Fans have voted Michigan State’s thrilling, come-from-behind, 42-41 victory over Baylor in the Cotton Bowl Classic as the No. 1 college football game of 2014 and, as a result, it will conclude The Top 25 College Football Games of 2014 on Sunday, Aug. 2 at 10 p.m. on ESPNU.
Ticket holders for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl should start watching for the arrival of renewal packets this week and begin gearing up for the Classic’s 80th anniversary game on Thursday, December 31.
Not only is this a special anniversary year for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, but the Classic also steps back into the national spotlight as one of two national semifinal games in the College Football Playoff. The winning team advances to Glendale, Ariz., on January 11 to compete for the 2016 national championship.
Baylor was out to make a statement to the College Football Playoff committee. The only problem: Michigan State came to play.
Connor Cook passed for 314 yards and two touchdowns and Jeremy Langford rushed for 162 yards and three touchdowns as Michigan State completed a 20-point rally to top Baylor, 42-41, in the Good Year Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T stadium on Thursday.
Down 41-21, Connor Cook hit Josiah Price for an 8-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The Spartans recovered an onside kick, but on the third play of the drive, Baylor linebacker Taylor Young intercepted a Cook pass.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty claimed the 79th annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic’s J. Curtis Sanford Offensive MVP Award after totaling 550 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing score in the New Year’s Day game at AT&T Stadium.
Despite the Baylor loss, 42-41, to eighth-ranked Michigan State, Petty set the Classic record for passing yards and closed out his senior season with a strong offensive performance.
The senior’s 550 passing yards was a career high as well as a record for a Classic contest.
Taylor Young may be small in stature, but in Thursday’s 79th annual Cotton Bowl Classic, he left little doubt he plays a big game.
The redshirt freshman played the best game of his young career by racking up 15 tackles and taking a fourth-quarter interception to the house that would have likely sealed the Baylor win if it weren’t for penalty on the return. Instead, the Bears lost in the final minute, leaving Young to accept the McKnight Trophy representing the game’s outstanding defensive player as a consolation prize.
36, Bryce Petty, Baylor (36-51-1, 550 yards, 3 TD), second most completions for an FBS player at AT&T Stadium.
MOST NET YARDS
550, Bryce Petty, Baylor (36-51-1, 550 yards, 3 TD), second most yards for an FBS player at AT&T Stadium.
MOST YARDS RECEIVING
197, KD Cannon, Baylor (8 receptions, 2 TD), third most yards for an FBS player at AT&T Stadium.
MOST POINTS RUSHING
18, Jeremy Langford, Michigan State (3 Rush TD), tied with four others for most points rushing for a college game at AT&T Stadium.
FBS Bowl Record:
* Baylor’s total of 603 passing yards is an FBS Bowl Record. The total surpassed the previous record of 576 passing yards accomplished twice previously, by Marshall vs. East Carolina in the 2001 GMAC Bowl and by BYU vs. Penn State in the 1989 Holiday Bowl.
Plays/Scoring Drives Notables (First Half):
* MSU Jeremy Langford 65-yard rush on the Spartans’ opening drive of the first quarter was the 10th longest rushing play in Classic History.
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYERS
Baylor’s Bryce Petty, who finished 36-51 passing with 550 yards and three touchdowns, earned The Sanford Trophy presented to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic’s Outstanding Offensive Player. The Bears’ Taylor Young, who finished with 15 tackles and one interception, earned The McKnight Trophy, presented to the Classic’s Outstanding Defensive Player.
Michigan State trailed 41-21 entering the fourth quarter today and scored 21-unanswered points for the victory.
MSU extended its school-record bowl winning streak to four games after topping No. 18 Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl, 33-30 in triple overtime, edging TCU in the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, 17-16, defeating No. 5 Stanford in the 2014 Rose Bowl, 24-20 and beating No. 4 Baylor, 42-41, in the 2015 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. MSU's four-game bowl winning streak is currently the longest active streak in the Big Ten. Michigan State is one of just four schools in the FBS to win bowl games in each of the last four seasons to date (Louisiana-Lafayette, South Carolina, Texas A&M).
The mood was light but the focus remained sharp as No. 8 Michigan State got its last taste of AT&T Stadium before its Jan. 1 showdown with No. 5 Baylor in the 79th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
MSU (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) captured its official bowl memory with a team photo prior to a light walk-through. Spending nearly 45 minutes in t-shirts and shorts, the team was meticulous in putting the final touches on its preparations for the program’s 25th all-time bowl appearance.
“We just wanted to move around for a little bit,” said head coach Mark Dantonio.
Baylor completed its final on-field piece of preparation for the 79th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic by conducting a walk-through at AT&T Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The No. 5 Bears (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) spent about an hour doing light work for their New Year’s Day game against No. 8 Michigan State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) before heading back to the team hotel for final meetings.
“It has been a great week and it is show time,” Baylor Head Coach Art Briles said earlier in the day.
Two college football programs that have ranked among the nation’s best in recent seasons meet in the 79th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic with a chance to add to their credentials.
For No. 5 Baylor (11-1, 8-1 Big 12), the New Year’s Day game at AT&T Stadium is an opportunity to collect its first victory in a major bowl in more than 50 years and register its first 12-win season.
For No. 8 Michigan State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten), a victory would be its first over a top-10 team this season and would extend its bowl win streak to four.
With most of its Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic preparations in the books, No. 8 Michigan State took to the turf on Tuesday afternoon for a final all-out practice at AT&T Stadium.
MSU did not slack off in their fifth Classic workout, conducting a spirited session in shorts and shells that lasted more than two hours. Continuing a program tradition, head coach Mark Dantonio concluded practice with a video tribute to the senior class followed by every senior walking down a receiving line to share final goodbyes with other teammates, coaches and support staff.
Competing in a major bowl game is no longer new to Baylor. Now the Bears want to experience winning one.
That was the predominant storyline Tuesday as players went through media day for the 79th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic after a light practice at AT&T Stadium.
Baylor was heavily favored but lost to UCF in last year’s Fiesta Bowl. So it’s easy to understand the primary motivation for the No. 5 Bears (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) as they prepare to meet No. 8 Michigan State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) on Thursday.
Baylor Head Coach Art Briles, along with his coaching staff and entire football team, visited Children’s Health/Children’s Medical Center Dallas, to spread some laughter.
“This is a big thrill for us,” said Briles. “Our kids are very giving and very sharing and we know that today these children are going to bring smiles to our faces as we do to theirs.”
Children under the hospital’s care sat at tables inside the Butterfly Atrium as they welcomed the team in joining them in arts and crafts including paper football fields, make your own pennants, paint-a-bear and more.