By Jimmy L. Wilson, Jr.
Sitting down to write my thoughts on a sporting event is usually an easy thing. However, in the 48 hours since the Michigan State Spartans won the 2014 Rose Bowl with a 24-20 victory over the Stanford Cardinal, it has been difficult. The biggest problem has been figuring out which angle to cover because there are so many different ones.
Part of me thinks that a salute to the die-hard fans is necessary. For the people who have rooted for MSU during the many years of ups and downs. The many disappointments and teams that failed to live up to their potential. The fans who stuck through the various coaching regimes that seemingly could not figure out how to get the Spartans to the next level. The fans who did not jump off of the bandwagon, and finally received their payoff with the victory in Pasadena.
Another part of me thinks honor should be given to the defense for a great season. The defense carried the team in the early part of the season while the offense found its way. A lot of people tried to knock them based on their competition, but any objective observer knew that they were watching a special defense. Their performance against Michigan, as well as in the B1G Championship game against OSU, and the Rose Bowl should have ended any doubt that this was arguably the best defense in the country. It was a privilege to watch them play this year.
The offense deserves a lot of credit too. Many people wrote them off early in the season, and had Spartan fans concerned that the season would be a struggle. However, after Connor Cook was named starting quarterback, Jeremy Langford starting running back, and the receivers started making plays things changed. The offense began to compliment their defense, wear teams down, and finish them off at the end of games. This group was a true test to Spartan fans everywhere, but once they settled in they became an asset that made Spartan fans proud.
The coaches who earned every bit of the raise received prior to the Rose Bowl deserve a ton of credit. The team reflected the calm of head coach Mark Dantonio, and rarely flinched after any errors. Pat Narduzzi headed the aforementioned defense, and has set himself up to eventually be a head coach somewhere. Many people, myself included were upset with the play calling of offensive coordinator Dave Warner. However, he made great strides, and had the offense clicking down the stretch. Excellent job by the entire staff.
Well, it seems like the best way to end this is to thank the 2013-14 Michigan State Spartan football team for a classic season. This was a year that will not be forgotten anytime soon. There is plenty of time to think about the future, but Spartan fans everywhere should bask in this moment for a little while. Great job Spartans. Go Green!!!
*You can follow Jimmy on twitter @JimmyLWilsonJr or send him any feedback about the article to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was printed in the January 12, 2014 - January 25, 2014 edition.