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Friday, December 26th, 2014

Michigan State Takes North Texas by Storm

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Macatee/SEOC
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio arrives in Dallas with his team to prepare for their New Year's day matchup against Baylor in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.

No. 8 Michigan State made the trek from the friendly confines of East Lansing to the unfamiliar territory of North Texas on Friday for the 79th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

The MSU contingent of players, coaches, support staff, athletic administrators and their families were welcomed to their Classic week home by a small but excited crowd of Spartan fans, the Townview Big “D” Band and Cotton Bowl Athletic Association officials.

"To have Michigan State down here being part of this venue is very exciting for us,” said head coach Mark Dantonio.

Michigan State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) is making its maiden appearance in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, but is no stranger to postseason play. MSU is making its eighth consecutive bowl appearance under Dantonio and has won its last three bowl matchups. Set to be the visiting team against No. 5 Baylor (11-1, 8-1 Big 12), Michigan State will be playing in its 25th bowl game in program history.

Dantonio said he knows his Spartans have a tough challenge ahead as the Bears are in the Classic after finishing just one spot away from a trip to the national semifinals of the inaugural College Football Playoff. 

"The tone is, it is time to get back to business,” said Dantonio. "The tone is focus, attention to detail. All those different things that go along with winning. That’s what we got to do."

And the Spartans wasted no time in getting back to business. Shortly after settling in, Dantonio’s squad put in a nearly two-hour practice in pads and shorts at AT&T Stadium before being treated to an official welcome event and tour of the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. MSU is back on the practice field on Saturday afternoon for its second of six practices in Arlington. Practices are closed to the public and media, except for designated 15-minute open practice windows for credentialed media representatives on Dec. 28 and 29.
 
The Goodyear Cotton Bowl celebrates its 79th edition on New Year's Day and kicks off a new era as a member of the College Football Playoff. Airtime on ESPN is set for 11:30 a.m. CST with kickoff slated for 11:45 a.m. For the first year, The Classic joins ESPN’s bowl lineup with Dave Pasch and Brian Griese on the call from the booth with Tom Luginbill reporting from the sideline.

For the third consecutive year, ESPN Radio returns as the Classic's national radio partner. Brad Sham, the "Voice of the Dallas Cowboys," teams with Kelly Stoufer in the booth and Ian Fitzsimmons from the sideline to describe all the action from AT&T Stadium. This will be Sham's 18th straight year as the Classic's play-by-play man and his 22nd overall.

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