13 Michigan State seniors will be honored on Saturday prior to kickoff against Penn State: Aaron Alexander, Michael Bazemore, Kyle Brown, Jaren Hayes, Brandon McKinney, Chris Morris, Gordon Niebylski, Domata Peko, Eric Smith, Jason Teague, Ashton Watson, Stefon Wheeler, and Ryan Woods.
"We're fighting for a bowl game but we're also playing our last game as seniors. A lot of us will be playing like it is our last game which it might be. It will be an emotional game and we'll be playing hard. It'll be a dogfight and they've got to be ready for that and I know they will be though," said offensive lineman Gordon Niebylski.
These seniors have been through a lot of highs and lows in their careers as Spartans.
They were a part of the Alamo Bowl in 2003 where Michigan State lost to Nebraska 17-3. Just making it to a bowl game is a great accomplishment despite the outcome of the game.
Depending on when the players entered the program, they might have experienced beating bitter hated rival Michigan in 2001, 26-24 in the closing seconds. Linebacker Eric Smith mentioned that game as one of his most memorable games.
Unfortunately, the past three years have seen the Spartans have season-ending slides, 1-3 to end the 2003 season and 1-4 in last season's finish. The current season is proving to be familiar territory as the Spartans are 1-5 since they started the season 4-0.
"We have a chance to continue our season so we will be playing hard to not make it our last game of the season," said linebacker Eric Smith. Besides beating Michigan, he also mentioned beating Minnesota last year for MSU's homecoming and beating Wisconsin last season as well.
Senior days always make the players emotional before game time and hopefully they can turn that into motivation and fire as they battle the #5 Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday, in a determined effort to extend their season.
"Hopefully we have enough motivation, alone that it's Senior Day. They will be playing their last game, last game at the stadium and that's the motivation they should have and it should be the necessary motivation," said Spartan Coach John L. Smith.
As the life cycle always keeps going, it's these 13 players turn to go and next year it will be another group of guys to go and so on. Everybody's time will come and there is nothing that can be done to stop it.
Best wishes to the 13 players that will be moving on.