Air raid offense, high scoring, no defense, sure sounds like a fun game. This game won't be anything like that, but it will still be a heck of game. Two of College Football's biggest bad boys will be taking the field in Pasadena. Stanford and Michigan State to me sounds like the best bowl game of the year. Stanford is 11-2 on the year, and Michigan State is 12-1. Michigan State's only loss came to Notre Dame early in the season, while Stanford was upset by Utah and USC. The Pac-12 and B10 Champions will get to go at it in one of the most anticipated bowl games of the year.
Michigan State and Stanford are very similar teams in terms of defense and running the ball. This matchup should mean the two teams are dead even, but the resemblance of these two teams should favor Sparty.
Here's 5 reasons why Michigan State will beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl :
#5 Jeremy Langford- The runningback for Michigan State has 17 TD's on the year. He also has 10 TD's in his last 6 games. His biggest stat may be he has 100+ yards rushing in his last 8 games. He is a big reason for their 9 game winning streak and will be a big reason why Michigan State will win this game.
#4 Momentum from B10 Championship- Everything that had to happen for the Spartans to defeat the Buckeyes in the B10 Championship, happened. They had 3 TD's through the air, and limited big plays from Ohio State and won the game, 34-24. The momentum will carry in to the Rose Bowl this Wednesday if Sparty wants to win.
#3 Motivation- Michigan State has never been to a BCS Bowl. Stanford has been to a BCS Bowl the past 3 years. Michigan State seniors will be hyped for this game, and will focus and prepare for this like a National Championship game. Stanford on the other hand might not benefit from playing in 3 straight BCS Bowls.
#2 Stanford's passing struggles in 2nd half- Stanford is generally ahead going into the second half and usually with a comfortable lead. However, when they have needed to pass the ball downfield late they are unable to. In 4th quarters this season, they have thrown the ball 51 times. In those 51 attempts, they have a 3-4 TD-INT ratio. A late turnover could be the difference in winning or losing for the Stanford Cardinal.
#1 Stanford struggles in low score games- The biggest thing that jumps out to me in Stanfords two losses, is that they were to defensive teams who had offenses that didn't have to do much to win. Utah was a 5-7 team who outran Stanford 176-143 in a 27-21 win. Stanford's offense managed only 14 points in the game, along with a kickoff return for a TD in the 2nd quarter. Utah's goal line stand in the end of the game proved Stanford can be pushed around if you fight back, which I expect Michigan State to do. USC didn't even have to beat Stanford by running the ball. The Trojans only rushed for 26 yards, but managed to hold on for a 20-17 victory. Two interceptions doomed Stanford in the second half, and once again they managed only two TD's offensively.
Stanford can't win when it plays a defense that matches their own. Michigan State scores early, and has control of the game throughout the second half with a late interception cancelling out the Cardinal comeback.
PREDICTION : 28-18 Michigan State