Stanford Tripped in Rose Bowl
PASADENA, Calif. - Stanford took a 10-0 lead after the first quarter, but could not hold on as Michigan State came back for a 24-20 victory in the 100th Rose Bowl Game Wednesday.Tyler Gaffney ran for 91 yards and an early touchdown for Stanford (11-3), and linebacker Kevin Anderson returned an interception 40 yards for a score late in the first half. But the Cardinal couldn't follow up last season's victory in Pasadena with back-to-back Rose Bowl wins, managing three points from the offense after the first quarter."We had one heck of a year, and got beat today," said David Shaw, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football. "They played better. They made more plays. That's the bottom line."Kevin Hogan threw for 143 yards on 10-of-18 passing, including a 51-yard connection to Devon Cajuste in the third quarter and a 43-yard strike to Michael Rector in the first.Ed Reynolds led the defense with 10 tackles and Shayne Skov had a sack and three tackles for loss. But Michigan State's Connor Cook passed for a career-high 332 yards on 22-of-36 passing.Cook's connection with Tony Lippett in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference.The tiebreaking pass came from 25-yards out and Stanford could not muster a comeback of its own, despite a late field goal from Jordan Williamson.Cook also threw a touchdown pass to Trevon Pendleton, and Jeremy Langford rushed for 84 yards and a score in the first Rose Bowl victory in 26 years for the Big Ten champion Spartans, who finished the season with 10 straight wins.Michigan State's defense capped its season with one more old-school, smash-mouth performance during the centennial celebration of The Granddaddy of Them All.The Spartan's defense ended it by stopping the Pac-12 champion Cardinal on fourth-and-1 with 1:46 to play, stuffing a run play up the middle. Kyler Elsworth, who started in place of suspended senior leader Max Bullough, hurdled the pile to deliver an electrifying, head-on hit to fullback Ryan Hewitt."You have to give it to Michigan State for stuffing that because everybody in the building knew exactly what was coming," Gaffney noted about Stanford's final play. "A run was coming up the middle, it was a test of wills and they got the better of us."A mere 112 years after the game considered the first Rose Bowl was played in a park elsewhere in Pasadena, Stanford and Michigan State engaged in an old-fashioned slugfest in the venerable stadium that will host the BCS title game Monday night.Stanford fell to 54-13 over the last five seasons, including four straight appearances in BCS bowl games."It's the most accomplished group of football players to ever go through Stanford University," Shaw said of the seniors. "When you talk about the best teams of the BCS era, you have to mention Stanford University. Four straight BCS games, 11 wins four straight years. It's rare, rare company."