Of course it came down to defense, and to the man who replaced Michigan State's defensive quarterback. Fourth-and-1? The Rose Bowl on the line? The beefiest team in college football in your way? Would you want it any other way?
Michigan State fans from across the nation traveled to see their beloved Spartans play in the 100th Rose Bowl Game on Wednesday. But once the clock hit 0:00 and the scoreboard read 24-20 in favor of MSU, there wasn’t anyone with a bigger smile across his face than former Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Things worked out for MSU on Tuesday in State College, Pa., and Los Angeles. The No.5 Spartans dominated the second half with an estimated 27,000 MSU fans watching at a Los Angeles pep rally, winning 79-63 to improve to 12-1 and set up a big one on the road.
You can welcome home the Michigan State Spartans after their Rose Bowl victory today on the East Lansing campus. Fans can gather at the Skandalaris Football Center, where the team is scheduled to arrive at around 7:40 tonight. If you go, make sure you dress appropriately. Temperatures are expected to dip into single digits.
MSU's journey to elite status now complete ESPN
For a year, Mark Dantonio challenged his Michigan State team to find the inches that separate good from great and great from special. Plenty of programs ascend, but most reach a point and then stall. They just can't push through.
Video: Bennie Fowler ESPN
Bennie Fowler talks with Adam Rittenberg about the Spartans' Rose Bowl win over Stanford and what it means for the Michigan State program.
Video: Travis Jackson ESPN
Travis Jackson talks with Big Ten reporter Adam Rittenberg about winning the Rose Bowl over Stanford.
Cook too good to let one bad pass stop him ESPN
Cook, Michigan State's sophomore quarterback, was driving the Spartans near midfield with a little more than two minutes left in the first half and in position to either tie the game with a field goal or take the lead with the touchdown. Instead, he panicked when Stanford defensive back Usua Amanam blitzed him off the corner and he lofted a picture-perfect pass to Stanford linebacker Kevin Anderson, who ran it back 40 yards untouched for a touchdown. It was the kind of play that usually turns the tide of a game. It did. But in a direction that would surprise everyone not standing on Michigan State's sideline.
Stanford beaten at its own game The advance billing for the 100th edition of the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO played the Stanford-Michigan State matchup as a battle of shared football philosophies: two physical, line-of-scrimmage teams that run the ball and play to their stout defenses. In some ways, the media saw this as twin brothers going eyeball to eyeball for a potentially captivating barroom donnybrook ESPN
2014 Rose Bowl Recap: California Love The Only Colors
When Stanford came out in the same jumbo formation before and after the timeout, I didn't think there would be any chance they try a run up the middle on fourth down. They had just been stopped on 3rd-and-2. They had been stopped on fourth down earlier. MSU wasn't giving an inch after the first quarter. Nope. It was a battle of pride on one final play.
Defense seals the deal in Michigan State win Detroit News
From the first week of the season to the last, Michigan State’s defense was the best unit in the nation. Fitting really, that arguably the best Spartans season in the past 50 years rested on the defense’s shoulders in the final minute of the Rose Bowl on Wednesday evening.
Kirk Cousins joins in on fun in Pasadena Detroit News
When Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis soaked in the euphoria of the Spartans’ victory in the Big Ten Championship game last month, he couldn’t help but think of the former players who weren’t there to appreciate the moment. As he walked back to the team hotel from Lucas Oil Stadium that night, he made two phone calls — one to Brian Hoyer and one to Kirk Cousins, both former quarterbacks who came close to getting Michigan State to the Rose Bowl.
Strong recruiting classes have Michigan State fortified for the future Detroit News
The most successful senior class in Michigan State history played its final game for the Spartans at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday, and considering they won a school-record 42 games, it’s safe to say the Spartans will have some holes to fill in 2014. Some are more glaring than others, but the job Mark Dantonio and his staff have done on the recruiting trail the last several seasons has Michigan State more eager about what it will get a chance to see next season than it is worried.
