Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Spartans Put Final Touches on Prep for the 79th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

Photo By: Photo by Bill Patterson, CBAA

The mood was light but the focus remained sharp as No. 8 Michigan State got its last taste of AT&T Stadium before its Jan. 1 showdown with No. 5 Baylor in the 79th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

MSU (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) captured its official bowl memory with a team photo prior to a light walk-through. Spending nearly 45 minutes in t-shirts and shorts, the team was meticulous in putting the final touches on its preparations for the program’s 25th all-time bowl appearance.   

“We just wanted to move around for a little bit,” said head coach Mark Dantonio. “We just wanted to play around a little bit before the game. Now we’re good and ready to go.”

The team closed the walk-through with its tradition of “Walking the Field” with the all players, extending from sideline to sideline, walking arm in arm and down the field from end zone to end zone.

In order to take the field and a victory over the Bears (11-1, 8-1 Big 12), Dantonio said the keys will be simple for his Spartans get their fourth-consecutive bowl victory, which would tie a Big Ten record currently shared by Michigan (1901-64 and 1997-2000) and Ohio State (1949-68 and 2002-05).

“Takeaways and turnover margin are always key,” said Dantonio. “The ability to tackle in space and play the ball to the deep part of the field, those two things are key defensively. Then on the offensive side of the ball, balance and being able to control the football, whether it’s running or passing, will be key.”

Tonight, the team will ring in the New Year to little fanfare at its team hotel in anticipation of an early morning departure back to AT&T Stadium for one last time.

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl celebrates its 79th edition on New Year's Day and kicks off a new era as a member of the College Football Playoff. Airtime on ESPN is set for 11:30 a.m. CST with kickoff slated for 11:45 a.m. For the first year, The Classic joins ESPN’s bowl lineup with Dave Pasch and Brian Griese on the call from the booth with Tom Luginbill reporting from the sideline.

For the third consecutive year, ESPN Radio returns as the Classic's national radio partner. Brad Sham, the "Voice of the Dallas Cowboys," teams with Kelly Stoufer in the booth and Ian Fitzsimmons from the sideline to describe all the action from AT&T Stadium. This will be Sham's 18th straight year as the Classic's play-by-play man and his 22nd overall.

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