Stanford, which played in the first Rose Bowl, will try and win the 100th Rose Bowl with their smash mouth offense. CREDIT: Daniel Hartwig/Flickr
In the first Rose Bowl, know then as the “Tournament East-West Football Game,” a hard-nosed Michigan squad coached by Fielding H. Yost represented the East, facing off against a plucky 3-2-1 Stanford team, representing the West.
The Wolverines, nicknamed the “Point-A-Minute” team due to the 501 points they accumulated during the season while allowing their opponents to score none, defeated the Cardinal 49-0 after Stanford captain Ralph Fisher requested to quit with eight minutes remaining in the game.
Michigan’s victory over the Cardinal made them 11-0 on the season and they were considered the national champion that year. The 49 points they scored in the game brought their season total to 550 to 0.
The tradition started that year has spanned over a century, fueled by amazing matchups and unparalleled pageantry. This year, we celebrate the 100th edition of the oldest of the bowl games; the granddaddy of them all, with a classic matchup between the Stanford Cardinal and the Michigan State Spartans.
Fans of the conventional pound and ground game will be delighted as this contest will stray away from the splashy spread offense that makes ESPN’s front page ever Saturday.
No. 4 ranked Michigan State (12-1) upset Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game to earn their first trip to Pasadena since 1988, while the Cardinal (11-2) defeated Arizona Sate in the Pac-12 championship game to make their way back for a second straight year.
The matchups in this game are endless.
Stanford’s star running back Tyler Gaffney against Michigan State’s top run defense. Gaffney’s 306 carries for 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns will be colliding with the toughest front seven in college football, which only allows 80.8 yards a game.
If the Cardinal goes airborne, Hogan will be up against the strong and athletic Spartan secondary led by Darqueze Dennard, Kurtis Drummond and Isiah Lewis.
The same problems will happen when the teams switch sides, with Michigan State’s star running back Jeremy Langford, who has 269 carries for 1,338 yards and 17 TDs, running right into the waiting tackles of Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov.
The Spartans young quarterback, Connor Cook, finished with a 58.4 completion percentage, 20 TDs and only 5 interceptions but will face a big test against Ed Reynolds and the agile Stanford secondary.
For Stanford, a win this year would be a fitting finish to an amazing season, and even a little bit of redemption for the Cardinal team that took a beating to Michigan so many years ago.