LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Lawmakers honored the Michigan State football team Thursday at the state Capitol following the school’s first Rose Bowl victory in more than a quarter-century.
Coach Mark Dantonio called the team’s visit a “tremendous honor” and said he’s glad to celebrate a “very, very special season.” Michigan State won the Big Ten title and beat Stanford on Jan. 1 in the Spartans’ first Rose Bowl appearance since 1988. The team ended the season 13-1.
Dantonio said the team will “strip everything back” and start from “square one” for its next season.
“Now we have to step back and re-energize ourselves, re-establish who we are, too. That’s all a part of the process,” Dantonio said. “We’ve always looked at how we’ve gotten to where we’re at, whether it’s a 7-6 season or a 13-1 season. We’ve always tried to take things and move things along and process it.”
While turning around a losing culture in East Lansing, Dantonio has taken the program to seven straight bowls, winning the last three. This year’s seniors won 42 games in four seasons, the most by any team in the state in nearly a century.
“They’ve done something a lot of people find impossible: They’ve rendered everyone in this room today on the same page,” Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer said while introducing the team.
Players and coaches also were to meet with Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.