PASADENA, Calif. – Christmas presents. Early graduation gifts. Loans from family. Secret stashes from summer jobs. Begging.
These are the common avenues MSU students took to secure the necessary financing required to travel to see MSU play in the 100th rendition of the Rose Bowl.
“I had to go,” said Jason Korth, a construction management senior. “It’s the best experience I’ve had as a Michigan State student thus far.”
Korth traveled from Washington D.C. to meet a group of fellow senior Spartans for what they deemed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Finance senior Jacob McDonough had similar feelings, opting to make whatever moves were necessary to see the Spartans play in their first Rose Bowl since 1988.
McDonough and six other friends coordinated their own travel and met in Pasadena for an opportunity few thought would be possible at the start of the season.
As seniors, a chance to close out their last year at MSU by visiting one of college football’s most hallowed sanctuaries was too good to pass up. The decision was made in an instant — McDonough was going to the California.
“I can’t wait to get in there and see what the atmosphere’s like in the Rose Bowl,” McDonough said. “(I) never thought it would happen. It’s gonna be awesome.”
Arriving in Southern California days before the game, Korth, packaging senior Luke Captain and supply chain management senior Tyler Watko were shocked to see fans clad in green and white while visiting various tourist locations in the area.
The group attended the MSU pep rally on New Year’s Eve when a reported 27,000 Spartan fans gathered in downtown Los Angeles. MSU is projected to have a significant majority in the stands, with expected attendance numbers climbing to approximately 50,000.
“It felt like I was in East Lansing on campus with how many Spartans came out,” Korth said. “It makes you feel at home. Everywhere you go – Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Hollywood – you run into someone. Everywhere.”
Marketing senior Shane Trojanowski, who met McDonough on the West Coast, also was surprised by the overwhelming number of Spartan supporters.
“It’s gonna be a home game,” he said. “It’s good to see all the (Michigan) State people out here, especially so far away from home.”
The financial and logistical strategies varied as much as the travel routes. But the prevailing theme amongst the Spartan students temporarily transplanted out west was that any hurdles were well worth the experience of attending the historic event.
Considering MSU’s last trip to the Rose Bowl occurred before most – likely any – current students were born in 26 years ago, this opportunity was one many Spartans couldn’t let pass by.
“It’s a lifetime experience, like something you can’t miss,” Captain said.
Editor’s Note: This article has been changed to accurately reflect the name of this year’s Rose Bowl. It is the 100th Rose Bowl, not the 100th anniversary of the Rose Bowl.
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