Stanford loses Rose Bowl 24-20 to Michigan St

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 01, 2014
Stanford's Kevin Danser knelt on one knee and hardly moved on the sideline as Michigan State celebrated its Rose Bowl victory and his Cardinal teammates made their way to the locker room. The fifth-year senior guard, part of a group of players who have helped transform Stanford into a national powerhouse, wasn't quite ready to leave it all behind. ''I just wanted to take it all in one last time,'' Danser said, his eyes red and one last stray tear making its way toward the side of his nose. No. 5 Stanford came up short of a second consecutive Rose Bowl victory, losing 24-20 to No. 4 Michigan State on Wednesday. ''This game isn't the summary of these guys' career,'' Danser said. ''We've achieved so much. We changed the program.'' The Cardinal (11-3) have racked up 46 victories over the last four years and been to four straight BCS games, playing a pure-power style that often wears opponents down. They couldn't do that against Michigan State (13-1). The Cardinal jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter with the help of two long plays, but managed just 159 yards over the last three quarters as the Spartans won the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1988. ''It's like we just won the Super Bowl,' defensive end Shilique Calhoun said. Tyler Gaffney ran for 91 yards and a touchdown for the Cardinal and Henry Anderson returned an interception 40 yards for a score in the second quarter to make it 17-7. And that was pretty much it for Stanford. With one last chance to drive for the win, the Cardinal faced fourth-and-1 from their 34 with 1:46 left. Of course, they tried to get it with brute force, running a fullback dive with Ryan Hewitt. But Kyler Elsworth and Calhoun blew it up for Michigan State and all the Spartans had to do from there was take a knee and celebrate with thousands of green clad fans who packed the Rose Bowl and lingered long after the game was over. ''It looked like we were going to get the push, and then we got stopped up front,'' Stanford coach David Shaw said of the Cardinal's final play. Connor Cook threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns against Stanford, despite facing one of the best pass rushing teams in the nation. ''He's got a lot of poise, especially in the pocket he's able to extend plays and find open guys,'' said linebacker Shayne Skov, another of those fifth-year seniors who leave the Farm with a 54-13 record. Before Skov's freshman season in 2009, when Stanford went 8-5 under Jim Harbaugh, Stanford had managed two winning seasons in the previous 12 years. The 100th Rose Bowl figured to be dominated by defenses, with the units ranked No. 1 (Michigan State) and No. 14 (Stanford) in yards per play. It didn't start that way. Stanford got a 43-yard reception by Michael Rector and a 47-yard run by Gaffney in the first quarter. Michigan State's defense, playing without senior leader and third-team All-America linebacker Max Bullough, righted itself in the second quarter, allowing 22 yards. Bullough was suspended for what would have been his final game for a violation of team rules that Michigan State has declined to explain. Ellsworth started in his place and played well. Jeremy Langford's 2-yard touchdown run, after a Stanford pass interference in the end zone on a throw that sailed high, cut the lead to 10-7 in the second quarter. Cook had plenty of good moments, but his biggest mistake cost Michigan State dearly in the second quarter. With pressure in his face, Cook tried to flip a screen pass but it was picked off by Anderson, who chugged 40 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-7 Cardinal with 2:07 left in the half. Earlier, Anderson dropped a potential interception and in the third quarter on consecutive plays Stanford dropped another interception and had one wiped out by a defensive holding. Cook and the Spartans didn't stay down for long after the pick-6. Cook delivered a 2-yard touchdown pass to Trevon Pendleton with 28 seconds left in the first half to make it 17-14. Michigan State tied it on its first drive of the second half and Cook hit Tony Lippett with a 25-yard touchdown pass with 13:22 left in the fourth to make it 24-17. Jordan Williamson cut it to 24-20 with 4:15 left with a 39-yard field goal, but Stanford could get no closer. ''We're happy with the way we played,'' but it definitely hurts,'' Skov said. ''It's not easy to lose.'' That's because it doesn't happen much at Stanford anymore. --- Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/RalphDRussoAP
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

Warriors’ Mike Brown: Steve Kerr may be back for the Finals

Dodgers transfer Andrew Toles and Scott Kazmir to the 60-day disabled list

Looking back at 40 years of women racing in the Indianapolis 500

U.S. national soccer teams to wear LGBT-themed jerseys to celebrate pride month

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mike Zimmer: Teddy Bridgewater still has ‘long ways to go’

Turkey: Kanter a member of terrorist group, issues warrant

Report: Seahawks players feel Sherman bombshell story ‘nailed it’

Report: Clippers concerned about Chris Paul leaving to sign with Spurs

Patriots to sponsor Gay Bowl in Boston this fall

Michael Irvin offers advice for Odell Beckham

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker