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November 8, 2014

Mark Dantonio


COACH DANTONIO:  I would like to congratulate Ohio State for a great football game.  Especially Barrett.  I thought he played very, very well.  100 yards plus rushing, 300 yards passing.  They played extremely well.  So congratulate them.
From our standpoint, I think the game, even with three or four minutes to go in the first half, they fumbled a kick off return after we score.  We got a chance.  We go in for a touchdown.  Get a holding call.  Makes it 28‑14, but he takes it off the board and we miss the field goal.
So the next play is a 79 yard touchdown.  So it goes from 28‑14 to 21‑21, and all of a sudden momentum just flipped.  I thought it was pretty equal back and forth.
So, we got to try and counter that.  We came out in the second half, I thought we did.  But the bottom line was we didn't stop them, we couldn't stop them.  And we got to evaluate that and say, was that physical sometimes?  Yeah.  Was that structural sometimes?  Probably yeah.  And was that mental sometimes?  Maybe we didn't get the correct adjustment or whatever the cause was.
So, but have to play better in that area.  Offensively, I thought we played pretty well.  Two times on fourth down, we decided to go for it, which I thought it above been a long field goal.  We didn't come away with production there.
So when you look at those things, that would be the downfall of that area.  But I think our guys kept playing.  That was the important thing to me that we keep playing, we keep our head up, and it's a game, it's a disappointment.  We had big hopes. 
And in this football game, great stage, great environment, great fans, everything you want in a college football game.  I thought it was a great game.  But at the end of the day we got beat and that's what life is.  So we regroup, we move forward, and that's what we have always done.  So I'll take questions.

Q.  After the holding penalty call after the touchdown, the cameras caught you shaking your head there as if you kind of knew you had just given away a great opportunity.  What's going through your mind in a moment like that when you give away points like that?
COACH DANTONIO:  Well, I saw‑‑ you mean when we missed the field goal?  Or after the hold?  Yeah.  Things are happening very fast out there.  So I'm not sure, I didn't see the replay on the hold itself.
But bottom line is they called the hold and we didn't get seven.  And it backed us up.  And we didn't overcome that and we missed the field goal on the next play.  And then I forget really what happened.
They got the ball at the 50 and put number 9 in the slot, didn't recognize it, boom, we're in cover one, and the safeties had to get over to go seam to seam, it was a touchdown, it was a great throw.  A great throw, great catch, and speed of the receiver.  So, all of a sudden they were up by seven.
I think that was a big part of the game, but I think we came out and responded in the second half.  We were right there.
But a 13‑play drive, in the third quarter, where they hit it was third and 23 and they hit the fade.  I think Hicks had him covered, had him cut off, ball was thrown over the back shoulder there.  Great catch by Smith, great throw by Barrett.
So, yeah, they make the conversion, Third and 23, they were getting off the field, and I think we were still ‑‑ I can't remember what the score was, but we were right there.

Q.  Pat talked about Barrett's accuracy being a bit of a surprise.  Anything else they did offensively that caught you off guard?
COACH DANTONIO:  Yeah, I think that ‑‑ I'm not real sure, because we haven't seen film, obviously.  But I think they had some different formation things.
Because they ran the ball more effectively and that's positive for them.  I'm not dissing them, but I thought they ran the ball more effectively with their tailback runs than we were expecting.
Credit their offense a lot.  We had two sacks, but they kept them off of him.  They play‑actioned it and got the ball out really quick.  Really, offensively, they didn't have any turnovers.  They had a turnover on the punt and the kick off return.  So offensively, I thought they played extremely well.  So credit them.  Good plan by their coaches.

Q.  In the Big‑10 Championship game there was a period in the third quarter where they had similar momentum and were rolling around and you guys stopped that.  Is that something that this defense maybe doesn't quite have the same feel for or is it more just the difference of scheme and talent and situations?
COACH DANTONIO:  I don't know about that.  We played pretty well.  But we gave up some explosive plays, too many big plays.  When that happens, it's tough to win.  Those plays sometimes are made by inches.
So that's the game we play and, but, it's tough to evaluate all those things until I think you see the film and you study it and see what happened.

Q.  Did Barrett play better than you expected, better than you had seen him on film at this point?
COACH DANTONIO:  I thought he threw the ball, I thought his arm strength was very, very good out there.  I thought he was very accurate.  You look at ‑‑ he throws the ball for 300 yards and rushes for a hundred more.  And he played very, very well.  He threw the ball well.
And I think, again, they're playing this good, they play‑actioned us and in the pass sets sometimes there was draws and things of that nature.  And they played very well as well.  They ran the big option play, he goes out gate, and that's uncharacteristic, and then they hit another one, too.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH DANTONIO:  Well, that's the thing that we have to evaluate.  For me, especially on the field, it's very hard to see, but there's certain things where they should not have got the edge.  They cracked our safeties some, our backers, and we didn't support off that crack and they got the edge on the defense a couple times.  But probably have to watch and see.  But they outflanked us.  One of the time I know it was structural, we missed a tackle, just had the defense read the other way.  But it's tough to see without the film.

