Why not us? The Enlightened Spartan: Why not us?

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Why not us?

Glorious.  It was the greatest experience in the history of mankind. 

The #4 Michigan State Spartan football team dominated Stanford in the Rose Bowl, as we Spartans knew they would.  It was very much the same theme we’ve seen out of the Spartans all year, only this time against the best opponent Michigan State has faced all year.   MSU was a six point underdog, as it had been frequently an underdog this year.  The Spartans started slowly, as they had often this year.  MSU spotted Stanford 10 points in the first quarter, thanks in part to the poor decision by QB Connor Cook to throw a terrible pass picked and returned for six. But, the ES wasn’t worried.  Cook rebounded nicely and had yet another career high, this time throwing for 332 yards.  The mix of run and pass by the Spartans was deliberate and effective.

This Michigan State team is the best team in the country.  They proved it again in their most complete performance of the season, and the most complete performance in my 45 years of life.  Quite simply: we’d kick Alabama’s ass. 

As Dantonio stated after the Big Ten championship, “why not us?”  MSU IS the best team in the country.  They really are.  They beat everyone the same way – aggressive defense, an improving offense, and wearing teams down with physical play.  Who’s next?  Bring them on. The Spartans would beat anyone.

Speaking about Alabama…  fifteen years ago, Nick Saban left Michigan State for “greener pastures” at Louisiana State, not wanting to be #2 in the state of Michigan.  Well, Nick, I guess the tables are turned.  MSU is better than your team, and it is the #1 team in the state of Michigan; funny, your Crimson Tide is #2 in the state of Alabama.  That’s karma.

The ES is writing this blog with Keith in Manhattan Beach, and I haven’t even looked at the stats until now.  Why?  Cause it doesn’t matter.  It’s the last game of the season, you either win or you don’t.  The only stat that matters in the Rose Bowl is the score. But… that said, let’s see the stats to learn what really stands out:

1.    The No Fly Zone was in effect:  my god, Michigan State threw for 332 yards; Stanford for just 143 (10-of-18).  It was so impressive, the stadium was roaring “No Fly, No Fly” as the game wore on. Stanford was afraid to throw on its last drive.

2.    Stanford’s drives in the second half demonstrate MSU’s rugged defense:
•    3-13, 1:13, interception
•    7-54, 4:18, stopped on 4th down
•    3-(-1), 2:01, punt
•    3-7, 1:13, punt
•    9-50, 4:46, field goal
•    4-9, 1:23, downs

3.  Stanford’s defensive front was the best Michigan State faced all year – holding the Spartans to just 65 yards rushing, with three sacks; Jeremy Langford had 84 yards on 23 carries (3.7 average).

4.  Bennie Fowler (2-97) and Tony Lippett (5-94) were AWESOME targets for Connor Cook.  Fowler’s 37 yard, reach-back grab, was especially amazing.  These guys couldn’t catch a ball early in the season; yesterday, they caught everything thrown their way.

And, Kyler Ellsworth absolutely deserved the award for Defensive MVP.  His play at the end of the game, diving over the top to smash Stanford’s last hope on a fourth down run, is one of the greatest individual efforts I’ve ever seen.  It was ridiculously amazing.  The best part of it, though, was being in the stands after the play as the 70,000-plus Spartans went ape-shit.  It was pure zaniness.

45-minutes after the game, there were still 70,000 Spartan fans in the Rose Bowl.  Noone wanted the moment to end. 

OK, more later.  The ES just ran into some Spartan fans here at Baja Sharkeez – we talked about the game yesterday, and they agreed “it was the greatest event I ever saw.”  Funny thing is, they also noted “it ruined watching sports for the rest of my life.” 

Well, I haven’t bathed since 4:30 am on Wednesday and my hair is still green.  I might never wash it again. 

Thank you, coach Dantonio and these Michigan State Spartans.  As was the theme of the Rose Bowl, and as sung by Darryl Hall during the Rose Parade, “You made my dreams come true.”  Coach D, you done did it. Thank you. 

And by the way: to the college football nation, Michigan State is #1. 

1 comment:

  1. Paul des8:06 PM

    And a classy move to have Maxwell take the last snap.