Jake Rudock and Desmond Morgan
Jake, kind of tough sledding for you guys out there offensively. Just talk about their defense and what they did.
“Obviously they’re a really good defense. They’ve shown that through a number of years now and this year. They work hard, well coached, and it’s [mumbles].”
Can you put into words losing that way?
DM: “I mean, it sucks. I don’t know if there’s any other way to put it. Obviously credit to them. They fought through the final whistle and played fought the entire game but yeah, it hurts.”
Desmond, obviously you guys knew how important to stop the run was. What did you guys do to take that away from them today?
“Just played. We didn’t really change anything up too much. You know, we knew that they had the ability to run the ball out of some personnels that normally indicated pass so we put in some things to address that but other than that we just played our base defense.”
It’s obviously a disappointing loss, but just given what you guys have shown this season is this something that you feel like is going to snag you the rest of the way or is this something that really can serve as motivation?
JR: “Can’t let it snag you. Just have to learn what we can learn from this game. Look and remember it’s one game. Obviously it’s very disappointing and hard to look at anything else right now but yeah, you’ve just got to keep fighting. Can’t let one loss lead to two.”
Is there any consolation knowing that it did come down to a fluky play, that you guys did play well enough to win this game?
JR: “As far as I’m concerned a loss is a loss regardless of what happens.”
Jake, any thoughts on maybe some missed opportunities? You had possession right before the half on their side of the field. Is this the type of game where you think about series that might have gone differently?
“Right now I can’t really address that. Obviously every series you want to go down and put points on the board, but that’s not going to happen. That’s not realistic football, so obviously we’ll see on film what we can improve on.”
After a finish like that, what do you tell your guys in the locker room?
“They played their guts out. Played winning football. Overcame so much, and we messed up a play at the end. Have resolve, put steel in the spine, and we’ll move forward.”
Given the fact that your team played so well until the end, is this something that you can use as…I don’t want to say motivation, because that’s the wrong word, but something you can use as a good building point?
“Yeah. There’s so many- so much good, you know. Our guys played big in a big game…overcame so much- calls that were made, calls that weren’t made. Just kept fighting and overcame so much in the ball game and ultimately played winning football. What do you say about the last play? It was unfortunate. Didn’t get the result.”
Why was this the game for Jabrill to see the field offensively and how do you think he did in terms of impacting in all three facets today.
“He did good. He did great in all phases. Big time player, plays really big in the game as he does so often. He played great.”
As you said, you guys played winning football minus one last play that could have gone any way. You guys were in control most of the game- led or tied. How do you talk to your players about the fact that it’s a process, it’s more than one game, it’s even more than one season [as] it’s about building a program?
“Have resolve. Have steel in our spine. Gotta move forward.”
What happened on that last play?
“The snap was low, just below the knees. He didn’t field it cleanly, and looked like then he bobbled it again and kind of kicked it a little bit. Looked like he was trying to kick it while he was in traffic. I mean, you saw it. That about the way you saw it? Very unfortunate.”
[After THE JUMP: “We’re gonna put steel in our spine.”]
I've never seen anything like that in my life, and I hope I never see it again.
Here's your open thread. Go Blue. Beat State.
By Heiko Yang (with Bryan Mackenzie channeling MARK DANTONIO)
Mark Dantonio walks into the locker room moments before kickoff. He scans the young men before him as they fall silent. The stadium trembles around them in anticipation of battle.
“We've been here before,” he begins dourly. “Every time these jokers show the slightest hint of a pulse, they declare themselves ‘back.’ Remember 2010, when Michigan came in ranked and feeling all Big Brother-y? How'd that work out for them? Or when they managed to eke out that one 12-10 win? How did that Return to Awesome turn out in the next couple of years?”
Laughter and jeering fills the locker room.
