Can you smell them? I mean the roses of course. The 2013 Michigan State Spartans have been granted a Rose Bowl birth thanks to their victory over The Ohio State University 34-24.
What’s that you say? Notre Dame just had to vacate all 21 of their victories from the 2012 and 2013 seasons? Including the win over Michigan State that may very well have prevented them from playing for a National Championship?
We’re here to paint you a picture of what playing the Jameis Winston Florida State Seminoles would have been like, and who knows we may even bring some fresh crab legs.
I don’t think people realize just how good the 2013 Michigan State Spartans actually were, they could have hung with the undefeated Seminoles and done it convincingly.
No Fly Zone is a name that usually follows the 2013 Spartans, you remember the guys right? Just in case let’s refresh your memory a tad. Darqueze Dennard, Trae Waynes, Isaiah Lewis and Kurtis Drummond.
That squad was deadly, how deadly? 2011-2013 were very profitable years for Spartan defense’s but 2013 was extra special as they finished No. 2 in total defense, No. 3 in passing yards allowed, and No. 1 in pass efficiency defense.
No Fly Zone was an understatement.
Let’s swing it over to the offense whom we also knew and loved. Can anyone recall those guys as well? Connor Cook, Jeremy Langford, Bennie Fowler, Aaron Burbridge, Macgarrett Kings Jr, Keith Mumphery, Tony Lippett and oh yeah the man himself Josiah Price.
Connor Cook threw for just under 3,000 yards 22 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He had a QBR of 135.6. Impressive? (The Oakland Raiders thought so).
Mr. Jeremy Langford, the workhorse, ran for damn near 1,500 yards and crossed the goal line for 18 rushing touchdowns and 1 receiving.
Now that we have laid the ground work for how good this team was, lets actually watch how good they were.
Here comes the boom!
On their way to a National Title birth Michigan State had to take down the juggernaut that are the Buckeyes, lots played into it but let’s sit back and watch Star Linebacker Denicos Allen take down Quarterback Braxton Miller to seal the victory.
Seriously can you smell them yet?
Don’t get me wrong the 2013 Florida State Seminoles was something special to witness, they also finished 3rd in total defense right there along side the Spartans. Their offense finished 6th in the nation for total offense. They were extremely good there is no doubt about it, backed by the playmaking ability of Jameis Winston, Devonta Freeman, and Kelvin Benjamin. All of whom are now starters in the NFL.
On the defensive side of the ball they had Timmy Jernigan, Telvin Smith and Jalen Ramsey. Those group of guys were quick, fast and elusive. Before you knew it they were taking you to the ground or batting down a pass.
Barring those statements, Michigan State would have beaten the 2013 Florida State Seminoles.
Auburn’s Defense (Or Lack thereof)
The Seminoles were ranked 6th nationally for total offense, Auburn was No. 11 in the same category. Florida State had the No. 3 ranked defense to back them up. Auburn, not so much, entering the National Title game they were ranked No. 87 overall in total defense allowing 420.7 yards per game. Whereas the Seminoles were averaging 519.1 YPG on OFFENSE. To be frank the game wasn’t stacked in the favor of the Tigers.
Your thinking, what does this exactly prove? Hold on I’m about to drive it home, hard.
Michigan State had the No. 2 defense in the entire nation, they were only giving up 252.2 yards per game and a measly 4.04 yards per play. So is it exactly surprising that the No. 87 defense gave up 34 points and almost 400 yards? No not at all, but it is surprising that the No. 3 overall defense in Florida State gave up 31 points and 449 yards of total offense.
Michigan State’s Offense
I know what your thinking, Auburn had the No. 11 overall defense in the entire nation.
Here is the kicker people, Florida State may have been No. 3 as far as total defense goes, but they were ranked No. 18 against the run.
Tell me again what is Michigan State’s bread and butter on offense? What do they especially love to do? Run the ball and wear out the defense.
In 2013 Florida State gave up a total of 1,747 yards on the ground and in the National Title game they gave up 232 yards rushing, and let up two touchdowns.
Guess who ran for 1,422 yards, averaged 4.9 yards a carry and ran in 18 total touchdowns in 2013? Jeremy Langford, Michigan State running back. Langford himself was 325 rushing yards shy of having the same amount of yards that Florida State had given up on the ground all season long.
Add in the dynamic playmaking of Connor Cook, the core group of receivers the Spartans had at the time and the No. 2 defense in the nation. Michigan State may very well have ran all over the Florida State defense and Spartan fans could have been looking at the 2013 National Champs.
Putting it all Together
To wrap up we will never know what would have happened had Michigan State actually beat Notre Dame and gone to the National Championship to most likely face the Seminoles but it sure is fun to speculate.
A guy can dream can’t he? Either way Spartan fans will take an undefeated season anyway they can get it.
The 2013 Michigan State Spartans were special, well rounded, well coached and extremely talented.
Connor Cook and the No Fly Zone have cemented their legacy in East Lansing forever.