Michigan State Football: Mark Dantonio Wants To Be Part Of Solution

Mark Dantonio reacts after Michigan State's blowout loss to Wisconsin in Madison, Oct. 12, 2019. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press

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In the raw aftermath of a loss that ranked among the worst of his tenure, Mark Dantonio was challenged. The Michigan State football coach had yet to survey the damage of a 38-0 rout by Wisconsin when a reporter asked him about his controversial decision last offseason to keep his offensive staff intact.

Dantonio shook his head with a trademark scowl that has been affixed to his face since he took over the Spartans 12 years ago.

“I think that’s sort of a dumbass question, to be honest with you,” Dantonio fired back.

img itemprop="url" src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2019/09/21/PDTF/1e1c15f9-2286-4940-9a8e-80288761af6f-SI_20190921_szo_bm5_00_1.jpg?width=540&height=&fit=bounds&auto=webp" alt="Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio leads the Spartans onto the field against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Evanston, Ill." width="540" data-mycapture-src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2019/09/21/PDTF/1e1c15f9-2286-4940-9a8e-80288761af6f-SI_20190921_szo_bm5_00_1.jpg" data-mycapture-sm-src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2019/09/21/PDTF/1e1c15f9-2286-4940-9a8e-80288761af6f-SI_20190921_szo_bm5_00_1.jpg?width=500&height=376"">>

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio leads the Spartans onto the field against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Evanston, Ill. (Photo: Matt Marton, USA TODAY Sports)

The soundbite went viral, blasting out of Camp Randall Stadium to YouTube, Twitter and news sites around the internet.

For those looking to build a narrative about Michigan State in this current age, the 21-second clip became the latest evidence that the halcyon days of the Dantonio era had passed and a miasma of negativity had settled over a program in decline.

Only four days before, as the grumbling around him amplified in the wake of another crushing defeat — this one to Ohio State — Dantonio stood behind a different microphone and cracked a rare smile. A different media member had asked him if the wave of success Michigan State experienced in previous seasons under his guidance had now put him in position to be targeted by a fan base holding him to the same lofty standard he created.

“To say I'm a victim, that might be accurate, OK,” he responded, with a slight grin. “But every year we line up and say: 'OK, we can win every football game.' I think that's what you have to be able to do.” 

Not too long ago, Michigan State came close to realizing that goal. During a three-year period that began in late August 2013 and ended on New Year’s Eve 2015, the Spartans won 36 games, suffered only five defeats, claimed a pair of Big Ten titles and advanced to the College Football Playoff. Along the way, Michigan State vanquished the name brands in the sport, prevailing over Michigan, Ohio State and Oregon while also scoring victories against rising powers such as Stanford and Baylor. Back then, no challenge seemed too great for Michigan State, as the Spartans defeated nine ranked opponents during that span.

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Sept. 1, 2007, Michigan State 55, Alabama-Birmingham 18, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans rolled up 593 yards of total offense, and Jehuu Caulcrick ran for four touchdowns in Mark Dantonio’s debut.
Sept. 1, 2007, Michigan State 55, Alabama-Birmingham 18, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans rolled up 593 yards of total offense, and Jehuu Caulcrick ran for four touchdowns in Mark Dantonio’s debut. RASHAUN RUCKER, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSept. 8, 2007, Michigan State 28, Bowling Green 17, Spartan Stadium: 
Brian Hoyer threw a fourth quarter touchdown to Devin Thomas, who totaled 156 yards receiving, as the Spartans pulled away from Bowling Green late.
Sept. 8, 2007, Michigan State 28, Bowling Green 17, Spartan Stadium: Brian Hoyer threw a fourth-quarter touchdown to Devin Thomas, who totaled 156 yards receiving, as the Spartans pulled away from Bowling Green late. RASHAUN RUCKER, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSept. 15, 2007, Michigan State 17, Pittsburgh 13, Spartan Stadium: Safety Travis Key returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown, which proved to be the winning score.
Sept. 15, 2007, Michigan State 17, Pittsburgh 13, Spartan Stadium: Safety Travis Key returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown, which proved to be the winning score. Rashaun Rucker, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSept. 22, 2007, Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 14, Notre Dame Stadium: The Spartans held the Fighting Irish to just 118 yards passing as a dominant third quarter propelled them to a 4-0 start under Dantonio, with MSU gaining a measure of revenge for the blown 17-point fourth-quarter lead at home the previous year.
Sept. 22, 2007, Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 14, Notre Dame Stadium: The Spartans held the Fighting Irish to just 118 yards passing as a dominant third quarter propelled them to a 4-0 start under Dantonio, with MSU gaining a measure of revenge for the blown 17-point fourth-quarter lead at home the previous year. RASHAUN RUCKER, Detroit Free PressFullscreenOct. 13, 2007, Michigan State 52, Indiana 27, Spartan Stadium: Javon Ringer rushed for 203 yards and the Spartans broke a six-game Big Ten losing streak, earning Dantonio’s first conference win in dominating fashion.
Oct. 13, 2007, Michigan State 52, Indiana 27, Spartan Stadium: Javon Ringer rushed for 203 yards and the Spartans broke a six-game Big Ten losing streak, earning Dantonio’s first conference win in dominating fashion. ERIC SEALS, Detroit Free PressFullscreenNov. 10, 2007, Michigan State 48, Purdue 31, Ross-Ade Stadium: MSU forced three Purdue turnovers, including a 20-yard fumble return touchdown by Travis Key, as the Spartans ended a three-game losing streak and clinched bowl eligibility in Dantonio’s first season.
Nov. 10, 2007, Michigan State 48, Purdue 31, Ross-Ade Stadium: MSU forced three Purdue turnovers, including a 20-yard fumble return touchdown by Travis Key, as the Spartans ended a three-game losing streak and clinched bowl eligibility in Dantonio’s first season. RASHAUN RUCKER, Detroit Free PressFullscreenNov. 17, 2007, Michigan State 35, Penn State 31, Spartan Stadium: Jehuu Caulcrick ran for 17 yards on a fake punt from deep in Spartan territory and scored the game-winning touchdown minutes later as MSU overcame a 17-point second-half deficit in the signature win of Dantonio’s inaugural season.
Nov. 17, 2007, Michigan State 35, Penn State 31, Spartan Stadium: Jehuu Caulcrick ran for 17 yards on a fake punt from deep in Spartans territory and scored the game-winning touchdown minutes later as MSU overcame a 17-point second-half deficit in the signature win of Dantonio’s inaugural season. RASHAUN RUCKER, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSept. 6, 2008, Michigan State 42, Eastern Michigan 10, Spartan Stadium: Javon Ringer ran for five touchdowns as the Spartans cruised to their first win of Dantonio’s second season, dominating in-state foe Eastern Michigan.
Sept. 6, 2008, Michigan State 42, Eastern Michigan 10, Spartan Stadium: Javon Ringer ran for five touchdowns as the Spartans cruised to their first win of Dantonio’s second season, dominating in-state foe Eastern Michigan. Al Goldis, ASSOCIATED PRESSFullscreenSept. 13, 2008, Michigan State 17, Florida Atlantic 0, Spartan Stadium: Javon Ringer ran for a career-high 282 yards and the Spartans held Owls quarterback Rusty Smith to 8-34 passing as they recorded the first defensive shutout of Dantonio’s tenure. 
10.
Sept. 13, 2008, Michigan State 17, Florida Atlantic 0, Spartan Stadium: Javon Ringer ran for a career-high 282 yards and the Spartans held Owls quarterback Rusty Smith to 8-for-34 passing as they recorded the first defensive shutout of Dantonio’s tenure.  Al Goldis, ASSOCIATED PRESSFullscreenSept. 20, 2008, Michigan State 23, Notre Dame 7, Spartan Stadium: The Spartan defense and tailback Javon Ringer were the difference again, as the Irish turned the ball over three times and Ringer ran for a pair of one-yard touchdowns as MSU made it two in a row over the rival Irish.
Sept. 20, 2008, Michigan State 23, Notre Dame 7, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans defense and tailback Javon Ringer were the difference again, as the Irish turned the ball over three times and Ringer ran for a pair of one-yard touchdowns as MSU made it two in a row over the rival Irish. Al Goldis, ASSOCIATED PRESSFullscreenSept. 27, 2008, Michigan State 42, Indiana 29, Memorial Stadium: Brian Hoyer threw an 82-yard touchdown pass to tight end Charlie Gantt and a crucial holding penalty in the end zone on Indiana turned a 99-yard touchdown run for the Hoosiers into a two-point safety for the Spartans, who escaped Bloomington with a high-scoring win.
Sept. 27, 2008, Michigan State 42, Indiana 29, Memorial Stadium: Brian Hoyer threw an 82-yard touchdown pass to tight end Charlie Gantt and a crucial holding penalty in the end zone on Indiana turned a 99-yard touchdown run for the Hoosiers into a two-point safety for the Spartans, who left Bloomington with a high-scoring win. Darron Cummings, ASSOCIATED PRESSFullscreenOct. 4, 2008, Michigan State 16, Iowa 13, Spartan Stadium: MSU made a crucial fourth-down stop as Iowa neglected the chance to kick a 38-yard game-tying field goal with 2:18 remaining, and the Spartans won despite scoring just one touchdown, a first-quarter pass from Brian Hoyer to Charlie Gantt.
Oct. 4, 2008, Michigan State 16, Iowa 13, Spartan Stadium: MSU made a crucial fourth-down stop as Iowa neglected the chance to kick a 38-yard game-tying field goal with 2:18 remaining, and the Spartans won despite scoring just one touchdown, a first-quarter pass from Brian Hoyer to Charlie Gantt. Al Goldis, APFullscreenOct. 11, 2008, Michigan State 37, Northwestern 20, Ryan Field: In the first game as a ranked team in the Dantonio tenure, the 23rd-ranked Spartans built a 17-0 first-half lead over previously-unbeaten Northwestern, and a balanced attack carried MSU to a 37-20 victory.
Oct. 11, 2008, Michigan State 37, Northwestern 20, Ryan Field: In the first game as a ranked team in the Dantonio tenure, the 23rd-ranked Spartans built a 17-0 first-half lead over previously unbeaten Northwestern, and a balanced attack carried MSU to a 37-20 victory. RASHAUN RUCKER, Detroit Free PressFullscreenOct. 25, 2008, Michigan State 35, Michigan 21, Michigan Stadium: After then-Michigan tailback Mike Hart referred to MSU as the Wolverines’ little brother the previous season, the Spartans exacted some revenge, with Brian Hoyer throwing for three touchdowns, including a 61-yarder to Blair White, as Mark Dantonio earned his first win against archrival Michigan.
Oct. 25, 2008, Michigan State 35, Michigan 21, Michigan Stadium: After then-Michigan tailback Mike Hart referred to MSU as the Wolverines’ little brother the previous season, the Spartans exacted some revenge, with Brian Hoyer throwing for three touchdowns, including a 61-yarder to Blair White, as Mark Dantonio earned his first win against archrival Michigan. Rashaun Rucker, Detroit Free PressFullscreenNov. 1, 2008, Michigan State 25, Wisconsin 24, Spartan Stadium: Brett Swenson’s 44-yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining completed the Spartans’ comeback from an 11-point second-half deficit, as Javon Ringer was held to only 54 yards on 20 carries, but scored twice from close range.
