Michigan State’s present senior class had the bar set high by the 2013 class, which left with a school-record 42 wins. That is a total the 2014 class can match with a win Thursday against Baylor, while also one-upping the record-setting class of last year.
With a win in the Cotton Bowl, the 2014 group of seniors would leave with a 4-0 record in bowl games – something never done before in school history.
“I just don’t want to lose a bowl game,” senior defensive end Marcus Rush said. “I want to leave with a win. I think every other senior would say the same.
”This is a big time bowl game and we are playing on a big time stage. Walking away with this win under our belts and possibly being in the top five would be huge for us.”
The senior class got its first taste of a bowl win in Mark Dantonio’s first bowl win as freshmen against Georgia – a 33-30 triple overtime victory in 2011 in the Outback Bowl.
Senior running back Jeremy Langford said that game set the momentum for what is a current three-game win streak in bowl games.
“It would mean a lot,” Langford said, “especially since 2011 we first won that bowl game and I think it just made momentum for us to continue to win, to continue the streak for the future and for Spartans that are playing and have Coach D have his teams go out on top.”
They followed up the Outback Bowl win with a 17-16 win against Texas Christian in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on a late Dan Conroy field goal.
Last year, as juniors, the group took part in the 24-20 Rose Bowl win against Stanford, which marked the first three-game win streak in bowl history for Michigan State. Now, one more win will make even more history.
“Winning bowl games is such a big deal to us,” senior Travis Jackson said. “It ends your season with a win and sets you up to be highly ranked at the end of the season, but more importantly, to end your season on a win is just a great feeling.
”For us seniors to win all four bowl games, that’s probably not something that happens around the country a lot.”
Senior wide receiver Keith Mumphery said a fourth win in four years would signify exactly what Dantonio said on the field in Pasadena last season after MSU knocked off Stanford: Completion.
”To be here and win in four straight bowl games, it would be a blessing,” Mumphery said. “You don’t know too many seniors in college football that have won four bowl games in a row.”
But with the win carrying the chance to tie the school-record for wins in a four-year span on the table, that is the main goal, senior safety Kurtis Drummond said.
”It would mean a whole lot because not only going 4-0, but being able to be tied for the winningest class in Michigan State history,” Drummond said. “That would mean a lot to be able to be in a conversation like that.”
Still, with a chance to hold an extra bowl win over the class it would be tied with, that carries some appeal, too.
“If we could outdo them in that category, I’ll take it,” Drummond said.