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Jan 1, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Michigan State Spartans mascot Sparty celebrates after Michigan State Spartans beat the Stanford Cardinal 24-20 at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State Football: Spartans legend Earl Morrall dies

EAST LANSING – Former Michigan State quarterback Earl Morrall died at the age of 79 on Friday.

Morrall had an incredible football career both collegiately and professionally. He was a consensus All-American for the Spartans in 1955, a two-time Pro Bowl selection in the NFL and a three-time Super Bowl champion.

“Earl Morrall was one of the top multi-sport athletes in Michigan State history,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “Earl had a remarkable career at MSU, winning two Rose Bowls, quarterbacking the 1955 team to the National Championship and playing as an infielder in the 1954 College World Series. He went on to have a long and productive career in the National Football League.”

At the conclusion of his football career at Michigan State, the San Francisco 49ers selected Morrall, a Muskegon, Mich. native, as the second-overall draft selection of the 1956 NFL Draft. As a professional, he tossed 161 touchdown passes and finished with 20,809 passing yards.

As the starting quarterback, he also led Michigan State to the 1956 Rose Bowl game where the Spartans defeated UCLA. The team was 9-1 that season.

“On the field, Earl was respected for his toughness,” Dantonio added. “In the community, he was best known for his generosity and kindness. He was a great Spartan.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Jane, his five children and all of his former teammates at this time of sorrow.”

Morrall also was a standout baseball player but ultimately chose to play in the NFL over a professional baseball career.

For more of the latest college football news from around the state of Michigan, be sure to follow Brandon Folsom on Twitter.

Tags: Michigan State Spartans Football

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