Nov. 1, 2008, Michigan State 25, Wisconsin 24, Spartan Stadium: Brett Swenson’s 44-yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining completed the Spartans’ comeback from an 11-point second-half deficit, as Javon Ringer was held to only 54 yards on 20 carries, but scored twice from close range. Al Goldis, ASSOCIATED PRESSFullscreenNov. 8, 2008, Michigan State 21, Purdue 7, Spartan Stadium: Javon Ringer ran for two more touchdowns and a dominant Spartan defense was only denied a shutout by a Purdue touchdown with 42 seconds remaining, as MSU held the Boilermakers to 191 total yards.
Nov. 8, 2008, Michigan State 21, Purdue 7, Spartan Stadium: Javon Ringer ran for two more touchdowns, and a dominant Spartans defense was denied a shutout by a Purdue touchdown with 42 seconds remaining, as MSU held the Boilermakers to 191 total yards. Al Goldis, ASSOCIATED PRESSFullscreenSept. 5, 2009, Michigan State 44, Montana State 3, Spartan Stadium: New Spartan starting quarterback Kirk Cousins tossed three touchdowns, understudy and future “Rocket” man Keith Nichol threw two, and Michigan State cruised to an easy season-opening win over the “other” MSU.
Sept. 5, 2009, Michigan State 44, Montana State 3, Spartan Stadium: New starting quarterback Kirk Cousins tossed three touchdowns, understudy and future “Rocket” man Keith Nichol threw two, and Michigan State cruised to an easy season-opening win over the “other” MSU. RASHAUN RUCKER, Detroit Free PressFullscreenOct. 3, 2009, Michigan State 26, Michigan 20 (OT), Spartan Stadium: Defensive back Chris L. Rucker intercepted Michigan QB Tate Forcier in overtime, freshman tailback Larry Caper ran for a 23-yard touchdown to win the game, and MSU earned its first two-game winning streak against the Wolverines since 1967, with the team swarming Caper in the north end zone after the touchdown.
Oct. 3, 2009, Michigan State 26, Michigan 20 (OT), Spartan Stadium: Defensive back Chris L. Rucker intercepted Michigan QB Tate Forcier in overtime, freshman tailback Larry Caper ran for a 23-yard touchdown to win the game, and MSU earned its first two-game winning streak against the Wolverines since 1967. The team swarmed Caper in the north end zone after the touchdown. Al Goldis, APFullscreenOct. 10, 2009, Michigan State 24, Illinois 14, Memorial Stadium: Safety Danny Fortener returned a Juice Williams interception 45 yards for a touchdown as MSU built a 24-0 lead over the Fighting Illini and survived two late scores to improve to 3-3 on the season.
Oct. 10, 2009, Michigan State 24, Illinois 14, Memorial Stadium: Safety Danny Fortener returned a Juice Williams interception 45 yards for a touchdown as MSU built a 24-0 lead over the Fighting Illini and survived two late scores to improve to 3-3. Seth Perlman, APFullscreenOct. 17, 2009, Michigan State 24, Northwestern 14, Spartan Stadium: Kirk Cousins found Blair White 12 times for 186 yards, including two touchdowns, as MSU won its third straight game.
Oct. 17, 2009, Michigan State 24, Northwestern 14, Spartan Stadium: Kirk Cousins found Blair White 12 times for 186 yards, including two touchdowns, as MSU won its third straight game. Al Goldis, APFullscreenNov. 7, 2009, Michigan State 49, Western Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: Ashton Leggett ran for four touchdowns and 110 yards in a rare November non-conference game as the Spartans rolled by five scores over Western Michigan.
Nov. 7, 2009, Michigan State 49, Western Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: Ashton Leggett ran for four touchdowns and 110 yards in a rare November non-conference game as the Spartans rolled by five scores over Western Michigan. Al Goldis, APFullscreenNov. 14, 2009, Michigan State 40, Purdue 37, Ross-Ade Stadium: Kirk Cousins threw three touchdowns and Brett Swenson’s 21-yard field goal with 1:51 remaining earned the Spartans bowl eligibility after overcoming an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit on the road against Purdue.
Nov. 14, 2009, Michigan State 40, Purdue 37, Ross-Ade Stadium: Kirk Cousins threw three touchdowns and Brett Swenson’s 21-yard field goal with 1:51 remaining earned the Spartans bowl eligibility after overcoming an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit on the road against Purdue. Tom Strattman, APFullscreenSept. 4, 2010, Michigan State 38, Western Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: Freshman tailback Le’Veon Bell ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries as the Spartans opened up the 2010 season in convincing fashion over Western Michigan.
Sept. 4, 2010, Michigan State 38, Western Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: Freshman tailback Le’Veon Bell ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries as the Spartans opened up the 2010 season in convincing fashion over Western Michigan. RASHAUN RUCKER, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSept. 11, 2010, Michigan State 30, Florida Atlantic 17, Ford Field: Edwin Baker ran for 183 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run, in a game originally scheduled to be played in Boca Raton, Florida — the Spartans wore white uniforms and were the designated road team, but the Detroit crowd was firmly behind them.
Sept. 11, 2010, Michigan State 30, Florida Atlantic 17, Ford Field: Edwin Baker ran for 183 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run, in a game originally scheduled to be played in Boca Raton, Florida. The Spartans wore white uniforms and were the designated road team, but the Detroit crowd was firmly behind them. RASHAUN RUCKER, MCTFullscreenSept. 18, 2010, Michigan State 34, Notre Dame 31 (OT), Spartan Stadium: A game that can be summed up in two words — “Little Giants” — holder Aaron Bates throwing a 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Charlie Gantt on a fake field goal in overtime to send the crowd at Spartan Stadium into hysterics and begin the legend of Dantonio’s risk-taking nature.
Sept. 18, 2010, Michigan State 34, Notre Dame 31 (OT), Spartan Stadium: A game that can be summed up in two words — “Little Giants” — holder Aaron Bates throwing a 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Charlie Gantt on a fake field goal in overtime to send the crowd at Spartan Stadium into hysterics and begin the legend of Dantonio’s risk-taking nature. JULIAN H. GONZALEZ, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSept. 25, 2010, Michigan State 45, Northern Colorado 7, Spartan Stadium: In a game that Dantonio missed after suffering a mild heart attack in the wake of the Little Giants play the week before, MSU easily rolled the overmatched Northern Colorado squad — Kirk Cousins threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns in a workmanlike victory.
Sept. 25, 2010, Michigan State 45, Northern Colorado 7, Spartan Stadium: In a game that Dantonio missed after suffering a mild heart attack in the wake of the Little Giants play the week before, MSU easily rolled the overmatched Northern Colorado squad. Kirk Cousins threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns in a workmanlike victory. Al Goldis, APFullscreenOct. 2, 2010, Michigan State 34, Wisconsin 24, Spartan Stadium: Interim coach Don Treadwell adhered to Dantonio’s penchant for risk, with Kirk Cousins connecting with BJ Cunningham for a 1-yard, game-clinching touchdown with 2:43 remaining as Dantonio remained in the hospital with complications from the heart attack suffered two weeks previous.
Oct. 2, 2010, Michigan State 34, Wisconsin 24, Spartan Stadium: Interim coach Don Treadwell adhered to Dantonio’s penchant for risk, with Kirk Cousins connecting with B.J. Cunningham for a 1-yard, game-clinching touchdown with 2:43 remaining as Dantonio remained in the hospital with complications from the heart attack suffered two weeks previous. Carlos Osorio, APFullscreenOct. 9, 2010: Michigan State 34, Michigan 17, Michigan Stadium: Mark Dantonio was back on the sideline and the defense was back in a groove, picking off three Denard Robinson passes, as MSU scored 24 unanswered in the second and third quarter to once again knock off the Wolverines.
Oct. 9, 2010: Michigan State 34, Michigan 17, Michigan Stadium: Mark Dantonio was back on the sideline and the defense was back in a groove, picking off three Denard Robinson passes as MSU scored 24 points unanswered in the second and third quarters to once again knock off the Wolverines. Julian H. Gonzalez, Detroit Free PressFullscreenOct. 16, 2010, Michigan State 26, Illinois 6, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans outscored the Fighting Illini 23-0 in the second half, keyed by a 48-yard scoring connection between Kirk Cousins and BJ Cunningham, as MSU improved to its first 7-0 start since the fabled 1966 squad.
Oct. 16, 2010, Michigan State 26, Illinois 6, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans outscored the Fighting Illini 23-0 in the second half, keyed by a 48-yard scoring connection between Kirk Cousins and B.J. Cunningham, as MSU improved to its first 7-0 start since the fabled 1966 squad. Tony Ding, APFullscreenOct. 23, 2010, Michigan State 35, Northwestern 27, Ryan Field: MSU flirted with disaster, falling behind 17-0 on the road, but got off the mat, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 331 yards and three touchdowns as the Spartans remained unbeaten.
Oct. 23, 2010, Michigan State 35, Northwestern 27, Ryan Field: MSU flirted with disaster, falling behind 17-0 on the road, but got off the mat, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 331 yards and three touchdowns as the Spartans remained unbeaten. RASHAUN RUCKER, MCTFullscreenNov. 6, 2010: Michigan State 31, Minnesota 8, Spartan Stadium: After being routed by Iowa on the road the previous week, the Spartans rebounded, with Edwin Baker running for 179 yards and four touchdowns.
Nov. 6, 2010: Michigan State 31, Minnesota 8, Spartan Stadium: After being routed by Iowa on the road the previous week, the Spartans rebounded, with Edwin Baker running for 179 yards and four touchdowns. Al Goldis, APFullscreenNov. 20, 2010: Michigan State 35, Purdue 31, Spartan Stadium: Trailing 28-13 after three quarters, the Spartans rallied behind Kirk Cousins, whose 3-yard rush with 4:32 remaining gave MSU its first lead of the second half, en route to the 10th win of the season. It was the  first double-digit win season for the program since 1999, when Dantonio was the defensive coordinator under Nick Saban.
Nov. 20, 2010: Michigan State 35, Purdue 31, Spartan Stadium: Trailing 28-13 after three quarters, the Spartans rallied behind Kirk Cousins, whose 3-yard rush with 4:32 remaining gave MSU its first lead of the second half, en route to the 10th win of the season. It was the first double-digit win season for the program since 1999, when Dantonio was the defensive coordinator under Nick Saban. Al Goldis, APFullscreenNov. 27, 2010: Michigan State 28, Penn State 22, Beaver Stadium: MSU built a 21-3 lead after three quarters and held off a furious Penn State rally. It was the first win in Happy Valley in Mark Dantonio’s tenure, and clinched a share of the program’s first Big Ten championship since 1990.
