2014 Rose Bowl results: Michigan State grinds out a 24-20 win over Stanford

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

The No. 4 Spartans survive a nightmare first quarter and take a defensive slugfest against the No. 5 Cardinal.

Michigan State defeated Stanford 24-20 in a grueling, grinding, defense-heavy Rose Bowl Wednesday night in Pasadena. The Spartans (13-1) take home their first Rose Bowl victory since 1988 and the Big Ten's first win in the league's top game since 2010. Stanford (11-3) suffers its first bowl loss since the 2011 Fiesta Bowl.

The Michigan State defense responded after a rough first quarter in which it gave up 146 yards, surrendering only 23 yards and one first down in the second quarter. That didn't stop Stanford from scoring, though, as Kevin Anderson returned this truly wretched Connor Cook interception for a touchdown with just over two minutes remaining to give them a 17-7 lead.

Oops

GIF credit: ESPN

The Spartans responded quickly, as Cook shook off his mistake to guide the team down the field and threw a touchdown pass to Trevon Pendleton to make it 17-14 at the break.

On the second play of the second half, Cook connected with Bennie Fowler for 60 yards. The completion set up a game-tying field goal by Michael Geiger.  MSU's next two series moved into Stanford territory, but ended without points. A Jeremy Langford fumble ended the second series inside the Stanford 10 yard line, ending Michigan State's best chance at taking its first lead.

On its next series, Michigan State's offense finally delivered. The Spartans took over at the Stanford 27 after a 19-yard punt return by Macgarrett Kings.  On 3rd and 8 from the Stanford 25, Cook hit Tony Lippett on a 25-yard score. Geiger's extra point made it 24-17 in favor of Sparty.

The teams exchanged punts before a Michael Rector reverse and Michigan State penalty moved the Cardinal into Michigan State territory. A sack of Hogan left the Cardinal in third-and-long, and a swing pass to Barry Sanders left the Cardinal with fourth-and-5. Stanford sent on the field goal unit, and after a bad hold led to an impromptu fake and eventual penalty for ineligible man downfield, Jordan Williamson kicked a 39-yard field goal. Michigan State led 24-20 with 4:15 left to play.

The Spartans did nothing with their next offensive series and were forced to punt with 3:19 to play. Two plays left Stanford with third-and-1, but the Spartan defense stiffened, stopping consecutive Stanford runs and cementing the victory.

Spartystopsyou

Box Score Hero:

Honors go to Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook. With Stanford's defense shutting down the MSU running game -- the Spartans finished with just 86 non-sack rushing yards -- Cook was Sparty's sole source of offense. He finished 22-for-36 for a career-high 332 yards and two touchdowns.

Rankings Ramifications:

Michigan State and Stanford came into this game ranked fourth and fifth in the BCS standings, respectively. The win could move Michigan State into the top 3 in the final standings and, should Alabama lose in the Sugar Bowl, could even get the Spartans into the top 2.

But Did They Cover?

Stanford was a seven point favorite at kickoff, and Michigan State clearly beat that spread.

For More On This Game:

For more on the Cardinal, check out Rule Of Tree. For more on the Spartans, head over to The Only Colors.

More from SB Nation college football:

Bowl season TV schedule, with scores and recaps along the way

Bill O’Brien reportedly leaving Penn State for the NFL

Modern Hate: Four huge, behind-the-scenes stories on college football rivalries

College football news | Tons of five-star recruiting updates

Long CFB reads | The death of a college football player

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.