Jan 1, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Michigan State Spartans coach Mark Dantonio (left) and quarterback Connor Cook (18) hoist the Leishman Trophy after the 100th Rose Bowl against the Stanford Cardinal. Michigan State defeated Stanford 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Connor Cook: Rose Bowl or bust for Michigan State Spartans in 2014

Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook was one of the biggest surprises last season in college football after beginning the season on the bench and ending it as a champion. The Spartans beat up the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship Game and followed up that game with a smashmouth performance in their win against the Stanford Cardinal in the Rose Bowl.

Cook looked back on the 2013 season with CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman to talk about his season and what’s in store for the Spartans in 2014:

“I look back with a lot of great memories. Our offense didn’t have an identity before the season and then we came out and were really, really successful. So now heading into 2014, our expectations are so high that I feel like anything less than a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl would be a failure. But it’s different now. I feel like we’re going to have more of a swagger heading into this season. … I feel like guys are going to be much more confident and ready to make plays.”

Michigan State finished as the No. 3 ranked team in the country after their Rose Bowl win but still aren’t getting the respect you would expect from a team that had the nastiest defense in the country last year and a quarterback as cool and confident as they come in college football.

Perhaps, that ‘swagger’ Cook references will be enough to carry them back to another Big Ten title and another trip to Pasadena and a shot at back-to-back Rose Bowl wins but this time they won’t be surprising anyone.

Tags: Connor Cook Michigan State Spartans Rose Bowl

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