Nov. 27, 2010: Michigan State 28, Penn State 22, Beaver Stadium: MSU built a 21-3 lead after three quarters and held off a furious Penn State rally. It was the first win in Happy Valley in Mark Dantonio’s tenure, and clinched a share of the program’s first Big Ten championship since 1990. Gene J. Puskar, APFullscreenSept. 2, 2011: Michigan State 28, Youngstown State 6, Spartan Stadium: In the first Friday night game at Spartan Stadium, MSU controlled the second half against the overmatched Penguins, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 222 yards and a touchdown.
Sept. 2, 2011: Michigan State 28, Youngstown State 6, Spartan Stadium: In the first Friday night game at Spartan Stadium, MSU controlled the second half against the overmatched Penguins, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 222 yards and a touchdown. Al Goldis, APFullscreenSept. 10, 2011: Michigan State 44, Florida Atlantic 0, Spartan Stadium: In a devastating defensive performance, the Spartans held FAU to one first down, as B.J. Cunningham became the school’s all-time leader in receptions, passing Matt Trannon.
Sept. 10, 2011: Michigan State 44, Florida Atlantic 0, Spartan Stadium: In a devastating defensive performance, the Spartans held FAU to one first down, as B.J. Cunningham became the school’s all-time leader in receptions, passing Matt Trannon. Al Goldis, APFullscreenSept. 24, 2011: Michigan State 45, Central Michigan 7, Spartan Stadium: Le’Veon Bell ran for 81 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, following a loss at Notre Dame the previous week.
Sept. 24, 2011: Michigan State 45, Central Michigan 7, Spartan Stadium: Le’Veon Bell ran for 81 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, following a loss at Notre Dame the previous week. Al Goldis, APFullscreenOct. 1, 2011: Michigan State 10, Ohio State 7, Ohio Stadium: In an old-school Big Ten game that would have made Duffy Daugherty and Woody Hayes proud, MSU held OSU to 178 yards of offense and notched the program’s first win at the Horseshoe since 1998 — with MSU finally conquering the Buckeyes under former OSU assistant Dantonio — the Buckeyes had been the only Big Ten team he had failed to beat.
Oct. 1, 2011: Michigan State 10, Ohio State 7, Ohio Stadium: In an old-school Big Ten game that would have made Duffy Daugherty and Woody Hayes proud, MSU held OSU to 178 yards of offense and notched the program’s first win at the Horseshoe since 1998 — with MSU finally conquering the Buckeyes under former OSU assistant Dantonio — the Buckeyes had been the only Big Ten team he had failed to beat. NEAL C. LAURON, MCTFullscreenOct. 15, 2011: Michigan State 28, Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: Safety Isaiah Lewis returned an interception of Denard Robinson for a score with 4:31 remaining, as the Spartans beat their previously unbeaten rival for the fourth straight time, the first such streak since 1959-62. Senior Kirk Cousins proclaimed afterwards that “for the rest of our lives, we can walk the streets of Michigan.”
Oct. 15, 2011: Michigan State 28, Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: Safety Isaiah Lewis returned an interception of Denard Robinson for a score with 4:31 remaining, as the Spartans beat their previously unbeaten rival for the fourth straight time, the first such streak since 1959-62. Senior Kirk Cousins proclaimed afterwards that “for the rest of our lives, we can walk the streets of Michigan.” Al Goldis, APFullscreenOct. 22, 2011: Michigan State 37, Wisconsin 31, Spartan Stadium: In a tie game with four seconds remaining, Mark Dantonio dialed up “Rocket,” a Hail Mary pass where former quarterback Keith Nichol caught a pass on a deflection and barely got the ball over the plane of the end zone to stun 4th-ranked Wisconsin on the last play of the game, as MSU won a wild, back-and-forth contest.
Oct. 22, 2011: Michigan State 37, Wisconsin 31, Spartan Stadium: In a tie game with four seconds remaining, Mark Dantonio dialed up “Rocket,” a Hail Mary pass where former quarterback Keith Nichol caught a pass on a deflection and barely got the ball over the plane of the end zone to stun 4th-ranked Wisconsin on the last play of the game, as MSU won a wild, back-and-forth contest. Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free PressFullscreenNov. 5, 2011: Michigan State 31, Minnesota 24, Spartan Stadium: Trailing 24-21 entering the fourth quarter against 2-6 Minnesota, the Spartans turned to star tailback Le’Veon Bell, whose 35-yard scamper with 10:58 remaining gave MSU the lead, as it atoned for the previous week’s loss at Nebraska.
Nov. 5, 2011: Michigan State 31, Minnesota 24, Spartan Stadium: Trailing 24-21 entering the fourth quarter against 2-6 Minnesota, the Spartans turned to star tailback Le’Veon Bell, whose 35-yard scamper with 10:58 remaining gave MSU the lead, as it atoned for the previous week’s loss at Nebraska. Al Goldis, APFullscreenNov. 12, 2011: Michigan State 37, Iowa 21, Kinnick Stadium: Kirk Cousins threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns as MSU built a 31-7 first-half lead en route to its first win at Kinnick Stadium since 1989.
Nov. 12, 2011: Michigan State 37, Iowa 21, Kinnick Stadium: Kirk Cousins threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns as MSU built a 31-7 first-half lead en route to its first win at Kinnick Stadium since 1989. Charlie Neibergall, APFullscreenNov. 19, 2011: Michigan State 55, Indiana 3, Spartan Stadium: In another overwhelming victory, MSU scored the most points under Mark Dantonio and clinched a spot in the inaugural Big Ten championship game, winning the Legends Division.
Nov. 19, 2011: Michigan State 55, Indiana 3, Spartan Stadium: In another overwhelming victory, MSU scored the most points under Mark Dantonio and clinched a spot in the inaugural Big Ten championship game, winning the Legends Division. Al Goldis, APFullscreenNov. 26, 2011: Michigan State 31, Northwestern 17, Ryan Field: Keshawn Martin returned a punt 57 yards for a touchdown and Kirk Cousins became the all-time passing touchdowns leader in school history.
Nov. 26, 2011: Michigan State 31, Northwestern 17, Ryan Field: Keshawn Martin returned a punt 57 yards for a touchdown and Kirk Cousins became the all-time passing touchdowns leader in school history. Nam Y. Huh, APFullscreenJan. 2, 2012: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30 (3OT), Raymond James Stadium: It took three overtimes in the Outback Bowl, but the Spartans finally won a bowl game under Mark Dantonio, after losing the first four of his tenure. They blocked a Blair Walsh field goal to win, after rallying to force OT with a 10-play, 85-yard drive with 14 seconds remaining in regulation.
Jan. 2, 2012: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30 (3OT), Raymond James Stadium: It took three overtimes in the Outback Bowl, but the Spartans finally won a bowl game under Mark Dantonio, after losing the first four of his tenure. They blocked a Blair Walsh field goal to win, after rallying to force OT with a 10-play, 85-yard drive with 14 seconds remaining in regulation. Andre J. Jackson, Detroit Free PressFullscreenAug. 31, 2012: Michigan State 17, Boise State 13, Spartan Stadium: Le’Veon Bell ran for a career-high 210 yards and two touchdowns, including the winner with 8:12 remaining in a Friday night thriller between two tough defenses.
Aug. 31, 2012: Michigan State 17, Boise State 13, Spartan Stadium: Le’Veon Bell ran for a career-high 210 yards and two touchdowns, including the winner with 8:12 remaining in a Friday night thriller between two tough defenses. Jarrad Henderson, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSep 8, 2012: Michigan State 41, Central Michigan 7, Spartan Stadium: Andrew Maxwell threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns in a route of the in-state rival, as the defense held the Chippewas to 245 total yards and forced three turnovers.
Sep 8, 2012: Michigan State 41, Central Michigan 7, Spartan Stadium: Andrew Maxwell threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns in a rout of the in-state rival, as the defense held the Chippewas to 245 total yards and forced three turnovers. Andrew Weber, US PRESSWIREFullscreenSept. 22, 2012: Michigan State 23, Eastern Michigan 7, Spartan Stadium:
The crowd was restless at halftime, when the Spartans trailed the Eagles, 7-3, but they rebounded in the second half behind Le’Veon Bell’s career-high 253 yards on the ground.
Sept. 22, 2012: Michigan State 23, Eastern Michigan 7, Spartan Stadium: The crowd was restless at halftime with the Spartans trailing the Eagles, 7-3, but MSU rebounded in the second half behind Le’Veon Bell’s career-high 253 yards rushing.  Jarrad Henderson, Detroit Free PressFullscreenOct. 6, 2012: Michigan State 31, Indiana 27, Memorial Stadium: MSU erased a 17-point first-half deficit as Andrew Maxwell threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns, including a 36-yard toss to Bennie Fowler with 6:35 remaining.
Oct. 6, 2012: Michigan State 31, Indiana 27, Memorial Stadium: MSU erased a 17-point first-half deficit as Andrew Maxwell threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns, including a 36-yard toss to Bennie Fowler with 6:35 remaining. Darron Cummings, APFullscreenOct. 27, 2012: Michigan State 16, Wisconsin 13 (OT), Camp Randall Stadium: Andrew Maxwell overcame a tough day by connecting with Le’Veon Bell for a 5-yard touchdown to tie the score with a minute left in regulation, then found Bennie Fowler for a 12-yarder to win it in OT, as MSU snapped Wisconsin’s 21-game home winning streak.
Oct. 27, 2012: Michigan State 16, Wisconsin 13 (OT), Camp Randall Stadium: Andrew Maxwell overcame a tough day by connecting with Le’Veon Bell for a 5-yard touchdown to tie the score with a minute left in regulation, then found Bennie Fowler for a 12-yarder to win it in OT as MSU snapped Wisconsin’s 21-game home winning streak. Andy Manis, APFullscreenNov 24, 2012 Michigan State 26, Minnesota 10, TCF Bank Stadium: Le’Veon Bell ran for a career-high 266 yards as MSU ran away from the Golden Gophers in the fourth quarter to earn bowl eligibility in the midst of the toughest regular season of Mark Dantonio’s tenure to that point.
Nov 24, 2012 Michigan State 26, Minnesota 10, TCF Bank Stadium: Le’Veon Bell ran for a career-high 266 yards as MSU ran away from the Golden Gophers in the fourth quarter to earn bowl eligibility in the midst of the toughest regular season of Mark Dantonio’s tenure to that point. Jesse Johnson, US PRESSWIREFullscreenDec. 29, 2012: Michigan State 17, TCU 16, Sun Devil Stadium: Dan Conroy hit a 47-yard field goal with 1:01 remaining as MSU won the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, salvaging a lost season by forcing two turnovers and leaning on Le’Veon Bell, who ran for 145 yards and a score.
Dec. 29, 2012: Michigan State 17, TCU 16, Sun Devil Stadium: Dan Conroy hit a 47-yard field goal with 1:01 remaining as MSU won the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, salvaging a lost season by forcing two turnovers and leaning on Le’Veon Bell, who ran for 145 yards and a score. Matt York, APFullscreenAug. 30, 2013: Michigan State 26, Western Michigan 13, Spartan Stadium: Jairus Jones lateraled his interception to Kurtis Drummond for a 22-yard touchdown return to open the scoring as MSU forced four Broncos turnovers in a season-opening victory.
