With a little more than two weeks away from their college football playoff vs. the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Michigan State Spartans, and senior quarterback Connor Cook, are beginning their preparation for arguably their biggest game in school history.
For Cook, it is more than sitting down and looking at film. He suffered a shoulder injury in a November 14th game vs. Maryland that left Spartan fans holding their breath, hoping it was not a serious injury.
He was eventually sidelined for the second half of that game and then did not play at all in the 17-14 victory in Columbus vs. Ohio State that helped propel MSU into the spot they currently stand in. He returned for senior day in the regular season finale vs. Penn State and was efficient, completing on over 73 percent of his passes. Cook seemed to reaggravate that same injury in the Big Ten Championship vs. Iowa but played all sixty minutes.
The senior spoke at MSU’s Media Day on Wednesday regarding his current status and getting ready for Alabama, “These last two days of practice are the best I’ve felt and the best I’ve felt since the injury,” Cook said.
“They’re big and fast and anything you could want in a defense, they have,” Cook added, “It almost looks like an NFL defense with the size and physicality they have.”
A host of other Spartans took the time at Media Day on Wednesday to praise Alabama for their recent excellence on the gridiron and what will be the keys to a Spartan victory on New Year’s Eve.
Senior cornerback Arjen Colquhoun seems confident in their ability to roll the Tide, “They’re beatable,” Colquhoun said at Wednesday’s event on campus. “We’re aware of Alabama football. It’s a tremendous program and I’d say over the last 10 years they’ve run college football.
“From the film I’ve watched, they do some very good things, and I think they do some things they don’t do so well. I feel like they do some things we can exploit and take advantage of.”
Senior offensive lineman Donavon Clark remembers that 49-7 drubbing MSU took from Alabama in the 2011 Capital One Bowl, “I remember watching it in high school, and I was like ‘wow,’ ” Clark said, “but that was a different team, a different offense and a different defense than we have now.
“Alabama is a very tough and physical football team, and they fire to the ball on defense,” Clark said, “but any defense can be beat, and Alabama has gotten beat before.”
Senior linebacker Darien Harris reiterated on the talent level Alabama features, “The thing that jumps out, they have skill players everywhere that can make plays,” Harris said. “We’ve played teams that have a great back, or a great receiver, quarterback. But Alabama has great players everywhere that can make plays. I’d compare them to Ohio State in that way, (and) they can get the ball into the hands of playmakers at most every position.”
Safety Demetrious Cox is already picturing himself kissing the Cotton Bowl trophy again like a season ago, “That would be the No. 1 (New Year’s Eve) kiss,” Cox said. “That would be Halle Berry on the Eiffel Tower, right there.”
“The focus is like last year, coming out getting ready for Baylor was intense as well,” Cox said. “But there is more of a chip, because of the whole Alabama thing, and they’re saying we only have an 11 percent chance of beating them, which is ridiculous to me.”