The seniors of Michigan State football have been through quite a lot since coming to East Lansing. From the highs of a 11-2 season to the lows of two coaching changes, they were able to end their home careers in the confines of Spartan Stadium on a 20-17 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers Saturday afternoon.
For interim head coach Harlon Barnett, this was his first win at the helm of the program in the seven weeks he’s been in the position. Although they didn’t win by 62 points like his team did when he was a player in 1989, he feels that this Senior Day win as a coach was more rewarding than winning on the field.
"Everybody's hugging and saying 'I love you,'" Barnett said. "They're hugging you and dancing and all that kind of stuff, so it was great. I know it was only the first win and we understand we have another game to play, but it was something to celebrate for our guys with all this adversity that we've been through throughout the course of this season. It was very joyful."
On a day where the MSU defense totaled seven sacks, redshirt senior defensive lineman Maverick Hansen recorded 1.5 of those for his first of the 2023 season. His effort helped give the green and white the close win, and he couldn’t be happier to do so in the final home game of the fall.
"This is the way we needed to finish the season out in the woodshed," Hansen said. "I always tell the guys it's bigger than us. It's about the brothers before us and the brothers that are coming after us. We gotta have some pride about us and getting this win means so much to us, especially the seniors."
In the six straight losses the team suffered since the second game of the season until now, there have been some that slipped away from MSU. For this contest, the biggest part of the win was being able to finish. This has given them some juice entering the last month of the season where they will face No. 1 ranked Ohio State on the road along with No. 9 Penn State to close out the season at Ford Field.
“When you watch the film, you see that we have a talent,” redshirt senior offensive lineman J.D. Duplain said. “We have good coaches. We were in position for most of those games to have a chance to win there at the end. We were hyping people up towards the end (feeling) like we got to get this done, we got to finish. That's something we haven't done in those six weeks ... but, you know, getting the finish this week, they said it brings life into a team, and we’ve got some momentum over here.”
The Spartans will be in Columbus for a chance at a major upset next Saturday night in a primetime matchup against the top ranked Buckeyes.
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