Aug. 30, 2013: Michigan State 26, Western Michigan 13, Spartan Stadium: Jairus Jones lateraled his interception to Kurtis Drummond for a 22-yard touchdown return to open the scoring as MSU forced four Broncos turnovers in a season-opening victory. Jarrad Henderson, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSept. 7, 2013: Michigan State 21, South Florida 6, Spartan Stadium: Shilique Calhoun returned an interception 56 yards as the defense dominated for the second straight week, with Andrew Maxwell and the offense again failing to impress, but MSU held the Bulls to 155 total yards.
Sept. 7, 2013: Michigan State 21, South Florida 6, Spartan Stadium: Shilique Calhoun returned an interception 56 yards as the defense dominated for the second straight week, with Andrew Maxwell and the offense again failing to impress, but MSU held the Bulls to 155 total yards. Al Goldis, APFullscreenSept. 14, 2013: Michigan State 55, Youngstown State 17, Spartan Stadium: Connor Cook threw for four touchdown passes in his first start, as the defense controlled the game again, holding the Penguins to 172 total yards.
Sept. 14, 2013: Michigan State 55, Youngstown State 17, Spartan Stadium: Connor Cook threw four touchdown passes in his first start as the defense controlled the game again, holding the Penguins to 172 total yards. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenOct. 5, 2013: Michigan State 26, Iowa 14, Kinnick Stadium: After falling in a close game at Notre Dame two weeks earlier, the Spartans found their quarterback of the future, as Connor Cook threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns, and Darqueze Dennard intercepted two passes.
Oct. 5, 2013: Michigan State 26, Iowa 14, Kinnick Stadium: After falling in a close game at Notre Dame two weeks earlier, the Spartans found their quarterback of the future, as Connor Cook threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns, and Darqueze Dennard intercepted two passes. Reese Strickland, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenOct.12, 2013: Michigan State 42, Indiana 28, Spartan Stadium: Jeremy Langford ran for three touchdowns, Connor Cook threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, as the offense got hot after struggling early in the year.
Oct.12, 2013: Michigan State 42, Indiana 28, Spartan Stadium: Jeremy Langford ran for three touchdowns, Connor Cook threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, as the offense got hot after struggling early in the year. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenOct. 19, 2013: Michigan State 14, Purdue 0, Spartan Stadium: Denicos Allen returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown, and though the offense struggled, the defense was back to its usual dominant self.
Oct. 19, 2013: Michigan State 14, Purdue 0, Spartan Stadium: Denicos Allen returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown, and though the offense struggled, the defense was back to its usual dominant self. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenOct. 26, 2013: Michigan State 42, Illinois 3, Memorial Stadium: Connor Cook was nearly perfect, going 15-16 for 208 yards and three touchdowns, while MSU held Illinois to 128 yards of total offense.
Oct. 26, 2013: Michigan State 42, Illinois 3, Memorial Stadium: Connor Cook was nearly perfect, going 15-for-16 for 208 yards and three touchdowns, while MSU held Illinois to 128 yards of total offense. Pat Lovell, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNov. 2, 2013: Michigan State 29, Michigan 6, Spartan Stadium: The defense held the Wolverines to 168 yards of offense, and Connor Cook threw for 252 yards and a score, and also rushed for a TD, as MSU won its fifth matchup with Michigan in six seasons.
Nov. 2, 2013: Michigan State 29, Michigan 6, Spartan Stadium: The defense held the Wolverines to 168 yards of offense, and Connor Cook threw for 252 yards and a score, and also rushed for a TD, as MSU won its fifth matchup with Michigan in six seasons. Julian H. Gonzalez, Detroit Free PressFullscreenNov. 16, 2013: Michigan State 41, Nebraska 28, Memorial Stadium: MSU forced five turnovers, helping it overcome a 392-361 deficit in total yards, but the offense was able to capitalize on short fields, as Jeremy Langford ran for 151 yards and three touchdowns.
Nov. 16, 2013: Michigan State 41, Nebraska 28, Memorial Stadium: MSU forced five turnovers, helping it overcome a 392-361 deficit in total yards, but the offense was able to capitalize on short fields, as Jeremy Langford ran for 151 yards and three touchdowns. Nati Harnik, APFullscreenNov. 23, 2013: Michigan State 30, Northwestern 6, Ryan Field: Connor Cook threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, MSU forced three turnovers and kept the Wildcats out of the end zone as the Spartans clinched the Legends Division for the second time in three years.
Nov. 23, 2013: Michigan State 30, Northwestern 6, Ryan Field: Connor Cook threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, MSU forced three turnovers and kept the Wildcats out of the end zone as the Spartans clinched the Legends Division for the second time in three years. Reid Compton, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNov. 30, 2013: Michigan State 14, Minnesota 3, Spartan Stadium: The defense once again kept an opponent out of the end zone and forced three turnovers, while Jeremy Langford ran for 143 yards and a touchdown as MSU completed a perfect Big Ten regular season at 8-0.
Nov. 30, 2013: Michigan State 14, Minnesota 3, Spartan Stadium: The defense once again kept an opponent out of the end zone and forced three turnovers, while Jeremy Langford ran for 143 yards and a touchdown as MSU completed a perfect Big Ten regular season at 8-0. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenDec. 7, 2013: Michigan State 34, Ohio State 24, Lucas Oil Stadium:
A heavy underdog, MSU took a 17-0 lead in the Big Ten championship game, but was caught and passed by second-ranked Ohio State. But a fourth-down stop by Denicos Allen on OSU's Braxton Miller, followed by a clinching 26-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Langford, preserved the first Big Ten championship game victory in school history and a trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1987.
Dec. 7, 2013: Michigan State 34, Ohio State 24, Lucas Oil Stadium: A heavy underdog, MSU took a 17-0 lead in the Big Ten championship game, but was caught and passed by second-ranked Ohio State. But a fourth-down stop by Denicos Allen on OSU's Braxton Miller, followed by a clinching 26-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Langford, preserved the first Big Ten championship game victory in school history and a trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1987. Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenJan. 1, 2014: Michigan State 24, Stanford 20, Rose Bowl: Linebacker Kyler Ellsworth, starting in place of suspended captain Max Bullough, stopped Stanford on a fourth-and-one as the Spartans won the Rose Bowl for the first time in 27 years behind Connor Cook’s career-high 332 passing yards.
Jan. 1, 2014: Michigan State 24, Stanford 20, Rose Bowl: Linebacker Kyler Ellsworth, starting in place of suspended captain Max Bullough, stopped Stanford on a fourth-and-one as the Spartans won the Rose Bowl for the first time in 27 years behind Connor Cook’s career-high 332 passing yards. Jeff Gross, Getty ImagesFullscreenAug. 29, 2014: Michigan State 45, Jacksonville State 7, Spartan Stadium: Connor Cook threw three first-half touchdowns and the defense forced three turnovers.
Aug. 29, 2014: Michigan State 45, Jacksonville State 7, Spartan Stadium: Connor Cook threw three first-half touchdowns and the defense forced three turnovers. Al Goldis, APFullscreenSept. 20, 2014: Michigan State 73, Eastern Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans scored the most points in the Mark Dantonio era, scoring 10 touchdowns offensively and forcing six turnovers, as Tony Lippett scored two touchdowns on only three catches.
Sept. 20, 2014: Michigan State 73, Eastern Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans put up the most points in the Mark Dantonio era, scoring 10 offensive touchdowns and forcing six turnovers. Tony Lippett scored two touchdowns on only three catches. Julian H. Gonzalez, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSept. 27, 2014: Michigan State 56, Wyoming 14, Spartan Stadium:
The MSU offense rolled again, putting up 42 in the first half, including two Connor Cook scores.
Sept. 27, 2014: Michigan State 56, Wyoming 14, Spartan Stadium: The MSU offense rolled again, putting up 42 in the first half, including two Connor Cook scores. Al Goldis, APFullscreenOct. 4, 2014: Michigan State 27, Nebraska 22, Spartan Stadium: MSU held a 27-3 fourth-quarter lead and looked to be in control, before the Cornhuskers ripped off 19 points and had the ball with a minute left with a chance to win, but the Spartans held on.
Oct. 4, 2014: Michigan State 27, Nebraska 22, Spartan Stadium: MSU held a 27-3 fourth-quarter lead and looked to be in control before the Cornhuskers ripped off 19 points and had the ball with a minute left with a chance to win, but the Spartans held on. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenOct. 11, 2014: Michigan State 45, Purdue 31, Ross-Ade Stadium: Linebacker Darien Harris returned an interception 15 yards for a game-sealing touchdown with 1:22 left, as the Spartans once again nearly let a three-score lead slip in the fourth quarter.
Oct. 11, 2014: Michigan State 45, Purdue 31, Ross-Ade Stadium: Linebacker Darien Harris returned an interception 15 yards for a game-sealing touchdown with 1:22 left, as the Spartans once again nearly let a three-score lead slip in the fourth quarter. AJ MAST, APFullscreenOct. 18, 2014: Michigan State 56, Indiana 17, Memorial Stadium: Connor Cook threw for three scores, Jeremy Langford ran for three more, and the Spartans ran up 662 yards of offense.
Oct. 18, 2014: Michigan State 56, Indiana 17, Memorial Stadium: Connor Cook threw for three scores, Jeremy Langford ran for three more, and the Spartans ran up 662 yards of offense. Sam Riche, APFullscreenOct. 25, 2014: Michigan State 35, Michigan 11, Spartan Stadium: For the second straight year, the defense turned Devin Gardner’s day into a nightmare, forcing three Wolverines turnovers and holding them to 186 total yards, while Jeremy Langford ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns, as MSU won for the sixth time in seven tries against Michigan for the first time since 1956-62.
Oct. 25, 2014: Michigan State 35, Michigan 11, Spartan Stadium: For the second straight year, the defense turned Devin Gardner’s day into a nightmare, forcing three Wolverines turnovers and holding them to 186 total yards. Jeremy Langford ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns as MSU beat Michigan for the sixth time in seven tries for the first time since 1956-62. Al Goldis, APFullscreenNov. 15, 2004: Michigan State 37, Maryland 15, Byrd Stadium: RJ Williamson returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown, Jeremy Langford ran for two touchdowns, and the Spartans forced four Maryland turnovers.
Nov. 15, 2004: Michigan State 37, Maryland 15, Byrd Stadium: RJ Williamson returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown, Jeremy Langford ran for two touchdowns, and the Spartans forced four Maryland turnovers. Tommy Gilligan, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNov. 22, 2014: Michigan State 45, Rutgers 3, Spartan Stadium: On Senior Day, Tony Lippett caught five passes for 72 yards and a touchdown, Jeremy Langford ran for 126 yards and two scores, and the defense forced three turnovers in a blasting of new Big Ten opponent Rutgers.
