Michigan State has suspended senior linebacker Max Bullough for violating team rules, making him ineligible to play in the 100th edition of the Rose Bowl.
In a news release sent early Thursday, Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said Bullough had been suspended for the rest of the season. He did not say what rules the two-time team captain violated.
"It is extremely disappointing for all parties involved," Dantonio said.
The No. 4 Spartans will play No. 5 Stanford in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif. It is Michigan State's seventh straight bowl game and first appearance in the Rose Bowl in 26 seasons.
Dantonio declined to give any details about Bullough's suspension when the Spartans joined Stanford at Disneyland on Thursday to kick off their week of Rose Bowl preparations. He only confirmed that Bullough violated a team rule.
"We've climbed the ladder to get here, and now we have to finish it and win the game," Dantonio said.
Spartans linebacker Kyler Elsworth knows Bullough will be missed when Michigan State takes on the Pac-12 champion Cardinal. Bullough finished the season with 76 tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss.
"We've had to climb hills and adversity before," said Elsworth, who is splitting first-team work at middle linebacker in Bullough's absence. "We all have to pick it up and make the best of the situation. We need to fight for 60 minutes."
In Bullough's absence, the Michigan State defense must rally around star defensive back Darqueze Dennard and top defensive lineman Shilique Calhoun. The Spartans still have one of the nation's top defenses, holding opponents to an average of 80.8 yards rushing per game.
The suspension of a key Michigan State player took Stanford coach David Shaw by surprise.
"I feel sad for [Bullough]," Shaw said. "But as a coach, I understand what you have to do sometimes. A team is not one person."
Bullough, from Traverse City, Mich., earned third-team All-America honors and first-team All-Big Ten honors this season. He has 299 career tackles and made 40 consecutive starts.
Authorities in the Traverse City area had no reports of legal issues involving Bullough, the Traverse City Record-Eagle said. The Associated Press left phone and email messages for police and prosecutors Thursday night.
In 2011, Bullough and then-senior tight end Brian Linthicum were arrested after a disturbance at a bar in Aspen, Colo. Bullough, then 19, was charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol and got nine months' probation, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Playing for Michigan State has been a family affair. Max Bullough's grandfather, Hank Bullough, played for Michigan State in the early 1950s, and his father, Shane, followed in the mid-1980s. Two of Max Bullough's uncles were Spartans, and his younger brother Riley is a redshirt freshman.
"Max will forever remain a Spartan and valued member in this team's achievements," Dantonio said in the statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.