INDIANAPOLIS The symmetry of two important moments in his football career was not lost on Kirk Cousins when he stepped on the playing field this week at Lucas Oil Stadium.
It is the stadium where he nearly led Michigan State to an upset victory over Wisconsin in the inaugural Big Ten championship game in Dec. 3.
A victory would have given MSU a second straight conference championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl. Instead, the Spartans came out on the short end in a 42-39 loss in a game that was a classic one of the best college games of the 2011 season.
With his college career over, Lucas Oil Stadium is the site of the NFL Scouting Combine, where Cousins will take an important step in his attempt to have a career as a quarterback in the NFL.
Cousins will throw for the scouts. The only drill he wont do is the bench press.
As he did with everything that made him a success at MSU, Cousins is attacking the Combine experience head-on.
There is no holding back in drills and interviews with team officials.
He was impressive in his session with the media on Friday, sounding like a young CEO with a career on the rise.
I want to give them an opportunity to get to know me and to see who I am and what Im about, Cousins said. I think the more time I can spend around those coaches, whether it be a workout or an interview or whatever it can be, theyre going to come away liking what they see.
I have nothing to hide. Im an open book. I want coaches to come and open me up and figure out everything they can about me. The more they do that, the better its going to help my situation.
Im grateful to be here. The more you take a look at me, the more there is to like.
Cousins gave the media nothing not to like on Friday. He spoke with confidence, passion and conviction about his experience at Michigan State and his desire to make it in the NFL.
Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor are the stars of the 2012 drafts quarterback class. Luck is almost certain to be drafted first overall by Indianapolis, and Griffin will not be far behind.
Theres a good chance that St. Louis will trade the second pick to a team that wants Griffin.
Cousins is rated in a group of quarterbacks who could be drafted anywhere from the middle of the second round on.
He has researched the qualities required for a quarterback to succeed in the NFL.
When I look at the quarterbacks who have success year in and year out, I see quarterbacks who are great leaders, very accurate and are great decision-makers, Cousins said.
I think those things are my three greatest strengths. I think across the board, those are the things that make a quarterback successful in the NFL over a long period of time.
Cousins was a leader and a winner as Michigan States starter the last three seasons. Cousins threw 65 career touchdown passes against 27 interceptions with a 24-7 ratio in 2011.
Including bowl games, the Spartans were 11-1 in 2010 and 11-3 in 11.
Playing in the Big Tens first conference championship game had a special meaning for Cousins. Aside from the historical significance, it represented how MSU has established a prominent position in the conference.
Being back here in Indianapolis and walking back onto the field for the first time since that game was a bitter-sweet moment, Cousins said. Its neat to be back here and think of all the accomplishments we had at Michigan State to get us to that game and how well we played in that game.
But then you think of how close you were to a Rose Bowl and how close you were to a second Big Ten championship. But we fell short.
I was so proud of the effort we gave that day. I was so proud of the effort our team gave all season. At the end of the day, it was two great football teams. One of them was going to lose. Unfortunately, it was us.