And the few who have not committed to go yet?
“They’ll be hearing from me if they don’t go,” Gordon said.
Although Gordon waited until the final minutes Saturday night to ask for vacation time, he felt confident the Spartans would beat Ohio State.
“I just felt like they had it,” he said. “I don’t know how to describe it, it was just the swagger they were playing with. You could tell they were just so much more pumped. I didn’t have a doubt.
“I thought the team really came together as a whole. I felt this was their (moment). They were there in the championship game in 2011. They knew what the environment was like, especially the seniors. They were ready for it. Everybody in East Lansing has been ready for the Rose Bowl since Coach (Dantonio) got there.”
Although recruited by John L. Smith, Gordon was a four-year starter under coach Mark Dantonio and defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. He started 49 of 51 games at linebacker, the school record for the most games as a starter. He ranks among Michigan State’s all-time leaders in tackles for loss, tackles and sacks.
Dantonio is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, while Narduzzi is a finalist for the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant.
“He’s an awesome person,” Gordon said of Narduzzi. “He’s a crazy guy. A lot of it is because of his passion for the game. He’s a coach you want to play for. I learned a lot from him. He knows how to motivate his defense, especially when he comes down on the field. Then you know it’s really on.”
Gordon, a business development manager for MCM Staffing, was a senior when current Spartan middle linebacker Max Bullough was a freshman. Bullough, an all-stater at St. Francis, has started the last three seasons, making it seven years in a row a Traverse City player has started at linebacker for State.