EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Ten years ago, Mark Dantonio and Michigan State’s Football team hoisted the 100th Rose Bowl trophy above their heads after upsetting Stanford 24-20. During Saturday’s game against No. 8 Washington, the team gathered back at Spartan Stadium to celebrate and remember one of the best football teams in program history.
“It’s definitely exciting that we’re able to celebrate a decade since the Rose Bowl, the fact that it’s been 10 years is crazy but we’re just really looking forward to the weekend and the celebration,” Darien Harris, former MSU linebacker (2011-2015) and current MSU Assistant AD/NIL & Special Advisor to the Athletic Director said.
Michigan State defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2013 Big Ten Football Championship Game 34–24 to become the Big Ten Conference Champions and were given a berth in the Rose Bowl game, their first since 1988. The Spartans finished No. 3 in both national polls that year, the highest ranking since 1966, so when did the team realize they were apart of something special?
“I don’t know if there was a moment that day, it was really just the week leading up to it,” Harris said. “Obviously interesting circumstances when you land in Los Angeles and you realize you’re going to be without one of your captains, but just how the team rallied and how we approached the week is what made it special. The Rose Bowl is one of those iconic games, iconic stadiums, and iconic bowls. It’s what we talked about as a program since I stepped foot on campus. It was a lot of coming to fruition moments for myself, my teammates and the whole team.”
The game-sealing 4th and one stuff late in the fourth quarter is a play that is still talked about today, but what was it like from a player’s eyes on the field during that slice of history?
“I always remember the fact that I wasn’t originally on the field,” Harris said. “When the play was supposed to be run, Coach Dantonio called a timeout and we shifted the defense and put a different package that subbed me in for my roommate and best friend Taiwan Jones. They ended up lining up in the formation that we practiced throughout the week and we knew it was a hundred percent fullback dive if they were going to run it. And so we did, and of course, made the play. It was just an incredible moment for Spartan Nation. But, you know, I always say it’s just incredible for somebody like Kyler Elsworth who, um, I watched put the time and effort and energy and the work in over his entire career was a big inspiration for me. So just watching somebody come in as a walk-on and become a significant contributor on a team and for him to get that moment and for that to be etched in history with his name, it’s really cool. It’s really awesome.”