Why the Spartans won the Rose Bowl Detroit Free Press
In a reverse of the Big Ten championship game, the Spartans looked uncomfortable early and fell behind by 10 points twice before taking control of the game. Just as in that title game, MSU scored 17 straight points, taking a 24-17 lead early in the fourth quarter. But the Spartans got conservative from there, Stanford drove for a field goal to get within three — and then came the final drive. It ended with Kyler Elsworth and a gang of Spartans stuffing a fourth-and-1 fullback dive.
After Rose Bowl win, Mark Dantonio says 'my intentions are to be at Michigan State' MLive
Mark Dantonio was asked yet again about the various high-profile, head-coaching openings around the nation, and if he could comment on that? "Yeah, I can comment, very happy at Michigan State,'' Dantonio said, minutes after his Spartans scored a historic 24-20 victory over Stanford in the program's first Rose Bowl appearance since 1988. "That's very flattering, but it would be hard to leave these guys. They make the plays. Would be had to leave all those people out there.''
After 26-year wait, Spartan Nation relishes Rose Bowl Detroit Free Press
Twelve inches. Keep Stanford from getting them and you’ve got a season that defines a program. Give them up and all this green magic out in California might fade away in a haze of Cardinal red. It had to end this way, right? One play.
Michigan State players honor suspended Max Bullough during Rose Bowl Detroit Free Press
Kyler Elsworth and Darien Harris came up huge in relief of linebacker Max Bullough, who was suspended for his final game for an unspecified violation of team rules, in the 24-20 win over Stanford in the Rose Bowl Wednesday. And several players had Bullough’s name and his number, 40, scrawled on their towels.
Rose Bowl win even gets Mark Dantonio excited Detroit Free Press
Mark Dantonio must have made a New Year’s resolution to show more emotion. Especially the happy kind. “That’s about as much emotion as I have ever — and I mean ever — seen Mark Dantonio show,” ESPN play-by-play man Brent Musburger said as the Michigan State coach pumped his fist on the sideline.
Spartans Make Statement With Rose Bowl Victory "I just want to say, that's the Spartan way," said offensive tackle Fou Fonoti, the junior college transfer from nearby Lakewood, Calif., who wouldn't have even been playing in Wednesday's game had he not fortuitously broken his foot last season. "Earned, never given."
Stop for a moment, appreciate what Michigan State just did Detroit Free Press
As the party got bigger and bigger behind him — players and coaches and families piling into the MSU locker room for a last appearance on “Solid Gold” — Mark Hollis took some questions outside it. Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports asked him if there are any reasons a national championship can’t happen at MSU. “None,” Hollis responded quickly.
Spartans overheard from the Rose Bowl: 'Our fans were tremendous' Detroit Free Press
“A lot of our fans had to come fly out here, some drove, some flew, some slept on cots, some spent their last dimes going to this, some got bumped off planes, I’m sure some sat in the middle aisle or middle seat all the way out – connecting, driving some place, connecting back East, connecting here. So they got it done and they showed up en masse, and I thought our fans were tremendous.”
Elsworth's First Career Start Has Hollywood Ending MSUSpartans.com
Kyler Elsworth spent five years preparing for a career that in a manner of speaking consisted of one game. A long-time backup and special teams' maven, Elsworth got his first start in his last game as a Spartan in Wednesday's Rose Bowl against Stanford due to the suspension of Max Bullough. The fifth-year senior capitalized on his opportunity by making the leaping tackle of Cardinal fullback Ryan Hewitt for no gain on fourth-and-1 with 1:43 remaining to seal MSU's 24-20 victory.
Michigan State president Lou Ann Simon 'expected' to get to Rose Bowl with Mark Dantonio Detroit Free Press
Before every football game this season, Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon would exchange text messages with Spartans coach Mark Dantanio and offer encouragement to the team. After the Spartans’ final game this season — a 24-20 victory against Stanford in the 100th Rose Bowl, Simon held a rose in one hand and quarterback Connor Cook’s helmet in the other.
