Stanford and Michigan State to square off in the 100th Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena on January 1.
With Stanford's impressive victory over Arizona State and Michigan State's upset of Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game the Rose Bowl matchup is set. This year's Rose Bowl, held January 1st in Pasadena, is the 100th Rose Bowl game and the second consecutive Rose Bowl for the Stanford Cardinal under Head Coach David Shaw. Michigan State, under Head Coach Mark Dantonio, will make their first Rose Bowl appearance since they defeated USC 20-17 in the 1988 Rose Bowl. This year's appearance will mark just the second Michigan State Rose Bowl appearance in 48 years.
In an era of wide open football that features the spread offense and the read option Michigan State and Stanford both run traditional offenses that feature power running games and tough, physical defense. Stanford's path to victory starts with a solid running game under Tyler Gaffney and physic al play on the offensive and defensive lines. The Michigan State Spartans are very similar with one of the toughest defenses in all of college football, combined with a solid running game and an efficient ball-control passing offense. Spartans running back Jeremy Langford ran for 1338 yards and 17 touchdowns this season while quarterback Connor Cook threw for 20 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. The Spartans had six games this season where they gave up ten or fewer points. Their one loss, 17-13 at Notre Dame, featured a Fighting Irish game-winning drive that featured a couple of questionable pass interference calls. A Spartans victory versus Notre Dame would have likely given them a spot in the BCS Title game.
Stanford has a very similar offensive attack to Michigan State. The Cardinal is led by running back Tyler Gaffney who has rushed for 1618 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. Quarterback Kevin Hogan is similar to Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook. He leads a ball-control attack that features high percentage passing. Hogan passed for 2487 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. He's a bit turnover prone, with 9 interceptions on the season.
Stanford reached the Rose Bowl after their 38-14 throttling of the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Cardinal jumped out to a 28-14 halftime lead and their defense dominated the second half as they coasted to victory. Tyler Gaffney started the game with a 69-yard touchdown run, giving the Cardinal a lead they would not relinquish. Gaffney led a balanced Stanford rushing attack that gained 240 yards on the ground to go with 277 yards passing from Kevin Hogan. The Cardinal run defense held the powerful Arizona State rushing attack to just 138 yards on the ground. They'll need a similar performance versus the big and physical Michigan State rushing attack.
Michigan State's Rose Bowl appearance is a result of their upset of second ranked Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game on Saturday night. The Spartans jumped out to a 17-0 lead only to see the Buckeyes roar back and take a 24-17 lead. As they have done all season the Spartans relied on their running game and formidable defense to take back control and score the final 17 points on the game for a 34-24 victory.