Cook: "We have an offense here"

While the focus and headlines focus on the MSU defense, the offense could be the key Saturday in Indianapolis against Ohio State. Fortunately for MSU, it keeps growing.

The Michigan State defense has made headlines throughout the 2013 season – and in prior years – for good reason.

The Pat Narduzzi-led unit has been dominant most of the way to being the top-ranked defense in the nation.

But the Michigan State offense that started the 2013 season where it left off in 2012 has been having a say in games in the past couple months.

Senior wide receiver Bennie Fowler said while the defense deserves all the attention it gets, since the offense started to come together it has been key.

"We had a first couple rough games, first two games and we didn't do what we wanted to offensively," he said. "Pretty much after that we took a little bit of a step back against Notre Dame, but throughout the Big 10 we've showed that the offense can play up there with the defense and that this is a team game."

Much of the offense revival for the Spartans centered on establishing Connor Cook as the starting quarterback. Michigan State is 10-1 with Cook as a starter and went 8-0 in conference play behind the sophomore.

After going the first two games of the season without a passing touchdown, Cook helped jump start everything when the Spartans put up 55 points on Youngstown State.

"I think you look at the stats and we've beaten every single Big Ten opponent by double digits," quarterback Connor Cook said. "That's not just our defense, it's our offense putting up points, too. The offense has won games – Big Ten games this season. …

"We have an offense here at Michigan State, not just a defense."

The offense averaged just 4.65 yards per play in September – a step back from the 4.88 of 2012. Since then, the number climbed to 5.58 in October to 5.8 in November.

Heading into Saturday's title game, the Spartans on the offensive side of the ball know a big part of the game will fall on them – as it has all season – to play up the defense's level.

"We definitely have to pull our own weight," senior Fou Fonoti said. "It's tough to always hear people get hesitant when they talk about our offense.

"It's something that we take pride in and we're going to do our best to go out there and perform and get the job done."

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