Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio commented on how the game of football has changed from a safety standpoint and how that may have affected the end of the Spartans loss to Nebraska.
Two controversial penalties were called in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game that cost MSU a chance to win. Johnny Adams was called for an illegal block during an interception return, nullifying a touchdown that was scored by Darqueze Dennard.
Later, in the final seconds, Dennard was called for pass interference near the end zone, setting up the Cornhuskers to score the game-winning touchdown.
Dantonio refrained from commenting directly about his conversations with the Big Ten Conference regarding those two calls, but did share his thoughts on how the emphasis on player safety has changed the way football is officiated.
"I think that when you look at the game of football they're trying to err on the side of safety, but I think the game has definitely changed dramatically in the last three to four years based on all the evidence on concussions and past concussions," said Dantonio. "I think you see a lot more flags on hits out of bounds than you've seen and some of them, right or wrong or indifferent, you can't touch 'em.
"Certainly I don't know how the interference penalty plays into that, but I don't know. These are all tough things, these are things that go on in the game of football and I guess, needless to say, I'm disappointed in them, but what are you going to do?
"It's not going to change the outcome of the game right now, so, the one thing I can control is say, 'These are the things that we didn't do as a football team, these are the things we needed to do as a football team,' and then the other stuff that I can't control, I have to let go."
Quarterback Andrew Maxwell was similarly reflective when looking back at the loss.
"Obviously, it's heartbreaking, and it's heartbreaking because we had so many opportunities to really close it out and put it away on both sides of the ball," said Maxwell. "I know a lot got made about the officials, but we had opportunities to close it out and really not leave it up to a call here or there."
The Spartans return to action next Saturday when they host Northwestern.