Dec 25, 2019

Camping World Bowl is a family affair for Iowa State linebacker Mike Rose

By Zach Seifter, Florida Citrus Sports

ORLANDO, Fla. — The phrase “football is family” is quite literal for some. You have the Mannings (Peyton, Eli and Archie), and the Barbers (Ronde and Tiki), and the Watts (J.J., T.J. and Derek), among others.

This week, add Iowa State linebacker Mike Rose to the mix, too.

The sophomore out of Brecksville, Ohio, grew up with a passion for football, in large part thanks to his grandfather, Chuck Lima. The two have always been close, and when Rose was young, Lima made it clear to his grandson that Notre Dame was the team of choice, thanks in large part to a family connection to the school.

That family connection was Lima, himself.

Lima was a member of the Fighting Irish football team from 1954-57. He was a two-way player, taking the field as both a linebacker and fullback. Though defensive statistics were not recorded back then, he finished his college career with 263 career rushing yards and two touchdowns on offense. He also added 110 career receiving yards.

And while the numbers might not show how significant his impact was, he played an important role in college football lore, as a contributor on the 1957 Notre Dame team that snapped a 47-game Oklahoma winning streak with a 7-0 victory.

It’s one of the greatest upsets in college football history.

“The only thing I’ve ever seen was him running onto the field after ,” Rose said before the Cyclones practiced at Camping World Stadium on Christmas morning. “That’s the only time I’ve seen him in a jersey.”

History-making moments like that helped convinced Rose that he wanted to continue the family legacy on the gridiron.

“It was a while ago but I know back then they had to play both ways,” Rose said. “I’m assuming he probably had a nose for the football.”

It’s an attribute Rose has become known for, as well.

His path to the sport has been a bit different from his grandfather’s, though. For starters, his career took him to Ames, not South Bend. He also only specializes on one side of the ball. But, like his grandfather, he has always shown a willingness to do whatever — and play wherever — is best for the team.

After a wildly successful debut season as a middle linebacker, which earned him a freshman All-America nod, coaches asked Rose to move to the strong side this season — a different vantage point from the one he’d grown accustomed to. Despite the change, Rose didn’t hesitate to say yes. It’s in his blood to want to help his football team in whatever way he can.

“I think anybody that’s an All-American-type football player as a freshman and then is asked to move from his position as a freshman to a different position as a sophomore for the betterment of the team, I think that falls in line with the Lannings and the Kempts of the world,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell told The Gazette newspaper earlier this season. “They have the humility to do what’s best for the team even though it’s not what’s best for you.”

That humility has gone a long way toward another successful season for Rose. Though he finished the regular season with six fewer tackles than his freshman total of 75, he recorded one more sack than his freshman year (2.5) and logged his first career interception and forced fumble this season.

That success helped the Cyclones earn a third consecutive bowl bid for the second time in school history (2000-02). And for Rose, this year’s bowl tilt will come against the team that started it all — an emotional matchup against his grandfather’s alma mater.

“I watched Notre Dame a ton growing up,” Rose said. “My grandpa was always my idol and the person who made me want to play college football. So, playing Notre Dame is definitely pretty special to me.”

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