The Michigan State Spartans enter the 2014 coming off an impressive 2013 campaign. The Spartans finished the regular season with an impressive 34-24 win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship. The win pushed the Spartans to 12-1 and a chance to play Stanford in the Rose Bowl. The Spartans success would continue rolling to a 24-20 victory against the number five ranked Stanford.
The 2014 season presents an even bigger challenge as the team has a difficult schedule that could feature as many as four or five ranked teams when it comes time to play them. The biggest of these challenges comes at the hand of the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks have been in the running the past few seasons for the National Championship game and 2014 should be no different.
As far as in the Big Ten their three toughest games all come at home against Nebraska, Michigan and Ohio State. The Spartans will also have a few new conference matchups against the Maryland Terps and Rutgers who both are making their season debut in the Big Ten.
Toughest Conference Game:
When you look at the toughest conference game the first one that jumps out is the game on November 8th against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes have put together a great run under Urban Meyer but the last game of the season on the road against the Penn St. Nittany Lions could be the biggest challenge. Despite losing their head coach the Nittany Lions were able to replace him with James Franklin from Vanderbilt.
Toughest Non-Conference Game:
As you look at their out of conference games against Jacksonville State, Oregon Ducks, East Michigan and Wyoming the choice for the toughest matchup is a easy call. The game against the Ducks come on the road at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. The Ducks pride themselves on a fast paced offensive team that likes to score. Last season the Ducks ranked second in total offense with 7,345 yards and tied for third with 45.5 points per game.
If you take out the tough matchups against the top four teams and look at the remaining teams alive that could upset them the Maryland Terps could be that team. The Terps will have talented wide receiver Stefon Diggs back after suffering a season ending injury. Last season the Terps got off to a good start before injuries started to take a toll on the team.
Top Returning Starters from 2013:
Connor Cook will be returning for his sophomore season after finishing last season with 2,755 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. Cook’s big play in the Big Ten Championship Game and Rose Bowl helped seal a 13-1 record. In the final two games of the season Cook finished with 636 passing yards, five touchdown passes and two interceptions.
This is a challenging season for the Michigan State Spartan football team and fans. Support the Spartans by watching their Saturday games and sporting Spartan apparel.
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