COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF|
Michigan State capped off its week in Tampa with one of the most thrilling games in Spartan football history.
MSU recorded its biggest comeback in a bowl game, erasing a 16-0 deficit to defeat No. 18 Georgia, 33-30, in triple overtime in the 2012 Outback Bowl. The Spartans tied a school record with their 11th win of the season.
For a recap of the game, including highlights, interviews, stats, notes and quotes, please click here.
MSUSpartans.com columnist Steve Grinczel writes that MSU "completed the circle" with a bowl win - and is ready to start a new one. Also, check out his news and notes from the game in his "Grinz on Green" blog.
Michigan State closes its season with an 11-3 record and has won 22 games the past two seasons. The Spartans finished No. 10 in the final USA TODAY/Coaches' Poll and No. 11 in The Associated Press Poll, giving MSU its highest ranking at the end of the season since finishing No. 7 in 1999. MSU has finished in the Top 25 of both polls three of the past four seasons.
The Michigan State football team underwent its final preparations for the 2012 Outback Bowl with a team picture and walk-through Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium.
In the morning, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio answered questions from the media in the last press conference before kickoff.
"We'll be ready to go," Dantonio said. "I think the energy is very, very good for us. I continue to emphasize that we have to bring our energy to this football game. When you look at Georgia, you see a team that plays extremely hard as well. You have to be able to maintain that throughout the game and ride it through the ups and downs of a football game and work through it."
For a video, podcast and quotes from the press conference, click here.
After Saturday's practice, Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins sat down with former Super Bowl-winning coach and Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden for a segment that will be aired on ESPN's College Gameday on Monday at approximately 11:50 a.m. Check out MSUSpartans.com columnist Steve Grinczel's take on the meeting.
And for all the notes surrounding the game, check out Michigan State's football media center here.
The Spartans held their final practice of the season Saturday at Jesuit High School in Tampa, and afterwards, the team said goodbye to the seniors. Check out the photos from practice and also the pep rally in the Day Six Photo Gallery. In addition, watch a video recap of the parade and pep rally in Ybor City.
The seniors got a farewell sendoff after the team's final practice of the season on Saturday.
The Michigan State football team hit the beach on Friday at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort. Catch all of the photos from the event in the Day Five Photo Gallery.
Prior to MSU's fifth bowl practice at Jesuit High School, offensive coordinator Dan Roushar and defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi discussed the Outback Bowl with reporters. Hear what they had to say in Friday's practice report on MSU All-Access.
In addition, read MSUSpartans.com columnist Steve Grinczel's practice report from Friday, which includes a look at back-up quarterback Andrew Maxwell, who will likely take over as the starting quarterback in 2012.
Kirk Cousins - the winningest quarterback in school history - was selected as the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winner in an announcement made Thursday afternoon. Cousins received his award in a presentation prior to the Outback Bowl Team Luncheon.
Following the luncheon at the Tampa Convention Center, several Michigan State and Georgia players met with the media to discuss the upcoming matchup in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 2. Check out what the players had to say about the game here.
The Spartans then hit the practice field at Jesuit High School for their fourth bowl practice in Tampa, and a surprise guest stopped by at the end of the workout.
After practice, the team went to Splitsville in Tampa for an evening of pool and bowling.
And although there are numerous bowl events throughout the week in Tampa, MSUSpartans.com columnist Steve Grinczel writes that the Spartans are treating this like a business trip.
It was a busy Wednesday for Michigan State in Tampa as preparation continued for the 2012 Outback Bowl against Georgia on Monday, Jan. 2.
First up, head coach Mark Dantonio held a joint press conference with Georgia head coach Mark Richt as they both provided an update on their respective teams.
"We have a great challenge ahead of us," said Dantonio on facing the 18th-ranked Bulldogs. "At the same time, it's important for our players to finish. That's what we're trying to do to the best of our abilities."
For a complete look at the press conference, including a video and a transcript, please click here.
Prior to MSU's third bowl practice at Jesuit High School, offensive line coach Mark Staten and defensive line coach Ted Gill met with reporters. MSUSpartans.com columnist Steve Grinczel looks at how an inexperienced offensive line came together in 2011 to become one of the team's strengths, and also provides news and notes from Wednesday's practice in his latest "Grinz on Green" blog. To watch a video recap on practice, click here.
Following practice, the team visited Busch Gardens. See how the trip to the theme park went for Joel Foreman, Travis Jackson and Ethan Ruhland in this exclusive video from Michigan State All-Access.
Five members of the Michigan State football team, along with six players from the University of Georgia, visited the St. Joseph's Children's Hospital of Tampa on Tuesday afternoon.
Skyler Burkland, Bennie Fowler, Tyler Hoover, Kevin Pickelman and Johnathan Strayhorn, who are all injured and unable to compete in the Outback Bowl, represented the Spartan program at the hospital.
"It's a great opportunity to give back to the community and the little kids of Tampa," said Fowler. "It shows how truly blessed we are to play the game that we play, and to see things from a different perspective."
"I had a great time," said Burkland, as the players gave the children t-shirts and posters and also signed autographs. "They enjoyed it, so it was great being here."
The rest of the Spartans went through their first full practice in Tampa at Jesuit High School. Prior to practice, running backs coach Brad Salem and linebackers coach Mike Tressel met with the media, while after the workout, several Spartans talked with reporters to discuss the upcoming matchup against No. 18 Georgia in the Outback Bowl.
In addition, read the keys on why the Spartan linebackers have been so successful this season.
In the evening, several players attended the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the St. Pete Times Forum.
While many promises to run off those holiday goodies were broken on Monday, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio made sure the Spartans burned off whatever extra calories they consumed during a five-day break from Outback Bowl preparation.
Shortly after being greeted by temperatures in the mid-70s, the players participated in an hour-long, non-contact workout in T-shirts and shorts on the artificial field in Jesuit High School's Alumni Stadium.
With the humidity unusually high for this time of year, it wasn't long before many of the players had shed their shirts as strength and conditioning coach Ken Mannie paced them through a grueling set of sprints.
"We'll take as much heat as we can get right now and try to get acclimated," Dantonio said. "Our guys haven't worked out for five days, but we should be in good shape."
The conditions are much different than what MSU experienced a year ago when the players encountered frigid conditions in Orlando prior to playing Alabama in the Capital One Bowl.
However, rain is in Tuesday's forecast and temperatures are expected to stay in the 60s during the middle of the week. A high of 74 is predicted for next Monday's game against Georgia in Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"We'll go hard the first couple (of days) and then level off as we go," Dantonio said. "Our guys will work hard."
To read the rest of Steve Grinczel's "Grinz on Green Blog" from Day 1 in Tampa, please click here.