It took a heroic effort from the Michigan State defense – one that included an incredible fourth down stand – but the Spartans are Rose Bowl Champions for the first time in 26 years. The MSU defense limited a productive Stanford offense to just over 300 yards on the day and came through with the game’s most important stop when it mattered most in a 24-20 win.
The first quarter belonged to the Cardinal, who ran out to a 10-0 lead on the strength of a 16-yard touchdown run from Tyler Gaffney and a 34-yard field goal from Jordan Williamson. The Spartans were a bit off balance in the opening period, but a two-yard touchdown from Jeremy Langford to open the second quarter got them back on track.
Nearly half of Stanford’s total yardage came in the first quarter, but after that it was all about the Spartans’ defense.
Clinging to a 24-20 lead with less than two minutes to play, Michigan State held on fourth-and-one near midfield thanks to a strong push from the d-line and an over-the-top, leaping tackle from linebacker Kyle Elsworth on Stanford’s Ryan Hewitt. The play pitted strength versus strength, and the Spartans proved to be just a little bit stronger.
The official 2014 Rose Bowl Game DVD is a great addition to any MSU fan’s collection.
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