"Yeah, I did have a pet raccoon", Leach admitted. This was already a banger of a turnaround season after Sparty went 3-9 a year ago, but 10 wins would be a ideal topper for 2017. They experienced lots of success on offense, thanks to the strong play of quarterback Luke Falk.
There's quite a bit to unpack, and thus, four elements to watch vs. Wazzu. They're 5-3 in games in which they are favored this season.
However, there is an underlying factor to missing the postseason for even just a year - a large portion of the team hasn't seen a bowl game, much less played in some.
"We have had a great experience and we've done what we needed to do leading up to this football game", Dantonio said Wednesday. "I think it's 1 degree back home today, so we're glad to be out here and we're motivated to play a good football game".
Also different is the featured off-the-field activity organized by the bowl.
Leach was immediately asked about quarterback Luke Falk and the reports of the cast on his arm.
Washington State has the No. 2 passing offense in the nation at 374.8 yards per game. Those are WSU's outside receiver positions and for the first time this season, Tavares Martin Jr. or Isaiah Johnson-Mack won't be occupying either.
"Besides his work ethic as a walk-on to become the - I mean, he's top of the heap in the Pac-12 as far as yards, touchdowns, all those things", Leach said. - The Michigan State Spartans certainly are not known for their offense, as they averaged a very unassuming 215.4 pass yards per game and 162.9 rush yards per game. "He's definitely a key on offense".
For all the talk Falk and the Cougars have generated on the offensive side of the ball, their defense isn't too shabby either.
To the Spartans' credit, time and again they've relied on the defense to close games down the stretch.
Let's take a trip down Memory Lane to visit some of Michigan State football's most memorable bowl wins. Flashback to the victory over U-M is appropriate once again.
During the Spartans' 2013 Rose Bowl and Big Ten championship season, Dantonio used the No. 7 as a moment of finishing the job he set out to accomplish when he took over in East Lansing. A 48-3 shelling at the hands of Ohio State will do that. An opportunity for a sixth 10-win season. "So we want to go out and get 10 wins, and 10 wins will make coach D at 100 wins".
Certainly, Washington State also comes into the game looking for its 10th win of the season.it would be the first time since 2003 the Cougars reach that coveted mark.