Michigan State's Kirk Cousins, B.J. Cunningham reflect on beating Michigan 4 times in row
INDIANAPOLIS — Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins was an unheralded recruit coming out of Holland Christian, but turned out to be one of the best quarterbacks in Spartans history.
He said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine that it is difficult for him to rank those accomplishments, but didn't deny that going 4-0 against rival Michigan holds a special place among them, particularly when considering the Spartans had lost their previous six games in the series.
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"It’s hard to rank them, because all the accomplishments are special in their own way, but to beat Michigan once, to beat them four times in a row, it's very special and it was big for our program," Cousins said.
"(It) says a lot about our program, the direction Coach (Mark) Dantonio is taking the Michigan State football program, but then also specifically our senior class and the job we were able to do in our four years there."
Cousins said whenever Michigan week rolled around, he would get a text from Brian Hoyer, a former Spartans quarterback who now backs up Tom Brady with the New England Patriots.
The text would remind Cousins what was on the line: A yearly bet between Hoyer and Brady, in which the loser would have to wear his rival's colors.
Cousins never let Hoyer down, after concluding his career with a 28-14 victory against the Wolverines last year. It was Michigan's first loss of the season.
"It’s completion," receiver B.J. Cunningham said of last season's win against Michigan. "It completed the circle for us seniors and, hopefully, the young guys keep ... that beat going."
Cunningham also noted that it was "icing" for him that Michigan State sent more players (six) than Michigan (three) to this week's combine in Indianapolis.
"That keeps the streak going a little bit," he said.
Cunningham, on his relationship with Michigan receiver Junior Hemingway: "I kick it with Hemingway, he’s a good dude. We been in some rooms together, just hanging out."
Cousins, on returning to Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time since losing here in the Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin: "(It) was a bittersweet moment. You think about how close we were to a Rose Bowl, and how close we were to a second consecutive Big Ten championship, and the way we fell short, it was tough. ... At the end of the day, it was two great football teams, and one of them was going to lose, and unfortunately, it was us."