New game, same result.
Michigan State (2-7, 0-6 Big Ten) came in with high hopes of taking down Illinois (3-6, 2-4) and ending its six-game losing streak. Instead, the Illini came alive late and snatched a 31-27 win.
Coach Mark Dantonio spoke on the Spartan Sports Network postgame show immediately following the game and had this to say:
On the path of his team: “This is very disappointing. I feel like we’re on this road. We’re walking down this road, and even though we might not be walking all together on the road, at some point in time, you see everybody on this football team on that road. It’s all of us. Somehow we’ve got to finish this thing, and we’ve got to find a way to finish in the fourth quarter, which we almost did.”
On what Illinois did: “Give Illinois credit. They came to win, and they just kept hanging in there. When you keep hanging in there as a football team, you get a little stronger, a little stronger and you start to believe a little bit more, a little bit more. And then all of a sudden, you start making some plays. But to go into a game and run 90 plays to their 56 and have no turnovers,* that’s a tough one. But when you look at the red zone scores, we had to kick too many field goals. We stalled out, pushed out of it a couple times with penalties, and here we sit. I’m very disappointed, obviously.”
On giving up: “I’m not going to do that. We’re not going to do that. It’s like I said to them, you’ve got to look at yourself, got to look what you could do, and you’ve got to figure out a way to deal with it. And you’ve got to get back in there, and you’ve got to keep grinding. I don’t know how many times I’m going to say it, but this is no different than any other job or any other thing. When things aren’t going well for you, you’ve got to keep grinding. If you take the foot off the accelerator and you stop pushing and you stop working at it and you stop having a positive attitude about it, nothing good happens.
On looking forward: “So we’ve got Rutgers next week. I’m sure that’ll be another tough one just by the way things are. Again, I’m very disappointed, and I’m very sorry that this is not happening the way we expected it to. But these are the lessons of life that we all go through at sometime in our lives.”
Sendoff comment: “We’ll be ready. We’ll go back again. Back to the wall.”
* The Spartans did have one turnover. They lost an LJ Scott fumble in the third quarter.