Spartans Looking To Pull Upset Tonight

Michigan State's coaching staff and key players are heading into tonight's matchup with Texas Tech will enthusiasm and optimism that they will be able to take advantage of the opportunity to pull and upset over the favored Red Raiders.

Michigan State's coaching staff and key players are heading into tonight's matchup with Texas Tech will enthusiasm and optimism that they will be able to take advantage of the opportunity to pull and upset over the favored Red Raiders.

Tech (8-4) will be led into this game by interim coach Ruffin McNeill who takes over for the fired Mike Leach. Controversial receiver Adam James, son of ESPN commentator Craig James, is not expected to play because of the effects of a concussion that was mishandled by Leach.

The Spartans, led by sophomore quarterback Kirk Cousins are looking at the contest as a season opening road game.

"I'm very excited about this opportunity. I'm living a dream. To be able to play in a bowl game like this and have an opportunity to play is very exciting. We just practiced at the Alamodome yesterday, and I found myself looking around the stadium and saying, `I'm not in high school anymore. This is pretty cool.'

So I'm very excited. We really want to win this football game. We're going to rely on these guys here and a lot of other guys - it's going to be a full team effort to get the job done."

Senior wide receiver Blair White, a former walkon, burst on to the National scene after a breakout game at the Champs Sports Bowl two seasons ago. He reflected on what will be his last game as a collegian.

"Obviously, this is going to be my last game (at MSU). It's going to be pretty emotional. I think we've come a long way as a team. We might not have had the year we set our goals on, but we have a chance to win a bowl game.

It's been a lot of fun for me (to be with) all the players and friends and coaches. I'm just excited to get out there one last time and compete. This is a great bowl game, and there should be a lot of people watching, so it should be fun."

Another departing senior, center Joel Nitchman who has a chance to be drafted in April's NFL draft says the familiarity of preparing for previous bowl games has carried over to this year.

"I don't know if there's too many differences overall," said Nitchman. "I definitely think it's nice to know what we're doing now. We're getting used to the bowl scene and I know that's something these coaches are going to keep moving forward with. I definitely think there's a maturity now. We really know how to handle ourselves well in these bowl games. We know how to prepare and give a good strong showing, so the more experience we get, the better we're going to be."

MSU faces Texas Tech at 9:00 tonight on ESPN.


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