It’s no secret that Stanford football lives and dies by its running game. On one of the biggest stages in college football, the Cardinal running engine sputtered and then sputtered some more for over three quarters. And when it mattered the most – when Stanford needed one more yard to keep its last-minute desperation drive alive – the engine went up in flames.
In Saturday morning’s defensive press conference, defensive coordinator Derek Mason and five of the Cardinal’s senior leaders sat down with the media and discussed its Rose Bowl matchup with the Spartan offense as well as some of the behind-the-scenes dynamics that have helped Stanford’s defense continue to assert itself as one of the nation’s best units.
The following is the third of five installments of The Stanford Daily’s “Meet the Spartans” series, which will give an in-depth look at Michigan State leading into the 100th Rose Bowl Game between No. 4 Michigan State and No. 5 Stanford on Jan. 1. Today’s piece will focus on the Spartans’ running game. Come back to stanforddaily.com/category/sports for the next two days for looks at the Spartans’ pass offense and special teams.
Despite playing in different conferences and different parts of the country, No. 4 Michigan State (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten) and No. 5 Stanford (11-2, 7-2 Pac-12) have a striking number of similarities. Like Stanford last year, Michigan State finally accomplished its long-standing goal of securing a berth in the Rose Bowl.