Add Kyler Elsworth's tackle to Michigan State lore MLive
It was supposed to be Kyler Elsworth's moment. Michigan State had just won the Rose Bowl, 24-20, over Stanford and reporters began to swarm to the backup linebacker who made the game-saving tackle. But a guy near the bottom of that pile couldn't help himself. "Don't let him take all the glory," Shilique Calhoun joked, butting in to the interview while giving Elsworth another congratulatory hug.
Kyler Elsworth helps launch Michigan State into history Yahoo
With the game on the line, Michigan State linebacker Kyler Elsworth launched himself into history – literally. Elsworth, who was in his first start, leaped over his defensive line and stopped Stanford fullback Ryan Hewitt from converting on fourth down with less than 2 minutes remaining, securing Michigan State’s 24-20 win in the Rose Bowl.
Michigan State wins 100th Rose Bowl Game in old-school fashion Sports Illustrated
Kyler Elsworth looked up from his linebacker spot and noticed that Stanford's offensive line splits were unusually tight. He read the play. And he remembered what his coaches had emphasized about meeting the Cardinal's runners up top, not down low. When Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan received the snap on a do-or-die fourth-and-one with 1:46 remaining in the game, Elsworth timed his jump and lunged straight for Cardinal fullback Ryan Hewitt. "I was happy [Hogan] handed off," said Elsworth, "or I would have tackled the wrong guy."
No longer the little brother, Michigan State shines in Rose Bowl win Sports Illustrated
"We can play with the elite teams," said Spartans defensive lineman Shilique Calhoun. "We're able to win Rose Bowls and win national championships. That's the next step for us. The national championship is something we're going to strive for next year."
Can the Spartans, who play at Oregon in their second game of the 2014 season, take the next step and win the national championship? "That's our plan,'' Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio replied to the question. "Our plan is to keep winning. Our plan is that we're one game away. I said 'why not us' a couple weeks ago. I think we can compete with anybody in this country.''
The turnover had the potential to be a back-breaker for Michigan State. But Mark Dantonio knew better. He knew Cook had it in him to shake it off and rally the team -- which he did in leading Michigan State (13-1) to a 24-20 victory Wednesday. "Ask Connor what I always ask him when he makes a play that's difficult to — that goes against us: 'Are you all right?' '' Dantonio said. "And he always says, 'yeah, I'm good, coach,' and he gives me a little fist bump and I feel better and we all go our own way, and that's what we did.''
Michigan State's 24-20 victory over Stanford in the Rose Bowl was yet another A+ in terms of the collective effort and impact of the victory — just like the win over then-No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten title game last month.
Things were so bad in the first half against Penn State Tuesday night, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo threatened to keep his team in State College an extra night, with an early morning practice scheduled for New Year's Day. But the team responded in a big way, utilizing the Izzo staples of defense and rebounding to overwhelm the Nittany Lions in the second half and come out with a 79-63 victory.
This Week Keaton And Suzy Recap The Trip To Puerto Rico, And The Game Against Colgate. Also They Look Ahead To The Big Ten Opener Against Minnesota. The Guest For This Week Is Freshman Guard Aerial Powers.
"There's a lot of emotions going through my mind right now,'' Allen explained, asked why he was rubbing his eyes in the press conference. "It's everything I asked for, everything you want as a senior, perfect ending I would say.''
"You know I'm going to stay consistent. I'm going to keep talking about things the same way I always have," Dantonio told the Big Ten Network on the Final Drive Wednesday night. "The difference will be, how many recruits are going to come our way because of this? How do they see us? How do other people see us? How do they perceive us in the Midwest and in Ohio and Michigan and the Chicago area.''
“I feel like I let my team down,” Payne said. “I’m disappointed with the way I played defensively. That’s unacceptable, especially for me as a leader. I didn’t set the tone defensively, and that carried over to the team.”