In what we already knew was going to be a game of Defense. Michigan State Sophomore Quarterback Connor Cook led the offense for the Spartans for 332 yards through the air and two touchdowns. The second half showed me that the Michigan State Defense was for real. Many of their key playmakers had a handful of interceptions. Not like other teams where one or two players led the team. The team from the Big 10 was swarming all night and making tackles on Stanford Running Back Tyler Gaffney in the backfield causing lost yardage and pushing the Cardinal to pass rather than run, which several times got them into trouble with Quarterback Kevin Hogan throwing long passes that were surehanded catches on the other end, but for Michigan State defenders who played lights out all night.
The biggest stand of the game came on a 4th Down play in the final minutes with Stanford with the ball. Michigan State stuffed the attempted run and sealed the victory over the Pac 12’s Best team all season. Stanford finishes the year at 11-3 after the loss. The Ducks took care of business in the Alamo Bowl. Their record for 2013, 11-2. It will be interesting to see where these two fall in the final rankings of the season. Even more interesting, where Michigan State ends up.
That brings me to another interesting fact. Next season, if you include the home team, Autzen Stadium will host the last three Rose Bowl Champions(Oregon, Stanford, and Michigan State). The latter two teams have solid defenses and playmakers returning. The Ducks will have an influx of new talent with several playmakers looking to play on Sundays and one Defensive player who has a decision to make, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. The Ducks are also looking for some assistants..or assistance. Mainly one, as Defensive Coordinator Nick Allioti coached his final game in the Alamo Bowl.
With two likely Top 10 teams coming to Autzen next season, the first on September 13th with the Spartans travelling to Eugene, the Pac 12’s top team for 2013 has some work to do in the offseason. It will only be a matter of time before the new guy will be scrutinizing tapes of the Rose Bowl looking for an edge over the Spartans. For those wondering about when Stanford visits the Ducks the Pac 12 part of the 2014 schedule is due to be released sometime over the next month.
Some are already calling next seasons matchup the ‘Game of the Year’. Once the dust settles on the 2013 season Monday night and the final rankings are released we may know more. Ultimately it will have to wait until the first few games of next season. With the Cardinal losing in the Rose Bowl the Ducks may enter next season as a favorite to win the conference, and the whole darn thing. I wish we could hit fast forward and get there now. As it stands the Ducks end the year with the better record. There is much deserved time off for the next six months for players and for the fans the waiting may be the hardest part.