Q.  This is your biggest adversity of the season, you don't do it tonight at midnight, but how do you move forward now when you had so much to play for?
COACH DANTONIO:  Well, it's a disappointment in your life.  We're going to have a lot of disappointments in our lives.  That's what we talk about all the time.  It's going to be how you respond to those disappointments.  Are you going to hang your head and go south or are you going to get up and play better and are you going to get better because of it and how you handle yourself after a loss.
Very easy to coach, be a head coach up here after a win.  Everybody's happy, everybody's happy with you.  But how you respond after the fact is to me sometimes more important.  How we grow on every experience is just as critical.  And so that's what we'll look for and that's our deal.
This is important, I don't want to say this is not important, with all the TV cameras and all the people, but this was a game and as long as our players will play as hard as they can play and play with effort, we're going to deal with it.
I felt that they did that and they kept playing through it and even at the end of the game we kept trying to push it.
So, congratulate them, move on, let's get things back in order here and we'll go next week.  We can't feel sorry for ourselves.  We have a chance to play and try to get number 8.

Q.  You talked about trying to keep the playoff talk away from your players and things like that.  Do you think any of that‑‑

Q.  Yeah, right.  But do you think any of the outside stuff affected them?
COACH DANTONIO:  I don't.  We focused on this game.  We had Ohio State coming in here.  We understand the ramifications of everything, playing them, they got a food football team.  I knew that there would be a push from them, based on last year, that they would be an emotional football team.  I thought they would push back.  I thought it was important to respond to that push back and play through it and come out the other end and regain momentum, basically.
I thought we did that at times and I think the biggest turning point was that big 13 point swing in there.  The way you look at, it might be even a bigger swing than that, at the end of the half.  We had three minutes to go in the half, we go in 28‑14 there's a different feel, there's a different, there's a little bit more like, okay, we got them.  But they get two big plays in that three minutes and so you deal with it.

Q.  You kind of alluded to it, can you talk a little bit with a what revenge I guess is a motivator could be for a team when what happened in the Big‑10 championship last game last year?
COACH DANTONIO:  I think everybody was trying to measure up in football or any sport or anything that you do, they're trying to measure up.  Sometimes measuring up creates that drive and I'm sure that was their, of course, their MO.  They wanted to come in and play well and win.
But that has nothing to do with us.  That's them.  Okay?  How we respond to that and how we handle ourselves all has to do with us.
So that's what happens in every football game.  That's coaching, that's psychology at its finest, that's, you know, team, all that kind of stuff.  Team chemistry, team leadership, all those kind of things.
So it's a loss in November, it was not fun.  It's a drive in November for the championship, that's not fun.  It's disappointing.  But you better, you better get back to doing what you're supposed to do and get better yourself.  You can feel sorry yourself, there's no question about that.  You just have to keep pushing through.

Q.  You mentioned the likelihood that this ends your hopes for a college football playoff appearance.  What do you think about that?
COACH DANTONIO:  I didn't mention that.  I didn't say that.

Q.  Okay.  All right.  Well, what do you think about the way that the four‑team playoff has made us look at these games every weekend and turning these types of games into potential elimination?  Is it good for college football, do you think it's healthy?  Do you enjoy it?
COACH DANTONIO:  I don't think it's any different than the BCS.  No difference.  It generates conversation.  It's good for everybody.  It generates conversation.  You guys have something to do during the week.
So, but the bottom line is, if you win your conference, you win your division, you win your championship game in your conference, good things are going to happen for you.
And that's the way it happened last year.  So we had a great season last year and we're going to have a good season this year.

Q.  Now that you played them, what are the biggest difference between this team and the one that you beat last year in Indianapolis?
COACH DANTONIO:  I'm not sure.  I'm not sure without watching the film.  They're both‑‑ the team last year was a good football team.  But we played better defensively, we didn't give up as many deep balls in that football game. 
I think that the bottom line last year was the quarterback hurt us scrambling the football, he didn't really hurt us running the football.  He was scrambling and getting out and taking a bad play and making a good one.  And then Carlos, you know, he goes for a period of time and then we were able to stop that.
So in this situation tonight, we didn't get off the field, I don't think, with a three and out, which is uncharacteristic.  They controlled the ball.  We did not own the possession time, which is a little bit even more misstating, because there was some big plays there that didn't take long.
And they won the turnover battle.  Which I think we were, when we're plus 2, we're 31‑2 when we're plus two.  We didn't win it this week.  So those type of things.  That's a very good football team and that's all I can tell you.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH DANTONIO:  No, I think you play it out.  Right now the most important thing is that we only have one loss in the Big‑10 and an important thing right now is, don't get two.  And that's what we can control.  We're a one‑loss team right now.  Don't get two losses.
And that starts tomorrow.  So we will regroup and I think that should be what sports teaches you.  Somebody is going to win, somebody's going to lose.  And we'll learn this side of the lesson right now.
But that's life.  I'm not going to sit here and be depressed about it.  So, we'll move forward.  Thank you, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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