Spartan Digest asked five key questions heading into the game and now we have the answers to those questions.
What impact will the loss of Max Bullough have on the Spartans defense?
Combined Kyler Elsworth and Darien Harris combined for nine tackles with 2.5 for loss. The fact both players were in the game on the final defensive play of the game, showed why Mark Dantonio felt his defense wouldn't miss a beat without Bullough. Make no mistake, Dantonio would have loved having his senior captain on the field, but the way the Spartan staff prepares players for their moment shinned with Elsworth earning co-Player of the Game honors.
Can the Spartans defensive front get the push needed to disrupt the Stanford running attack that averages 210 yards rushing per game?
By holding Stanford to 162 net rushing yards gave the Spartans defense just enough to keep the Cardinal offense from getting into a rhythm. While I'm sure Pat Narduzzi would have loved to forced a lower number, he knows this was a solid accomplishment and important in the team's ability to win the game.
Can MSU control the tempo on offense against the Cardinal?
If not for mistakes MSU would have totally controlled tempo of the game especially in the second half. The Spartans won the time of possession battle and had times where they were able to run the football keeping Stanford on their heels. QUESTION FOUR
Can MSU place pressure on Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan?
One would have felt this was a major key in the Spartans chances of winning the Rose Bowl. However, Stanford looked to pound their running game only passing 18 times on the day. In the end the one sack proved enough for the Spartans to earn the win holding the Cardinal to only 11 first downs.
Can the Spartans be the exception and be a Big Ten team that wins the Rose Bowl?
Yes!!!! Mark Dantonio proved to have the game plan to win the Rose Bowl keeping his team focused following a major distraction the day they departed for the game and not allowing his players to get too caught up in all the outside distractions kids from the Midwest would be easily distracted by.