It’s been 26 years since Michigan State played in the Rose Bowl. On New Year’s Day 2014, that drought will come to an end.
The No.4 Spartans are set to face the No.5 Stanford Cardinal on Wednesday afternoon in a battle of the Big 10 and Pac-12 title winners. While the Cardinal reached the game last year, the Spartans haven’t won their conference outright since 1987. They clinched the championship in the final game before the bowl season when they upset Ohio State.
"It's going to be a special moment when we walk out on that field," head coach Mark Dantonio said. "When you set down and write down your goals and think about the goals in whatever job that you take or occupation, you're going to have some different things that you want to try to accomplish. That was one of the things we were trying to accomplish."
Michigan State went 12-1 this season behind one of the best defenses in the country. They rank fourth in points allowed, but no team surrendered less rushing yards and total yards per game them the Spartans. They were especially good down the stretch, preventing opponents from getting in the end zone in five of the six contests before the Big 10 Championship Game.
Stanford will try to combat Michigan State’s run defense with their elite rushing attack. In their last five games, the Cardinal are averaging 232.4 yards on the ground. They are led by Tyler Gaffney, who has 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns on the season.
The Spartans have a number of standout players on the defensive side of the ball. However, they will be without one key member in the Rose Bowl. Linebacker Max Bullough has been suspended for violating team rules. He had 76 tackles and was named a third-team All American.
After opening up as 1.5-point favorites, the betting line has jumped to 6.5 points, in favor of Stanford. The Cardinal are 7-6 against the point spread, while the Spartans are 8-4-1.
Player To Watch: Tyler Gaffney
Time: 5:00 p.m. Wednesday
Place: Rose Bowl
Online Stream: WatchESPN
Betting Odds: Stanford by 6.5
Prediction: Stanford over Michigan State, 17-10