Nov. 22, 2014: Michigan State 45, Rutgers 3, Spartan Stadium: On Senior Day, Tony Lippett caught five passes for 72 yards and a touchdown, Jeremy Langford ran for 126 yards and two scores, and the defense forced three turnovers in a blasting of new Big Ten opponent Rutgers. Al Goldis, APFullscreenNov. 29, 2014: Michigan State 34, Penn State 10, Beaver Stadium: R.J. Shelton returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, and the rout was on, as Jeremy Langford ran for 118 yards and two scores in an easy victory.
Nov. 29, 2014: Michigan State 34, Penn State 10, Beaver Stadium: R.J. Shelton returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, and the rout was on, as Jeremy Langford ran for 118 yards and two scores in an easy victory. Gene J. Puskar, APFullscreenJan. 1, 2015: Michigan State 42, Baylor 41, AT&T Stadium: Connor Cook threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Keith Mumphrey with 14 seconds remaining, as a huge blocked field goal helped the Spartans erase a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit and win the Cotton Bowl Classic in thrilling fashion over offensive juggernaut Baylor.
Jan. 1, 2015: Michigan State 42, Baylor 41, AT&T Stadium: Connor Cook threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Keith Mumphery with 14 seconds remaining as a huge blocked field goal helped the Spartans erase a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit and win the Cotton Bowl Classic in thrilling fashion over offensive juggernaut Baylor. Sarah Glenn, Getty ImagesFullscreenSept. 4, 2015: Michigan State 37, Western Michigan 24, Waldo Stadium: In a rare trip to Western Michigan, the Spartans ran up 452 yards of total offense, with Madre London running for two touchdowns.
Sept. 4, 2015: Michigan State 37, Western Michigan 24, Waldo Stadium: In a rare trip to Western Michigan, the Spartans ran up 452 yards of total offense, with Madre London running for two touchdowns. Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSept. 12, 2015: Michigan State 31, Oregon 28, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans, hosting College Gameday in East Lansing, stopped Oregon four times on fourth down in a battle of top-10 teams, including for the final time with just over a minute remaining to maintain a lead. Aaron Burbridge came up huge with 101 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Sept. 12, 2015: Michigan State 31, Oregon 28, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans, hosting College Gameday in East Lansing, stopped Oregon four times on fourth down in a battle of top-10 teams, including for the final time with just over a minute remaining to maintain a lead. Aaron Burbridge came up huge with 101 receiving yards and a touchdown. Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSept. 19, 2015: Michigan State 35, Air Force 21, Spartan Stadium: Aaron Burbridge caught three touchdowns, including a spectacular first-quarter grab, as MSU forced three turnovers, winning despite the Falcons gaining 428 total yards.
Sept. 19, 2015: Michigan State 35, Air Force 21, Spartan Stadium: Aaron Burbridge caught three touchdowns, including a spectacular first-quarter grab, as MSU forced three turnovers, winning despite the Falcons gaining 428 total yards. Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSept. 26, 2015: Michigan State 30, Central Michigan 10, Spartan Stadium: Gerald Holmes ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns as the Spartans survived a stiffer test than expected by the Chips, though the defense allowed just one touchdown.
Sept. 26, 2015: Michigan State 30, Central Michigan 10, Spartan Stadium: Gerald Holmes ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns as the Spartans survived a stiffer test than expected from the Chippewas, though the defense allowed just one touchdown. Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free PressFullscreenOct. 3, 2015: Michigan State 24, Purdue 21, Spartan Stadium: LJ Scott ran for two touchdowns and 146 yards, and MSU held Purdue on a late fourth-down try to narrowly defeat the upset-minded Boilermakers.
Oct. 3, 2015: Michigan State 24, Purdue 21, Spartan Stadium: LJ Scott ran for two touchdowns and 146 yards, and MSU held Purdue on a late fourth-down try to narrowly defeat the upset-minded Boilermakers. Al Goldis, APFullscreenOct. 10, 2015: Michigan State 31, Rutgers 24, High Point Solutions Stadium: For the second straight week, the Spartans narrowly avoided losing to an inferior foe, with Rutgers hanging in for 60 minutes. LJ Scott’s touchdown with 43 seconds made the difference for the Spartans.
Oct. 10, 2015: Michigan State 31, Rutgers 24, High Point Solutions Stadium: For the second straight week, the Spartans narrowly avoided losing to an inferior foe, with Rutgers hanging in for 60 minutes. LJ Scott’s touchdown with 43 seconds made the difference for the Spartans. Mel Evans, APFullscreenOct. 17, 2015: Michigan State 27, Michigan 23, Michigan Stadium: You know the play — Michigan punter Blake O’Neill had trouble with the snap, MSU’s Jalen Watts-Jackson picked up the fumble and ran 38 yards to score on the last play of the game, as the Spartans defeated the Wolverines in one of the most memorable endings in college football history.
Oct. 17, 2015: Michigan State 27, Michigan 23, Michigan Stadium: You know the play — Michigan punter Blake O’Neill had trouble with the snap, MSU’s Jalen Watts-Jackson picked up the fumble and ran 38 yards to score on the last play of the game, as the Spartans defeated the Wolverines in one of the most memorable endings in college football history. Christian Petersen, Getty ImagesFullscreenOct. 24, 2015: Michigan State 52, Indiana 26, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans outscored Indiana 24-0 in the fourth quarter to pull away from a game that was close for three quarters, as Connor Cook threw for 398 yards and four scores to put the game on ice and improve the Spartans to 8-0.
Oct. 24, 2015: Michigan State 52, Indiana 26, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans outscored Indiana 24-0 in the fourth quarter to pull away from a game that was close for three quarters. Connor Cook threw for 398 yards and four scores as MSU improved to 8-0. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNov. 14, 2015: Michigan State 24, Maryland 7, Spartan Stadium: In between a controversial loss at Nebraska and a trip to Ohio Stadium the following week, the Spartans defeated Maryland — but the big news was Connor Cook’s shoulder injury, which became a storyline the rest of the season.
Nov. 14, 2015: Michigan State 24, Maryland 7, Spartan Stadium: In between a controversial loss at Nebraska and a trip to Ohio Stadium the following week, the Spartans defeated Maryland — but the big news was Connor Cook’s shoulder injury, which became a storyline the rest of the season. Joe Robbins, Getty ImagesFullscreenNov. 21, 2015: Michigan State 17, Ohio State 14, Ohio Stadium: Using two backup quarterbacks, the MSU offense gave just enough as the defense dominated, holding J.T. Barrett, Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas and the defending national champions to five first downs. Michael Geiger made a 41-yard field goal as time expired and launched his iconic windmill celebration, as the Spartans scored the stunning upset.
Nov. 21, 2015: Michigan State 17, Ohio State 14, Ohio Stadium: Using two backup quarterbacks, the MSU offense gave just enough as the defense dominated, holding J.T. Barrett, Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas and the defending national champions to five first downs. Michael Geiger made a 41-yard field goal as time expired and launched his iconic windmill celebration, as the Spartans scored the stunning upset. Julian H. Gonzalez, Detroit Free PressFullscreenNov. 28, 2015: Michigan State 55, Penn State 16, Spartan Stadium: Connor Cook threw three touchdowns, but the big story was the touchdown run by senior offensive lineman Jack Allen in the fourth quarter as the Spartans dominated their rival, sealing the Big Ten East championship and a spot in Indianapolis.
Nov. 28, 2015: Michigan State 55, Penn State 16, Spartan Stadium: Connor Cook threw three touchdowns, but the big story was the touchdown run by senior offensive lineman Jack Allen in the fourth quarter as the Spartans dominated their rival, sealing the Big Ten East championship and a spot in Indianapolis. Al Goldis, APFullscreenDec. 5, 2015: Michigan State 16, Iowa 13, Lucas Oil Stadium: A marathon 22-play, 82-yard drive that took 9:04 off the clock was punctuated by LJ Scott’s lunge over the goal line with 27 seconds left to give MSU a classic Big Ten championship victory, and a spot in the second College Football Playoff.
Dec. 5, 2015: Michigan State 16, Iowa 13, Lucas Oil Stadium: A marathon 22-play, 82-yard drive that took 9:04 off the clock was punctuated by LJ Scott’s lunge over the goal line with 27 seconds left to give MSU a classic Big Ten championship victory, and a spot in the second College Football Playoff. Thomas J. Russo, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSept. 2, 2016: Michigan State 28, Furman 13, Spartan Stadium: A far-too difficult first game was a harbinger of what would be Mark Dantonio’s worst season in East Lansing, as MSU was barely better than FCS opponent Furman, though Andrew Dowell’s one-handed interception saved the Spartans on this occasion.
Sept. 2, 2016: Michigan State 28, Furman 13, Spartan Stadium: A far-too difficult first game was a harbinger of what would be Mark Dantonio’s worst season in East Lansing, as MSU was barely better than FCS opponent Furman, though Andrew Dowell’s one-handed interception saved the Spartans on this occasion. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSept. 17, 2016: Michigan State 36, Notre Dame 28, Notre Dame Stadium: Gerald Holmes ran for two scores, including a 73-yard scamper as the Spartans built a 36-7 lead on the road. They survived a furious Fighting Irish rally, running out the clock after getting the ball back with 3:37 remaining.
Sept. 17, 2016: Michigan State 36, Notre Dame 28, Notre Dame Stadium: Gerald Holmes ran for two scores, including a 73-yard scamper as the Spartans built a 36-7 lead on the road. They survived a furious Fighting Irish rally, running out the clock after getting the ball back with 3:37 remaining. Matt Cashore, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNov. 12, 2016: Michigan State 49, Rutgers 0, Spartan Stadium: A wasted season had a measure of catharsis on a sunny Saturday afternoon as MSU thumped lowly Rutgers, with Madre London running for two scores and the Spartans snapping a seven-game losing streak.
Nov. 12, 2016: Michigan State 49, Rutgers 0, Spartan Stadium: A wasted season had a measure of catharsis on a sunny Saturday afternoon as MSU thumped lowly Rutgers, with Madre London running for two scores and the Spartans snapping a seven-game losing streak. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSept. 2, 2017: Michigan State 35, Bowling Green 10, Spartan Stadium:
Cornerback Tyson Smith — who suffered a stroke the previous November, putting his football career in doubt — had a pick-six, and the Spartans cruised, led by Brian Lewerke at quarterback.
Sept. 2, 2017: Michigan State 35, Bowling Green 10, Spartan Stadium: Cornerback Tyson Smith — who suffered a stroke the previous November, putting his football career in doubt — had a pick-six, and the Spartans cruised, led by Brian Lewerke at quarterback. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSept. 9, 2017: Michigan State 28, Western Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: Brian Lewerke’s 61-yard touchdown run caused wideout Darrell Stewart Jr. to nickname him “White Lightning” as MSU got a challenge from Western Michigan.
Sept. 9, 2017: Michigan State 28, Western Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: Brian Lewerke’s 61-yard touchdown run caused wideout Darrell Stewart Jr. to nickname him “White Lightning” as MSU got a challenge from Western Michigan. Al Goldis, APFullscreenSept. 30, 2017: Michigan State 17, Iowa 10, Spartan Stadium: Felton Davis caught two touchdown passes and a vintage MSU defense held Iowa tailback Akram Wadley to 30 yards on the ground.
