Shutting down the run
Stanford had nine rushes for 91 yards in the first quarter, but managed only 71 yards on 27 rushes the rest of the way. Michigan State's defense, which allowed only 80.5 yards per game during the regular season, got back on track.
Stanford Offense Vs Michigan State
In Rose Bowl
The Cardinal were able to run inside the tackles successfully in the first 15 minutes, but couldn’t do so at game’s end, epitomized by Michigan State’s fourth-down game-clinching stop.
Stanford had only 14 yards after contact on its 21 runs inside the tackle in the game’s final 15 minutes.
The Cardinal had 10 rushes that lost yardage in this game, their most since they had 10 on Nov. 8, 2008, in a loss at Oregon.
Stanford went 4 for 15 on third and fourth down in this game.
Michigan State held its last two opponents to 5 for 27 on third and fourth down, including 1 for 10 in the fourth quarter.
Connor Cook’s deft touch
Spartans quarterback Connor Cook was 22 for 36 for 332 yards and two touchdowns. He completed a career-high six passes on throws at least 15 yards downfield, including the go-ahead touchdown throw to Tony Lippett.
Cook fared far better than Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, who was 2 for 7 on his throws of that distance.
This was Cook’s second straight game with at least 300 passing yards. He’d never had such a game prior to that.
Did You Know?
Michigan State’s 4-1 record in Rose Bowls is the best of any team that has played in at least five of them. It marked Michigan State’s first Rose Bowl win since 1988.
Best Record in Rose Bowl
The Spartans have won three straight bowl games for the first time in school history. Their 10-game winning streak is their longest since a 10—gamer spanning the 1978 and 1979 seasons.
Michigan State got its conference some much needed respect. It marked the second win in the last 11 Rose Bowls for the Big Ten.