“They've got their khakis and their hype and their national respect. Media outlets spell their coach's name correctly. And that's cool. It's probably always going to be that way. People see Harbaugh doing the stuff that worked a couple of generations ago and get all excited. But at the end of the day, these are the same players we beat the hell out of over the last two years. This defensive line that everyone is drooling over? It's the same line we busted up for 219 yards rushing last year. This ‘new and improved’ offensive line is the same one against which we've racked up 20 tackles for loss over the last two games. Shilique, are you scared?”
“No sir!” Shilique Calhoun puts on a menacing grin.
“So now we've won 30 of our last 33 games,” Dantonio continues matter-of-factly. “We've beaten Ohio State and Baylor and Stanford... and oh, right, Michigan... and now we're supposed to be intimidated by some new guy because they've shut out three crappy offenses in a row? We're supposed to be cowed by 110,000 wine-drinking hipsters? Tom Brady ain't walkin' through that door. Instead, they've got a guy who Iowa - IOWA - thought was too conservative.”
Another round of raucous laughter. Dantonio motions for silence.
“We might not win this game,” he says, his tone measured now. “There's no hiding that we're beat up. Jack's ankle is basically a toppled Jenga tower. There were six guys in the secondary's position group meetings this week, and only three of y'all were old enough to shave.
“But that’s not an excuse. The people in that stadium don’t need any more reason to convince themselves that we're going away. They've thought that before, too. They’ve predicted it every year since we started beating them.”
Dantonio pauses dramatically as the anticipation builds.
“… But they never learn, do they? Today let’s show them that we’re here to stay. And let’s remind them one more time that pride comes before the fall.”
With a forceful “Spartans!” and a flourish of helmets, the Michigan State football team heads for the tunnel.
Michigan State 14, Michigan 13
By Nick RoUMel
The muffled sounds of the band and the crowd could be heard outside the locker room. Inside, not a word was said as Coach Harbaugh surveyed his young men. They sat, winged helmets on their laps, waiting. They wore the maize pants and blue jerseys of Michigan tradition: none of this bumblebee crap. For 88 years Michigan teams had run through that tunnel wearing the same thing. So they would again, in a few minutes. But first Coach had a few things to say.
“I’m going to tell you what we will not do today. We will not be intimated. We will not play scared. We are not the same team that apologized for poking a one inch hole in their precious turf. We are the 2015 Michigan Wolverines.
“We will not embarrass ourselves or lose our cool. If one of their players decides to try and screw off our quarterback’s head like a bottlecap, we will not retaliate and get a stupid penalty. We will respond by winning.
He paused and glared. “We will play with integrity, and we will pay with intensity. We will protect the ball, and protect each other. These are the fundamentals you learned in pee wee football. You will not forget them today. You will block, tackle, and run on every play until the whistle blows and the ball is in the referee’s hand.
“You will FINISH. You will not quit until your opponent is knocked to the ground, cleared out of the way, or left behind. If you block one man to the ground, you will find another. If you are knocked down on defense, you will get up, chase the play and tackle the runner. If you have the ball, you will cradle it to your body and move. You will not go down if one man grabs you, or two, or three. You will churn your legs and propel your body and you WILL NOT QUIT.
“When you run through that tunnel, there will be 110,000 people going crazy for you. So you can go a little crazy for them. Those people in that stadium –”
Coach Harbaugh paused. “I went to high school across the street. I left, then returned for college. I left again, for a long time. People said I would never return. But I was called back.
“Look around at your teammates. Most of you had never set foot in Ann Arbor until you were recruited here, and you may never return to live. But remember this: the University of Michigan will never leave you. So today, give a nod of respect. Show this town, show this University, show those people – who are here for you, and believe in you - why you came here. Why you chose to wear the Maize and Blue. And why Michigan is not only the greatest University in the world, but the best damned football team in the state.
“Put on your helmets. Wear your uniform with pride. Respect its history, and this great Michigan football tradition. Some say Michigan football is back - but I tell you that it never went anywhere. It was always here: right here in this locker room, out there on that field, and in the hearts of those fans who are about to go crazy for you.
“Now follow me through that tunnel. We got some ballin’ to do.”
MICHIGAN 31, MSU 0