Sept. 30, 2017: Michigan State 17, Iowa 10, Spartan Stadium: Felton Davis caught two touchdown passes and a vintage MSU defense held Iowa tailback Akrum Wadley to 30 yards rushing. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenOct. 7, 2017: Michigan State 14, Michigan 10, Michigan Stadium: In a driving rainstorm, the Spartans built an 11-point first-half lead that they held on to, thanks in large part to five Wolverine turnovers, with linebacker Joe Bachie knocking away a Hail Mary pass in the end zone and the Spartans celebrating on the Michigan Stadium turf for the fourth time in five tries.
Oct. 7, 2017: Michigan State 14, Michigan 10, Michigan Stadium: In a driving rainstorm, the Spartans built an 11-point, first-half lead that they held on to, thanks in large part to five Wolverines turnovers, with linebacker Joe Bachie knocking away a Hail Mary pass in the end zone and the Spartans celebrating on the Michigan Stadium turf for the fourth time in five tries. Leon Halip, Getty ImagesFullscreenOct. 14, 2017: Michigan State 30, Minnesota 27, TCF Bank Stadium: LJ Scott ran for a career-high 194 yards and two scores, as MSU was forced to recover an onside kick after two late Golden Gophers touchdowns made the game closer than it initially appeared.
Oct. 14, 2017: Michigan State 30, Minnesota 27, TCF Bank Stadium: LJ Scott ran for a career-high 194 yards and two scores, as MSU was forced to recover an onside kick after two late Golden Gophers touchdowns made the game closer than it initially appeared. Andy Clayton-King, APFullscreenOct. 21, 2017: Michigan State 17, Indiana 9, Spartan Stadium: Trailing late to upset-minded Indiana, Brian Lewerke led two touchdown drives to escape the Hoosiers and improve MSU to 6-1.
Oct. 21, 2017: Michigan State 17, Indiana 9, Spartan Stadium: Trailing late to upset-minded Indiana, Brian Lewerke led two touchdown drives to escape the Hoosiers and improve MSU to 6-1. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNov. 4, 2017: Michigan State 27. Penn State 24, Spartan Stadium: Matt Coghlin’s 34-yard field goal as time expired gave MSU the victory in a rain-soaked game that was delayed for three hours in the second quarter due to lightning strikes. Those who stuck around won’t forget the upset victory by the battered Spartans.
Nov. 4, 2017: Michigan State 27. Penn State 24, Spartan Stadium: Matt Coghlin’s 34-yard field goal as time expired gave MSU the victory in a rain-soaked game that was delayed for three hours in the second quarter due to lightning strikes. Those who stuck around won’t forget the upset victory by the battered Spartans. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNov. 18, 2017: Michigan State 17, Maryland 7, Spartan Stadium: In another rainy game, LJ Scott ran for 147 yards and two scores as the defense held Maryland off the scoreboard until late in the fourth quarter of a workmanlike home victory.
Nov. 18, 2017: Michigan State 17, Maryland 7, Spartan Stadium: In another rainy game, LJ Scott ran for 147 yards and two scores as the defense held Maryland off the scoreboard until late in the fourth quarter of a workmanlike home victory. Nick King, Lansing State JournalFullscreenNov. 25, 2017: Michigan State 40, Rutgers 7, High Point Solutions Stadium: The Spartans outscored the Scarlet Knights 24-0 in the second half to flip the script on the previous year’s 3-9 mark, finishing the regular season 9-3 and earning an invite to the Holiday Bowl.
Nov. 25, 2017: Michigan State 40, Rutgers 7, High Point Solutions Stadium: The Spartans outscored the Scarlet Knights 24-0 in the second half to flip the script on the previous year’s 3-9 mark, finishing the regular season 9-3 and earning an invite to the Holiday Bowl. Noah K. Murray, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenDec. 28, 2017: Michigan State 42, Washington State 17, Qualcomm Stadium: In the Holiday Bowl, Brian Lewerke threw for three touchdowns and the defense flexed their muscle, rolling past the Cougars and restoring MSU’s tradition of 10-win seasons under Dantonio.
Dec. 28, 2017: Michigan State 42, Washington State 17, Qualcomm Stadium: In the Holiday Bowl, Brian Lewerke threw for three touchdowns and the defense flexed its muscle, rolling past the Cougars and restoring MSU’s tradition of 10-win seasons under Mark Dantonio. Orlando Ramirez, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenAug. 31, 2018: Michigan State 38, Utah State 31, Spartan Stadium: In a wild opener, linebacker Joe Bachie tipped and intercepted a pass to preserve a victory over a Utah State team that ended up with 10 wins, making this less of an upset bid than it seemed at the time.
Aug. 31, 2018: Michigan State 38, Utah State 31, Spartan Stadium: In a wild opener, linebacker Joe Bachie tipped and intercepted a pass to preserve a victory over a Utah State team that ended up with 10 wins, making this less of an upset bid than it seemed at the time. APFullscreenSept. 22, 2018: Michigan State 35, Indiana 21, Memorial Stadium: MSU pulled out the bag of tricks, scoring on a fake field goal, a pick-six and a jet sweep to freshman wideout Jailen Nailor, as the Spartans escaped Bloomington with a well-fought victory.
Sept. 22, 2018: Michigan State 35, Indiana 21, Memorial Stadium: MSU pulled out the bag of tricks, scoring on a fake field goal, a pick-six and a jet sweep to freshman wideout Jalen Nailor, as the Spartans escaped Bloomington with a well-fought victory. Trevor Ruszkowski, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSept. 29, 2018: Michigan State 31, Central Michigan 20, Spartan Stadium: MSU built a 31-3 third-quarter lead against CMU, but was forced to re-insert the starters after the Chippewas scored 17 straight points, avoiding a potential collapse to hold on.
Sept. 29, 2018: Michigan State 31, Central Michigan 20, Spartan Stadium: MSU built a 31-3 third-quarter lead against CMU, but was forced to re-insert the starters after the Chippewas scored 17 straight points. Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free PressFullscreenOct. 13, 2018: Michigan State 21, Penn State 17, Beaver Stadium: Brian Lewerke connected with Felton Davis for a 25-yard score with 19 seconds remaining and a Spartan team decimated by injuries once again scored an upset victory over the rival Nittany Lions, this time on enemy ground.
Oct. 13, 2018: Michigan State 21, Penn State 17, Beaver Stadium: Brian Lewerke connected with Felton Davis for a 25-yard score with 19 seconds remaining and a Spartans team decimated by injuries once again scored an upset victory over the rival Nittany Lions, this time on enemy ground. APFullscreenOct. 27, 2018: Michigan State 23, Purdue 13, Spartan Stadium: Backup quarterback Rocky Lombardi was serenaded by chants of his first name, filling in for the injured Brian Lewerke and a late pop pass to electric freshman Jalen Nailor gave the Spartans enough juice to hold on.
Oct. 27, 2018: Michigan State 23, Purdue 13, Spartan Stadium: Backup quarterback Rocky Lombardi was serenaded by chants of his first name, filling in for the injured Brian Lewerke. A late pop pass to electric freshman Jalen Nailor gave the Spartans enough juice to hold on. Nick King, Lansing State JournalFullscreenNov. 3, 2018: Michigan State 24, Maryland 3, Maryland Stadium: Connor Heyward ran for two touchdowns, including an 80-yarder, as MSU held Maryland to 100 yards of offense.
Nov. 3, 2018: Michigan State 24, Maryland 3, Maryland Stadium: Connor Heyward ran for two touchdowns, including an 80-yarder, as MSU held Maryland to 100 yards of offense. Tommy Gilligan, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNov 24, 2018: Michigan State 14, Rutgers 10, Spartan Stadium: Wideout Cody White took a jet sweep 22 yards for a touchdown with 3:57 remaining as MSU narrowly avoided a loss to 1-11 Rutgers.
Nov 24, 2018: Michigan State 14, Rutgers 10, Spartan Stadium: Wideout Cody White took a jet sweep 22 yards for a touchdown with 3:57 remaining as MSU narrowly avoided a loss to 1-11 Rutgers. Mike Carter, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenAug. 30, 2019: Michigan State 28, Tulsa 7, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans set a school record for rushing defense, holding the Golden Hurricane to minus-73 yards on the ground, as they controlled the game from start to finish in the opener.
Aug. 30, 2019: Michigan State 28, Tulsa 7, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans set a school record for rushing defense, holding the Golden Hurricane to minus-73 yards on the ground, as they controlled the game from start to finish in the opener. Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free PressFullscreenSept. 7, 2019: Michigan State 51, Western Michigan 17, Spartan Stadium: An offense that had sputtered the week before broke out, with new starting tailback Elijah Collins running for 192 yards and wideout Darrell Stewart Jr. hauling in 10 catches for 185 yards and a score as the Spartans rolled in the debut of the neon green alternate uniforms.
Sept. 7, 2019: Michigan State 51, Western Michigan 17, Spartan Stadium: An offense that had sputtered the week before broke out, with new starting tailback Elijah Collins running for 192 yards and wideout Darrell Stewart Jr. hauling in 10 catches for 185 yards and a score as the Spartans rolled in the debut of the neon green alternate uniforms. Junfu Han, Detroit Free PressFullscreenMichigan State coach Mark Dantonio, left, is congratulated at the end of the 31-10 win over Northwestern, his program record 110th career victory with the Spartans, at Ryan Field, Sept. 21, 2019 in Evanston, Ill.
Sept. 21, 2019: Michigan State 31, Northwestern 10, Ryan Field: A week after squandering a chance to move past Duffy Daugherty to the top of MSU's all-time win list, Mark Dantonio earned win No. 110 as a Spartan, thanks to a good performance on both sides of the ball in the Big Ten opener. Matt Marton, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

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    Replay
    • div">>Sept. 1, 2007, Michigan State 55, Alabama-Birmingham 18, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans rolled up 593 yards of total offense, and Jehuu Caulcrick ran for four touchdowns in Mark Dantonio’s debut.1 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 8, 2007, Michigan State 28, Bowling Green 17, Spartan Stadium: 
Brian Hoyer threw a fourth quarter touchdown to Devin Thomas, who totaled 156 yards receiving, as the Spartans pulled away from Bowling Green late.2 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 15, 2007, Michigan State 17, Pittsburgh 13, Spartan Stadium: Safety Travis Key returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown, which proved to be the winning score.3 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 22, 2007, Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 14, Notre Dame Stadium: The Spartans held the Fighting Irish to just 118 yards passing as a dominant third quarter propelled them to a 4-0 start under Dantonio, with MSU gaining a measure of revenge for the blown 17-point fourth-quarter lead at home the previous year.4 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 13, 2007, Michigan State 52, Indiana 27, Spartan Stadium: Javon Ringer rushed for 203 yards and the Spartans broke a six-game Big Ten losing streak, earning Dantonio’s first conference win in dominating fashion.5 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 10, 2007, Michigan State 48, Purdue 31, Ross-Ade Stadium: MSU forced three Purdue turnovers, including a 20-yard fumble return touchdown by Travis Key, as the Spartans ended a three-game losing streak and clinched bowl eligibility in Dantonio’s first season.6 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 17, 2007, Michigan State 35, Penn State 31, Spartan Stadium: Jehuu Caulcrick ran for 17 yards on a fake punt from deep in Spartan territory and scored the game-winning touchdown minutes later as MSU overcame a 17-point second-half deficit in the signature win of Dantonio’s inaugural season.7 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 6, 2008, Michigan State 42, Eastern Michigan 10, Spartan Stadium: Javon Ringer ran for five touchdowns as the Spartans cruised to their first win of Dantonio’s second season, dominating in-state foe Eastern Michigan.8 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 13, 2008, Michigan State 17, Florida Atlantic 0, Spartan Stadium: Javon Ringer ran for a career-high 282 yards and the Spartans held Owls quarterback Rusty Smith to 8-34 passing as they recorded the first defensive shutout of Dantonio’s tenure. 
