The field was set for a day that was designated to honor Spartan seniors who have devoted a majority of their collegiate lives to football. Through hard work, desire, and perseverance the seniors were able to be a part of teams that were co-Big Ten Champs, Outback Bowl champions, and partook in some of college football's most exciting games (Little Giants, Wisconsin Hail Mary, Inaugural Big Ten Championship Game). The seniors along with former Spartans created memories for the old and new generations of MSU fans that won't be forgotten. True MSU fans understand the circumstances of the current season. It has been mediocre, however today's game carried a ton of significance.
To lose a game on Senior Day is in a sense embarrassing. Every member of the team should play their heart out to honor their veteran leaders. The effort was not there... statistics show that no "big plays" were created to boost morale for the Spartans (0 interceptions, 0 forced fumbles, 0 sacks). Junior running back LeVeon Bell played well amassing more than 100 yards and Andrew Maxwell was serviceable with 297 yards, 2 TD's (he did throw 2 interceptions). Junior tight end Dion Sims played very well too. Some other players didn't play to their potential. Some seniors should reevaluate their final home game as well.
I won't take credit away from Northwestern... Pat Fitzgerald has built this team. He has made them far more competitive in the Big Ten. However, this game was winnable for the Spartans. If you factor in home field advantage and the possibility of securing a bowl with a victory, the Spartans should be favored by those two motivating factors. Senior day was a bonus motivating factor.
Even more motivation could've been found in the form of honorary game day captain Arthur Ray Jr. Ray Jr. had battled cancer in his left leg (he underwent nine surgeries to correct it). Ray Jr. signed with MSU in 2007. He started one game in 2011, however he landed on the inactive roster this season. Ray Jr. is expected to use one to two years of eligibility to finish his football career. Coach honored Ray Jr.'s perseverance and determination by naming him a captain.
I am positive that most of the players understood the magnitude of today's game. I wish the outcome could be different and that the seniors could walk away with a final home win. Playing football at a high school level taught me to cherish the work I put in. To have your efforts commended and honored by your academic institution means a lot. The younger players understand this and know one day they will be in the same place. It would've been a nice win today... MSU could have won for their seniors and for their bowl chances. Faith is still key for fans, but this is a small spot of frustration.
How do you guys feel? Voice your opinions and analyze what you think went wrong?