18 Dec 2013 03:38 PM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Max Bullough’s pressure forced a Braxton Miller fumble and a loss of yards in Big Ten Championship Game. (Image Source: James Brosher/SBT)
New York, NY—Yesterday we posted part one of our interview with Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough, who was in New York City as a William V. Campbell Trophy finalist. Here is part two of the interview. Scroll down to listen to the podcast.
How does it feel to be Big Ten Champs?
That’s unbelievable. That’s a goal we talked about for four years. Every winter conditioning, every spring camp, summer, that’s what we talked about. It’s been a dream, it’s a vision, it’s something that we haven’t had in so long, now to make it tangible, something that we have, that we own, that we know how to get there, it’s unbelievable. It’s unbelievable now and it’s going to help Michigan State in the future. They have that tangible goal that they’ve already accomplished.
How important was it to earn the Rose Bowl trip?
We wanted to do it the right way, the Michigan State way. That’s the way we played football all year. We haven’t taken any backdoors, we never have. We could have backed into the (Big Ten) Championship Game a couple of weeks ago with Northwestern and Minnesota left on our schedule and we did that the right way too. To me, everyone talks about Big Ten teams going to the Rose Bowl, but to me it’s winning the Big Ten. The reason that the Rose Bowl is mentioned so much is that 99.9 percent of the years, you win the Big Ten you go to the Rose Bowl. So to me to win the Big Ten has been incredible.
While many teams shy away from talking about the future, as a team you’ve been out in front talking about wanting to make it back to the Rose Bowl…
We’re a very goal-oriented program. Coach D (HC Mark Dantonio) has always said that. You’re right we have talked about the future, but we have goals everyday. Do this today, be a better person, whatever it is. This week we have to beat Michigan or Ohio State or Illinois or whoever it is. We have goals that we set each week. In camp, it’s ‘what do we want to do? Why are we doing all of this in camp? What are doing all this stuff for?’ And that’s for where we are right now. As far as my senior class, I’ve been saying we want to leave Michigan State a better place than when we got there. I think you can say that about having guys represented at places like this. Kirk Cousins was here a couple of years ago. So not only have we been getting better on the field but academically. To bring Michigan State back to the Rose Bowl, to beat Ohio State, a team that hasn’t lost in two years, I think people are going to know who Michigan State is if they didn’t four years ago.
Throughout the season you seemed protective of the offense, going out of your way to praise them. How important was it to win it as a team with every unit contributing?
It sums up our season in one game. We’ve had games where early on the defense is playing really well and then later on the offense had to score a few points to help us win the game. Special teams, Mike Sadler has been a phenomenal punter all year and our field goal kicker, (Michael) Geiger, has made 14 of 15 kicks. Guys have stepped up all over the place. Coaches, players, guys have stepped up, done their part, done their job. That’s what you have to do to beat a team like Ohio State. In a game like that everyone has to do their part and that game was a conglomerate picture of what the whole season was like.
It was a strange game. You guys went up 17-0, then 24 straight points by Ohio State, what turned the game around the second time? I believe you held them to 25 yards on 12 plays in the fourth quarter. How much of an impact did having coach Pat Narduzzi on the sidelines help you guys?
He’s always very impactful whenever he’s around you. It’s like he’s playing in the game. He has that much emotion, he brings that much energy to the sidelines and that gets us going. But more than anything it was just us doing our thing. Us continue to play our game. We know we have a good team, we know we have a great defense, we know we have a great offense. They took our mojo there for a couple of quarters. We knew that. That was something I was able to point out, the coaches were able to point out, if we just keep doing our thing all we needed was one play to turn it around, one series, and we got that. Once you have that it’s hard to beat us.
Should the Big Ten Championship Game be played outdoors?
I like everything outdoors. I think it’s fun to play in the cold. I think that’s the way football is meant to be played.
Especially Big Ten football…
Exactly. It’s fun to play inside, it’s great, it’s a great game, but if you ask me if I’d rather play inside or outside I’m always going to say outside.
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Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.
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