10.9 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 20, 2008, Michigan State 23, Notre Dame 7, Spartan Stadium: The Spartan defense and tailback Javon Ringer were the difference again, as the Irish turned the ball over three times and Ringer ran for a pair of one-yard touchdowns as MSU made it two in a row over the rival Irish.10 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 27, 2008, Michigan State 42, Indiana 29, Memorial Stadium: Brian Hoyer threw an 82-yard touchdown pass to tight end Charlie Gantt and a crucial holding penalty in the end zone on Indiana turned a 99-yard touchdown run for the Hoosiers into a two-point safety for the Spartans, who escaped Bloomington with a high-scoring win.11 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 4, 2008, Michigan State 16, Iowa 13, Spartan Stadium: MSU made a crucial fourth-down stop as Iowa neglected the chance to kick a 38-yard game-tying field goal with 2:18 remaining, and the Spartans won despite scoring just one touchdown, a first-quarter pass from Brian Hoyer to Charlie Gantt.12 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 11, 2008, Michigan State 37, Northwestern 20, Ryan Field: In the first game as a ranked team in the Dantonio tenure, the 23rd-ranked Spartans built a 17-0 first-half lead over previously-unbeaten Northwestern, and a balanced attack carried MSU to a 37-20 victory.13 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 25, 2008, Michigan State 35, Michigan 21, Michigan Stadium: After then-Michigan tailback Mike Hart referred to MSU as the Wolverines’ little brother the previous season, the Spartans exacted some revenge, with Brian Hoyer throwing for three touchdowns, including a 61-yarder to Blair White, as Mark Dantonio earned his first win against archrival Michigan.14 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 1, 2008, Michigan State 25, Wisconsin 24, Spartan Stadium: Brett Swenson’s 44-yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining completed the Spartans’ comeback from an 11-point second-half deficit, as Javon Ringer was held to only 54 yards on 20 carries, but scored twice from close range.15 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 8, 2008, Michigan State 21, Purdue 7, Spartan Stadium: Javon Ringer ran for two more touchdowns and a dominant Spartan defense was only denied a shutout by a Purdue touchdown with 42 seconds remaining, as MSU held the Boilermakers to 191 total yards.16 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 5, 2009, Michigan State 44, Montana State 3, Spartan Stadium: New Spartan starting quarterback Kirk Cousins tossed three touchdowns, understudy and future “Rocket” man Keith Nichol threw two, and Michigan State cruised to an easy season-opening win over the “other” MSU.17 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 3, 2009, Michigan State 26, Michigan 20 (OT), Spartan Stadium: Defensive back Chris L. Rucker intercepted Michigan QB Tate Forcier in overtime, freshman tailback Larry Caper ran for a 23-yard touchdown to win the game, and MSU earned its first two-game winning streak against the Wolverines since 1967, with the team swarming Caper in the north end zone after the touchdown.18 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 10, 2009, Michigan State 24, Illinois 14, Memorial Stadium: Safety Danny Fortener returned a Juice Williams interception 45 yards for a touchdown as MSU built a 24-0 lead over the Fighting Illini and survived two late scores to improve to 3-3 on the season.19 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 17, 2009, Michigan State 24, Northwestern 14, Spartan Stadium: Kirk Cousins found Blair White 12 times for 186 yards, including two touchdowns, as MSU won its third straight game.20 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 7, 2009, Michigan State 49, Western Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: Ashton Leggett ran for four touchdowns and 110 yards in a rare November non-conference game as the Spartans rolled by five scores over Western Michigan.21 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 14, 2009, Michigan State 40, Purdue 37, Ross-Ade Stadium: Kirk Cousins threw three touchdowns and Brett Swenson’s 21-yard field goal with 1:51 remaining earned the Spartans bowl eligibility after overcoming an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit on the road against Purdue.22 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 4, 2010, Michigan State 38, Western Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: Freshman tailback Le’Veon Bell ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries as the Spartans opened up the 2010 season in convincing fashion over Western Michigan.23 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 11, 2010, Michigan State 30, Florida Atlantic 17, Ford Field: Edwin Baker ran for 183 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run, in a game originally scheduled to be played in Boca Raton, Florida — the Spartans wore white uniforms and were the designated road team, but the Detroit crowd was firmly behind them.24 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 18, 2010, Michigan State 34, Notre Dame 31 (OT), Spartan Stadium: A game that can be summed up in two words — “Little Giants” — holder Aaron Bates throwing a 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Charlie Gantt on a fake field goal in overtime to send the crowd at Spartan Stadium into hysterics and begin the legend of Dantonio’s risk-taking nature.25 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 25, 2010, Michigan State 45, Northern Colorado 7, Spartan Stadium: In a game that Dantonio missed after suffering a mild heart attack in the wake of the Little Giants play the week before, MSU easily rolled the overmatched Northern Colorado squad — Kirk Cousins threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns in a workmanlike victory.26 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 2, 2010, Michigan State 34, Wisconsin 24, Spartan Stadium: Interim coach Don Treadwell adhered to Dantonio’s penchant for risk, with Kirk Cousins connecting with BJ Cunningham for a 1-yard, game-clinching touchdown with 2:43 remaining as Dantonio remained in the hospital with complications from the heart attack suffered two weeks previous.27 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 9, 2010: Michigan State 34, Michigan 17, Michigan Stadium: Mark Dantonio was back on the sideline and the defense was back in a groove, picking off three Denard Robinson passes, as MSU scored 24 unanswered in the second and third quarter to once again knock off the Wolverines.28 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 16, 2010, Michigan State 26, Illinois 6, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans outscored the Fighting Illini 23-0 in the second half, keyed by a 48-yard scoring connection between Kirk Cousins and BJ Cunningham, as MSU improved to its first 7-0 start since the fabled 1966 squad.29 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 23, 2010, Michigan State 35, Northwestern 27, Ryan Field: MSU flirted with disaster, falling behind 17-0 on the road, but got off the mat, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 331 yards and three touchdowns as the Spartans remained unbeaten.30 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 6, 2010: Michigan State 31, Minnesota 8, Spartan Stadium: After being routed by Iowa on the road the previous week, the Spartans rebounded, with Edwin Baker running for 179 yards and four touchdowns.31 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 20, 2010: Michigan State 35, Purdue 31, Spartan Stadium: Trailing 28-13 after three quarters, the Spartans rallied behind Kirk Cousins, whose 3-yard rush with 4:32 remaining gave MSU its first lead of the second half, en route to the 10th win of the season. It was the  first double-digit win season for the program since 1999, when Dantonio was the defensive coordinator under Nick Saban.32 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 27, 2010: Michigan State 28, Penn State 22, Beaver Stadium: MSU built a 21-3 lead after three quarters and held off a furious Penn State rally. It was the first win in Happy Valley in Mark Dantonio’s tenure, and clinched a share of the program’s first Big Ten championship since 1990.33 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 2, 2011: Michigan State 28, Youngstown State 6, Spartan Stadium: In the first Friday night game at Spartan Stadium, MSU controlled the second half against the overmatched Penguins, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 222 yards and a touchdown.34 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 10, 2011: Michigan State 44, Florida Atlantic 0, Spartan Stadium: In a devastating defensive performance, the Spartans held FAU to one first down, as B.J. Cunningham became the school’s all-time leader in receptions, passing Matt Trannon.35 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 24, 2011: Michigan State 45, Central Michigan 7, Spartan Stadium: Le’Veon Bell ran for 81 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, following a loss at Notre Dame the previous week.36 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 1, 2011: Michigan State 10, Ohio State 7, Ohio Stadium: In an old-school Big Ten game that would have made Duffy Daugherty and Woody Hayes proud, MSU held OSU to 178 yards of offense and notched the program’s first win at the Horseshoe since 1998 — with MSU finally conquering the Buckeyes under former OSU assistant Dantonio — the Buckeyes had been the only Big Ten team he had failed to beat.37 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 15, 2011: Michigan State 28, Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: Safety Isaiah Lewis returned an interception of Denard Robinson for a score with 4:31 remaining, as the Spartans beat their previously unbeaten rival for the fourth straight time, the first such streak since 1959-62. Senior Kirk Cousins proclaimed afterwards that “for the rest of our lives, we can walk the streets of Michigan.”38 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 22, 2011: Michigan State 37, Wisconsin 31, Spartan Stadium: In a tie game with four seconds remaining, Mark Dantonio dialed up “Rocket,” a Hail Mary pass where former quarterback Keith Nichol caught a pass on a deflection and barely got the ball over the plane of the end zone to stun 4th-ranked Wisconsin on the last play of the game, as MSU won a wild, back-and-forth contest.39 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 5, 2011: Michigan State 31, Minnesota 24, Spartan Stadium: Trailing 24-21 entering the fourth quarter against 2-6 Minnesota, the Spartans turned to star tailback Le’Veon Bell, whose 35-yard scamper with 10:58 remaining gave MSU the lead, as it atoned for the previous week’s loss at Nebraska.40 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 12, 2011: Michigan State 37, Iowa 21, Kinnick Stadium: Kirk Cousins threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns as MSU built a 31-7 first-half lead en route to its first win at Kinnick Stadium since 1989.41 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 19, 2011: Michigan State 55, Indiana 3, Spartan Stadium: In another overwhelming victory, MSU scored the most points under Mark Dantonio and clinched a spot in the inaugural Big Ten championship game, winning the Legends Division.42 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 26, 2011: Michigan State 31, Northwestern 17, Ryan Field: Keshawn Martin returned a punt 57 yards for a touchdown and Kirk Cousins became the all-time passing touchdowns leader in school history.43 of 110
    • div">>Jan. 2, 2012: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30 (3OT), Raymond James Stadium: It took three overtimes in the Outback Bowl, but the Spartans finally won a bowl game under Mark Dantonio, after losing the first four of his tenure. They blocked a Blair Walsh field goal to win, after rallying to force OT with a 10-play, 85-yard drive with 14 seconds remaining in regulation.44 of 110
    • div">>Aug. 31, 2012: Michigan State 17, Boise State 13, Spartan Stadium: Le’Veon Bell ran for a career-high 210 yards and two touchdowns, including the winner with 8:12 remaining in a Friday night thriller between two tough defenses.45 of 110
    • div">>Sep 8, 2012: Michigan State 41, Central Michigan 7, Spartan Stadium: Andrew Maxwell threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns in a route of the in-state rival, as the defense held the Chippewas to 245 total yards and forced three turnovers.46 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 22, 2012: Michigan State 23, Eastern Michigan 7, Spartan Stadium:
