Rocket Sports & Entertainment Network at the OUTBACK BOWL

By on January 13, 2012

Michigan State sends the game to overtime with a last minute TD (photo by: Travis Failey/RSEN)

Tampa, Fla. –The Georgia Bulldogs and Michigan State Spartans proved they could put on quite a show in Tampa at the 26th edition of the Outback Bowl on January 2nd, 2012. From a 16-0 lead by the Bulldogs at halftime to an exciting three overtime Michigan State 33 – 30 win. Rocket Sports & Entertainment Network was there to see all the action…


There was a plethora of storylines.

SEC vs. BIG 10, Aaron Murray and Orson Charles homecoming, Michigan State winless in their last five bowl appearances (four under head coach Mark Dantonio) , Kirk Cousin MSU fifth year Senior QB, Sparty vs. Uga… Its big-time New Year’s Day football, oh well January 2 football. (Thanks NFL)

Could that speed of the SEC Georgia Bulldogs defense stymie the Michigan State  offense?

Can Michigan State shake the mantra of bowl game losers?

Who would be the MVP?


Fans of both Michigan State and Georgia were in full force before the game to soak up the Tampa sun and tailgate hard.  Fans on both sides were convinced that their team was better and guaranteed wins.

There was even one Ohio State fan dressed head to toe in scarlet and grey named Jay, who said, “I live in Tampa, I’m from Cincinnati, we got to root for the BIG

I think Jay got off the wrong exit. (photo by: Keith Alan/RSEN

TEN.”  (I really thought Jay meant to get off the Jacksonville exit to see Ohio State and Florida in the Gator Bowl but got lost.)

Sarah Bowling, who went to Plant High School, now plays softball at Michigan State. (Photo by: Keith Alan/RSEN)

I ran into Sarah Bowling who is #17 on the Michigan State softball is also an alumnus of Plant High School, was asked who she was rooting for because of Aaron Murray and Orson Charles, Sarah said, “No! Michigan State!  It’s going to be a good game but I’m rooting for Michigan State.”

The marching bands, crowd arriving getting fired up, National Anthem complete with the United States Coast Guard fly over…

And the best and my favorite… the jump in by Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base, UNITED STATES SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND Para-Commandos!


The play of the game for the hi-light reel was an electrifying 92 yard punt return by Georgia Bulldog Brandon Boykin.  It came with less than two minutes to go in the first half and put the Dawgs up 16-0, which at the time looked like an insurmountable deficit for the Sparty gang.  The punt return broke the Outback Bowl record set by Derrick Alexander of Michigan in 1994.  Boykin also had a 13 yard TD catch and a tackle for a safety; the scoring tri-fecta would earn him the MVP.

Plant High School alumnus Aaron Murray finished the game 20 of 32 passing with 2 interceptions, 288 yards and 2 TD’s which includes an 80 yarder to Tavarres King.  Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousin (Holland Michigan) threw the ball a plentiful 50 times completing 27 for 300 yards and throwing three picks.  Cousins threw a 7 yard TD pass to Keith Nichol with 8:22 left in the fourth to give MSU their first lead of the game 20-19.

Michigan State running back Le’Von Bell only had 53 yards on the ground but the second one of his 2 TDs was heard all the to East Lansing as it tied the score with 0:14 left in regulation to push the tilt into overtime.

Michigan State rings the "BELL" (photo by: Travis Failey/RSEN)

Only kicks through the uprights would be made in the extra football session; two by Michigan State Spartan Dan Conroy (35 and 28 yards) and only one by Blair Walsh (47 yards).  Conroy  chipped a 28 yarder through the south end-zone upright to seal it for Sparty,  a kick that headed directly toward Plant High School which is just almost a long hail-mary away.  On Georgia’s final possession of the game Walsh’s FG attempt was blocked.  SPATANS WIN 33-30.


Brandon Boykin (2) tackles Michigan St. WR Keshawn Martin (82) for a safety early in the first quarter (photo by: Travis Failey/RSEN)

MVP Brandon Boykin, Georgia

“I’ve never scored offense, defense and special teams…Hats off to Michigan State for doing a great job.”

On whether he would trade his two touchdowns for an Outback Bowl victory:

“Absolutely, any day. Getting that victory, getting that “w” to end a career, I mean there’s nothing like it.

Head Coach Mark Richt, Georgia

“He (Brandon Boykin) scored a touchdown as a back, he scored a touchdown as a punt returner and certainly played great defense. He’s a very dynamic football player and a great person, a guy who loves his team, loves Georgia and loves football. I know he’s going to have a really good career. I’m sure he’ll be a pretty high draft pick and have a great future.”

“It’s sad when you lose. You hate to lose. Right this minute we’re definitely not too thrilled… But I still think that our guys had a good year, not a great year.”

“I think Aaron’s future is very bright. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the country in my mind and he’ll be one of the better quarterbacks who will be returning.”

“First off, congratulations to Coach Dantonio and his staff and his players…It was a great ballgame. I’m sure everybody enjoyed it except for us at the end.”

Head Coach Mark Dantonio, Michigan State

Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio (photo by: Travis Failey/RSEN)

“Big win against a great football team, against an SEC team, against a team that won their division and was 10-2 in the regular season.”

“You’ve got to credit Georgia and how they play. I mean they locked on. They got on our guys and they made plays. They have an outstanding defense.”

“We’ve been waiting for one of these bowl trophies for five years so we’re thrilled to have it. I want to thank the Outback Bowl for making this a very special time for us. Outstanding job by the entire Outback Bowl community and everybody involved with it; this is a tremendous bowl.”

“Offensively, big drive at the end of the game, the two minute situation with 1:26 to go on the clock. That’s why Kirk Cousins is who he is and you see some of our guys making the plays that they made.”

QB Kirk Cousins, Michigan State

“They have a phenomenal defense… Georgia is as good of a team in the country as there is and, as I said, their defense is all that it was cracked up to be before the

KIRK COUSINS (photo by: Travis Failey/RSEN)

game, and the fact that we stood toe-to-toe with them and battled all game says a lot about our program and where we’ve come and where we’re going.”

“The fact it is was so tightly played it shows what a quality of a program Georgia is and a quality program Michigan State has become.”

C Travis Jackson, Michigan State

“It was definitely frustrating that we weren’t playing the way we wanted to play. But we just kept emphasizing that we were only down two points. So we just kind of relaxed and settled down into our own stuff and went after them.”

TE Brian Linthicum, Michigan State

“I’m always hopeful for a game like this and fortunately it came on my last one.”

GALLERY by Travis Failey and Keith Alan

(photo by: Travis Failey/RSEN)


A premier New Year’s Day game, with the ABC telecast and the longest running bowl sponsorship in NCAA Football, Outback Steakhouse… this bowl wins again!

As always the Outback Bowl experience was a fantastic one.  From the members weekend party (sponsors of the bowl are treated to a six month list of events) “Summer Splash” at Saddlebrook in June, to the final whistle of the game, the Outback Bowl is a must for football fans in the bay area who ever your favorite team is.    It is a great way to stay in touch with college football experience even though-out the summertime.

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