 points off two Michigan State turnovers. In their last two games against the Spartans, the Badgers have scored 31 points off MSU turnovers.

-UW forced three turnovers for the first time since Nov. 7, 2009, at Indiana.

-Michigan State led the time of possession category by a 36:23 to 23:36 margin. It was the first time this season Wisconsin did not hold the ball longer than its opponent.

-Wisconsin has five interceptions against Michigan State quarterbacks in the last two games against the Spartans

Individual Notes:

-Cornerback Niles Brinkley recorded his first career forced fumble, while also registering a career-high eight tackles.

-Running back James White has run for six touchdowns in the last two games.

-Kicker Philip Welch matched a season-long with his 49-yard field goal in the second quarter. He is 4-for-5 this season on attempts of 40 or more yards.

-Defensive end J.J. Watt recorded a career-high 10 tackles. He also posted his first sack of the season while adding 2.5 tackles for loss and a pass defended.

Quotable:

-Brad Nortman on punt that was returned for a touchdown:

"I just miss hit it. We went with the wind that time, and I tried to kick it too hard. I didn't get it how I wanted to and it was too low for a returner like that. So, he made us pay.

-J.J. Watt on loss to Michigan State:

"Ultimately, what happened is one team played great fundamentally sound football, and at the end of the day, we didn't play too great fundamentally. At the end of the day, that's going to get you beat."

-Watt on losing Big Ten opener:

"It motivates us now. There's nothing we can do about it now that the game's over. So we need to come out, focus on Minnesota and keep that Axe."

-Devin Smith on late first-half touchdown pass to Mark Dell:

"He did a slant and go, and he threw it the outside shoulder. It was a great thrown ball and I just contested it as much as I could. Any other area if he had thrown it, I would've been able to make a play."

-Smith on Michigan State's success on third downs:

"What it really started out with is not being great on first and second down, which gives them the short field on third down, giving them third-and-4, third-and-5. That makes it a lot easier for them to complete passes on quick routes so they were able to maintain their drive the whole time."

-Aaron Henry on second quarter challenge of Dell's touchdown

"I definitely thought he bobbled it. I guess I didn't have the greatest view in the world, but after he caught it, I saw him spin around and he was juggling it.

"Me, I was the main person that was throwing up the bobble signal, but for the most part, the refs, they saw otherwise. The people up in the booth, they saw otherwise. I definitely thought he bobbled it."

-Henry on creating three turnovers:

"If we go out there and consistently make turnovers, we hope to win the game. But sometimes, a turnover isn't enough. Sometimes you've got to get a turnover and score with it. I definitely think with our defense, we wanted a touchdown on defense."

"Oh my gosh, man. Those third down stops were crucial. It pretty much boiled down to them and us. Were we going to get off the field and were we going to give our offense a chance to get back on the field. They made more plays than we did.

"We only forced them to punt one time the whole game. Yes, they did have three turnovers, but when you're punter isn't on the field but one time, I don't think if we continue to allow this, we aren't going to have too many wins."

- Jay Valai on MSU's second quarter punt return touchdown:

"You got a deep breath when you saw the trajectory. But you've still got to make plays. They went out there and Keshawn brought it back to the crib and you've got to give him respect for that."


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