By Jeff Riger

Before we get started, let me state the obvious….

I dislike Michigan State!

I know, I know, I didn’t go to Michigan so maybe I’m not allowed to feel the way that I do, but I can’t shake it. There are those people out there that claim that they root for both schools in the state or that they always cheer for the Big Ten in bowl games but I can’t share those feelings. I grew up a Michigan fan so it’s only natural that I want MSU to lose. Call me what you want, I can take it! It’s just how I feel and I don’t think it will change anytime soon.

So what does this have to do with anything? Right?

Well let me tell you.

I, like you watched “The Outback Bowl” where the Spartans won in triple overtime 33-30. I watched the first half at my house and I was not upset at all to see MSU fall down 16-0. In the second half, it didn’t break my heart when Kirk Cousins threw a late interception which surely meant a Bulldog win. I loved all of it.

But something very strange happened after that. When Michigan State was able to stop Georgia and get the ball back late in the fourth quarter, I thought I would be rooting for Cousins impending doom on the final drive of the game. Cousins and company had 1 minute and 55 seconds to score a touchdown with no timeouts to tie the game at 27. After a 15 yard pass to Keith Nichol to start things, it dawned on me that this was Cousins legacy, this would, and barring OT be the last drive he ever played in a Green and White jersey. Cousins then hooked up with B.J. Cunningham for a 7 and 22 yard toss and all my hatred for Cousins for some reason went away.

It was bizarre, I was actually at the gym running on the treadmill in the 4th quarter and Cousins during my 3rd mile actually started to inspire me.

I wondered to myself how many players could end their career like this? To score a TD to send things to overtime or even go for two and win the game would be an unbelievable end to a great career in East Lansing. Add that to the fact that MSU has not won a bowl game under Mark Dantonio and it becomes stuff that legends are made of.

I stopped contemplating for long enough to realize that Cousins had just ran for 20 yards and was on the verge of once again coming back to win the game, something that he has accomplished many times of late. I was actually rooting for him! It was so weird; I have never experienced this in my life. I almost felt dirty and that everything that I stood for in my life meant absolutely nothing.

And then it happened…

Cousins hooked up with Keshawn Martin for an 11 yard gain which I thought was sure a score. I yelled, while running “WOW, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” Everybody must have thought I was the biggest MSU fan in the world. Of course Martin did not get in but the Spartans eventually did and sent the game to OT.

When the extra session started Cousins threw an interception and I was sure it was over! Even thought I was rooting for MSU to win, they would lose and maybe the world would seem right once again. Well I was wrong because Blair Walsh, the Bulldog kicker missed a 42 yarder and MSU eventually, 2 overtimes later went on to win!

After the game it was pretty apparent that Cousins did not want to leave the field and I couldn’t blame him. This is a guy that led his team to two 11 win seasons. He is a man that rid East Lansing of “The Same Ole Spartans” mantra. Hell, this is the guy that can claim something that nobody else can; he beat Michigan every time he played against them! Crazy! right? Kirk Cousins has made MSU relevant and respectable and he even won a Big Ten Title. Cousins had successfully put the Spartans back on the map, and this was a guy that no other school even wanted. He also seems to do everything the right way! How can you not root for him?

But it was something Cousins did that he has no idea about that really amazes me…

He made this Michigan fan root for him and his team in the biggest game of the season! I know, it makes me sick too! Who would have thought?

On the brightside at least Cousins is gone now so I can go back to despising MSU.

Have I mentioned how much I dislike Andrew Maxwell?

See! Now that feels right again!

Comments (3)
  1. Joe Evola says:

    Hey Jeff, My name is Dr. Joe Evola and i am a Michigan alumn (80 ), huge fan and loyal booster. I have a son at Central and my daughter just graduated from nursing school at MSU. We continually go at and not always playfully. Well, i sent my daughter down to Tampa for the game and like you was pulling for State. My daughter would have been heart broken had they lost and i couldn’t get that out of my mind so yea, rooted for State big time. Hey i love listening to you on The Fan. Keep up the good work!

  2. brian says:

    Nice comments for Cousins. Spot on. Go UM. My daughter is pre law and a flag girl for the band. She is loving New Orleans. It would be so cool if both state of Michigan teams in the big Ten came thru. State held up their end now the Wolverines need to do the same. What a game for MSU. It was awesome. Thank you State for beating an SEC team.

  3. Kevin says:

    2 quick things:

    1) This was not the biggest game of the season, the B1G champ. game was.

    2) Take it easy on the exclamation points dude.

    That is all.

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