#5 Stanford Cardinal vs #4 Michigan State Spartans
Wednesday – January 1 – 4:00 PM
Rose Bowl – Pasadena
The “Granddaddy of Them All” comes in with much hype and perhaps will be the most exciting game to watch outside of the national title game. It is a traditional matchup between the conference winners of the PAC-12 and Big 10. The added bonus is that both schools are ranked in the top 5. Stanford made it back for a second consecutive trip (they beat the Badgers last year) while Michigan State is making its first trip since 1987 (they beat USC that season). In short, this game should be sensational.
It’s a fact, this Cardinal team prefers to run the ball versus passing. Quarterback Kevin Hogan will be facing a stingy Spartans defense. In seven regular season games Hogan attempted 20 or fewer passes. For the season he put up respectable numbers: 2,487 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. When he does put the ball in the air it’s usually a big play. Therefore the offensive line will need to open up the running lanes for Tyler Gaffney. The 6’1″ 221 pound bruiser has speed and will have some long gains. Junior wide out Ty Montgomery from Dallas is the go-to receiver and will be targeted as needed. Stanford’s defense is one of the best in the game ranking 10th nationally.
Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans have had in many senses a magical season. Their lone loss was early in the season in a close one to Notre Dame. They did pull off the upset win in the Big 10 championship game against an undefeated Ohio State team. When it comes to offense, Michigan State leaves much to be desired. Helmsman Connor Cook will manage the offense. His passing numbers are very similar to that of the Stanford quarterback: 2,423 yards with 20 touchdowns, but only five interceptions. Expect running back Jeremy Langford to pull the horse that pulls the sled. He’s got some girth and will run over defenders all day. For the season he rushed for 1,338 yards and 17 touchdowns. Bennie Fowler leads the team in receiving with a paltry 525 yards and six touchdowns. On defense they’re ranked 4th nationally however they will be with linebacker Max Bullough for violating team rules.
Prediction: Stanford wins in a close one 17-13.