TRAVERSE CITY — Rob DeLonge lost his voice on Saturday and by Sunday night it still hadn’t returned.
A fair trade off for a Big 10 football championship, as far as he was concerned.
DeLonge, an avid Michigan State fan and supporter, was barely audible when he returned to Traverse City after spending the weekend cheering on the Spartans at Saturday’s Big 10 championship game in Indianapolis.
Michigan State defeated Ohio State 34-24 on Saturday to capture its first outright league title and Rose Bowl berth since 1987.
The price was DeLonge’s ability to speak audibly.
“After the game I was starting to croak, then this morning I could hardly talk at all,” said DeLonge, who drove to the game with his son Eric and Eric’s fiance, Stacy Heller, an assistant women’s soccer coach for the Spartans. They were among the estimated group of 24 to 25 thousand Michigan State faithful who were inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
“It was really fun,” said DeLonge. “Getting off to the fast start and getting the lead, we knew we could play with them for sure. Even when (Ohio State) came back we were expecting the comeback.”
DeLonge said the loudest cheering came when MSU running back Jeremy Langford broke free for a 26-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes to play that upped the Spartans lead to 10 points and wrapped up the victory.
“It was right in the Michigan State end of the stadium and the noise was deafening.”
Jesse Cyman and his brother-in-law Caleb Nelson went crazy as well at Cyman’s house in Traverse City as they watched the Spartans score the final 17 points to win the game.
“We went bezerk,” Cyman said. “Michigan State’s defense was incredible. It was great to see because it’s been 27 years since they’ve been to the Rose Bowl. Obviously, that’s exciting just because of the fact that Michigan State didn’t have a lot of expectations because they lost so many players from last year.”
DeLonge was hoping for a bounce-back year after last year’s MSU team went 6-6 in the regular season. He was impressed with the the Spartans pulled together after a slow start to the year where they struggled offensively.
“Steady progress from there on out,” said DeLonge. “They ought to be commended for how they persevered and turned things around.”
DeLonge is looking into possibly attending the Rose Bowl game against Stanford on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif. Cyman is confident MSU will fare well in that matchup.
“I know Stanford’s a tough team. I expect Michigan State to win because of how tough they played Saturday,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to be a Spartan fan right now.”