Michigan State to face Boston in Champs Sports Bowl Print
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Sunday, 02 December 2007 16:55
NCAAF Headline News

 EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -The Michigan State Spartans kept insisting they didn't care where they played in a bowl game, but they couldn't hide their enthusiasm Sunday night.
The Spartans (7-5) will face No. 14 Boston College (10-3) in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 28 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
``I've been smiling for 15 minutes nonstop,'' Michigan State safety and co-captain Travis Key said after the invitation was accepted by coach Mark Dantonio. ``I want to thank (athletic director designate) Mr. Mark Hollis and Coach D. for giving us this opportunity.''
Tony Martin, chairman of the bowl's selection committee, knew Michigan State's travel potential from the 2000 Citrus Bowl, when the Spartans brought 25,000 fans to central Florida and beat the Florida Gators 37-34.
``You all have worked the phones as well as any club I've worked with in my 27 years here,'' Martin said of Hollis' campaigning. ``That always, always pays off.''
Hollis sold the passion of Michigan State's following, with an average home attendance of 70,540 and the Florida residences of 15,000 Spartan alumni.
``We have an obligation to take 12,000 tickets,'' Hollis said. ``I see no problem achieving that with the people who'll travel from the state of Michigan and 10 strong alumni clubs in Florida. This team is 28 points from having an undefeated season.''
Hollis also sold the concept of a two-for-one package for vacationing fans, with Michigan (8-4) meeting Florida (9-3) in the Capital One Bowl four days later in the same stadium.
Dantonio went to four bowl games in six years as a Michigan State assistant from 1995-2000, then coached on the Ohio State staff that won the BCS national championship two years later. But he said one of his best memories was starting a new century with the Spartans' win over the Gators in Orlando.
``That trip is very, very vivid in our minds,'' Dantonio said. ``Our goal now is very simply to win eight games.''
Michigan State will have to beat a Boston College team that was 8-0 before a 2-3 finish.
``I've watched them play on TV a couple of times,'' Key said. ``They have a great team. And Matt Ryan is a great quarterback. You have to be pretty good to be on the Heisman Trophy list the way he was. But I know our coaches will get us ready to go.''
 

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