The crowd was restless at halftime, when the Spartans trailed the Eagles, 7-3, but they rebounded in the second half behind Le’Veon Bell’s career-high 253 yards on the ground.47 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 6, 2012: Michigan State 31, Indiana 27, Memorial Stadium: MSU erased a 17-point first-half deficit as Andrew Maxwell threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns, including a 36-yard toss to Bennie Fowler with 6:35 remaining.48 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 27, 2012: Michigan State 16, Wisconsin 13 (OT), Camp Randall Stadium: Andrew Maxwell overcame a tough day by connecting with Le’Veon Bell for a 5-yard touchdown to tie the score with a minute left in regulation, then found Bennie Fowler for a 12-yarder to win it in OT, as MSU snapped Wisconsin’s 21-game home winning streak.49 of 110
    • div">>Nov 24, 2012 Michigan State 26, Minnesota 10, TCF Bank Stadium: Le’Veon Bell ran for a career-high 266 yards as MSU ran away from the Golden Gophers in the fourth quarter to earn bowl eligibility in the midst of the toughest regular season of Mark Dantonio’s tenure to that point.50 of 110
    • div">>Dec. 29, 2012: Michigan State 17, TCU 16, Sun Devil Stadium: Dan Conroy hit a 47-yard field goal with 1:01 remaining as MSU won the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, salvaging a lost season by forcing two turnovers and leaning on Le’Veon Bell, who ran for 145 yards and a score.51 of 110
    • div">>Aug. 30, 2013: Michigan State 26, Western Michigan 13, Spartan Stadium: Jairus Jones lateraled his interception to Kurtis Drummond for a 22-yard touchdown return to open the scoring as MSU forced four Broncos turnovers in a season-opening victory.52 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 7, 2013: Michigan State 21, South Florida 6, Spartan Stadium: Shilique Calhoun returned an interception 56 yards as the defense dominated for the second straight week, with Andrew Maxwell and the offense again failing to impress, but MSU held the Bulls to 155 total yards.53 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 14, 2013: Michigan State 55, Youngstown State 17, Spartan Stadium: Connor Cook threw for four touchdown passes in his first start, as the defense controlled the game again, holding the Penguins to 172 total yards.54 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 5, 2013: Michigan State 26, Iowa 14, Kinnick Stadium: After falling in a close game at Notre Dame two weeks earlier, the Spartans found their quarterback of the future, as Connor Cook threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns, and Darqueze Dennard intercepted two passes.55 of 110
    • div">>Oct.12, 2013: Michigan State 42, Indiana 28, Spartan Stadium: Jeremy Langford ran for three touchdowns, Connor Cook threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, as the offense got hot after struggling early in the year.56 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 19, 2013: Michigan State 14, Purdue 0, Spartan Stadium: Denicos Allen returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown, and though the offense struggled, the defense was back to its usual dominant self.57 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 26, 2013: Michigan State 42, Illinois 3, Memorial Stadium: Connor Cook was nearly perfect, going 15-16 for 208 yards and three touchdowns, while MSU held Illinois to 128 yards of total offense.58 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 2, 2013: Michigan State 29, Michigan 6, Spartan Stadium: The defense held the Wolverines to 168 yards of offense, and Connor Cook threw for 252 yards and a score, and also rushed for a TD, as MSU won its fifth matchup with Michigan in six seasons.59 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 16, 2013: Michigan State 41, Nebraska 28, Memorial Stadium: MSU forced five turnovers, helping it overcome a 392-361 deficit in total yards, but the offense was able to capitalize on short fields, as Jeremy Langford ran for 151 yards and three touchdowns.60 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 23, 2013: Michigan State 30, Northwestern 6, Ryan Field: Connor Cook threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, MSU forced three turnovers and kept the Wildcats out of the end zone as the Spartans clinched the Legends Division for the second time in three years.61 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 30, 2013: Michigan State 14, Minnesota 3, Spartan Stadium: The defense once again kept an opponent out of the end zone and forced three turnovers, while Jeremy Langford ran for 143 yards and a touchdown as MSU completed a perfect Big Ten regular season at 8-0.62 of 110
    • div">>Dec. 7, 2013: Michigan State 34, Ohio State 24, Lucas Oil Stadium:
A heavy underdog, MSU took a 17-0 lead in the Big Ten championship game, but was caught and passed by second-ranked Ohio State. But a fourth-down stop by Denicos Allen on OSU's Braxton Miller, followed by a clinching 26-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Langford, preserved the first Big Ten championship game victory in school history and a trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1987.63 of 110
    • div">>Jan. 1, 2014: Michigan State 24, Stanford 20, Rose Bowl: Linebacker Kyler Ellsworth, starting in place of suspended captain Max Bullough, stopped Stanford on a fourth-and-one as the Spartans won the Rose Bowl for the first time in 27 years behind Connor Cook’s career-high 332 passing yards.64 of 110
    • div">>Aug. 29, 2014: Michigan State 45, Jacksonville State 7, Spartan Stadium: Connor Cook threw three first-half touchdowns and the defense forced three turnovers.65 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 20, 2014: Michigan State 73, Eastern Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans scored the most points in the Mark Dantonio era, scoring 10 touchdowns offensively and forcing six turnovers, as Tony Lippett scored two touchdowns on only three catches.66 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 27, 2014: Michigan State 56, Wyoming 14, Spartan Stadium:
The MSU offense rolled again, putting up 42 in the first half, including two Connor Cook scores.67 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 4, 2014: Michigan State 27, Nebraska 22, Spartan Stadium: MSU held a 27-3 fourth-quarter lead and looked to be in control, before the Cornhuskers ripped off 19 points and had the ball with a minute left with a chance to win, but the Spartans held on.68 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 11, 2014: Michigan State 45, Purdue 31, Ross-Ade Stadium: Linebacker Darien Harris returned an interception 15 yards for a game-sealing touchdown with 1:22 left, as the Spartans once again nearly let a three-score lead slip in the fourth quarter.69 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 18, 2014: Michigan State 56, Indiana 17, Memorial Stadium: Connor Cook threw for three scores, Jeremy Langford ran for three more, and the Spartans ran up 662 yards of offense.70 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 25, 2014: Michigan State 35, Michigan 11, Spartan Stadium: For the second straight year, the defense turned Devin Gardner’s day into a nightmare, forcing three Wolverines turnovers and holding them to 186 total yards, while Jeremy Langford ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns, as MSU won for the sixth time in seven tries against Michigan for the first time since 1956-62.71 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 15, 2004: Michigan State 37, Maryland 15, Byrd Stadium: RJ Williamson returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown, Jeremy Langford ran for two touchdowns, and the Spartans forced four Maryland turnovers.72 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 22, 2014: Michigan State 45, Rutgers 3, Spartan Stadium: On Senior Day, Tony Lippett caught five passes for 72 yards and a touchdown, Jeremy Langford ran for 126 yards and two scores, and the defense forced three turnovers in a blasting of new Big Ten opponent Rutgers.73 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 29, 2014: Michigan State 34, Penn State 10, Beaver Stadium: R.J. Shelton returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, and the rout was on, as Jeremy Langford ran for 118 yards and two scores in an easy victory.74 of 110
    • div">>Jan. 1, 2015: Michigan State 42, Baylor 41, AT&T Stadium: Connor Cook threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Keith Mumphrey with 14 seconds remaining, as a huge blocked field goal helped the Spartans erase a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit and win the Cotton Bowl Classic in thrilling fashion over offensive juggernaut Baylor.75 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 4, 2015: Michigan State 37, Western Michigan 24, Waldo Stadium: In a rare trip to Western Michigan, the Spartans ran up 452 yards of total offense, with Madre London running for two touchdowns.76 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 12, 2015: Michigan State 31, Oregon 28, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans, hosting College Gameday in East Lansing, stopped Oregon four times on fourth down in a battle of top-10 teams, including for the final time with just over a minute remaining to maintain a lead. Aaron Burbridge came up huge with 101 receiving yards and a touchdown.77 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 19, 2015: Michigan State 35, Air Force 21, Spartan Stadium: Aaron Burbridge caught three touchdowns, including a spectacular first-quarter grab, as MSU forced three turnovers, winning despite the Falcons gaining 428 total yards.78 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 26, 2015: Michigan State 30, Central Michigan 10, Spartan Stadium: Gerald Holmes ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns as the Spartans survived a stiffer test than expected by the Chips, though the defense allowed just one touchdown.79 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 3, 2015: Michigan State 24, Purdue 21, Spartan Stadium: LJ Scott ran for two touchdowns and 146 yards, and MSU held Purdue on a late fourth-down try to narrowly defeat the upset-minded Boilermakers.80 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 10, 2015: Michigan State 31, Rutgers 24, High Point Solutions Stadium: For the second straight week, the Spartans narrowly avoided losing to an inferior foe, with Rutgers hanging in for 60 minutes. LJ Scott’s touchdown with 43 seconds made the difference for the Spartans.81 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 17, 2015: Michigan State 27, Michigan 23, Michigan Stadium: You know the play — Michigan punter Blake O’Neill had trouble with the snap, MSU’s Jalen Watts-Jackson picked up the fumble and ran 38 yards to score on the last play of the game, as the Spartans defeated the Wolverines in one of the most memorable endings in college football history.82 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 24, 2015: Michigan State 52, Indiana 26, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans outscored Indiana 24-0 in the fourth quarter to pull away from a game that was close for three quarters, as Connor Cook threw for 398 yards and four scores to put the game on ice and improve the Spartans to 8-0.83 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 14, 2015: Michigan State 24, Maryland 7, Spartan Stadium: In between a controversial loss at Nebraska and a trip to Ohio Stadium the following week, the Spartans defeated Maryland — but the big news was Connor Cook’s shoulder injury, which became a storyline the rest of the season.84 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 21, 2015: Michigan State 17, Ohio State 14, Ohio Stadium: Using two backup quarterbacks, the MSU offense gave just enough as the defense dominated, holding J.T. Barrett, Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas and the defending national champions to five first downs. Michael Geiger made a 41-yard field goal as time expired and launched his iconic windmill celebration, as the Spartans scored the stunning upset.85 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 28, 2015: Michigan State 55, Penn State 16, Spartan Stadium: Connor Cook threw three touchdowns, but the big story was the touchdown run by senior offensive lineman Jack Allen in the fourth quarter as the Spartans dominated their rival, sealing the Big Ten East championship and a spot in Indianapolis.86 of 110
    • div">>Dec. 5, 2015: Michigan State 16, Iowa 13, Lucas Oil Stadium: A marathon 22-play, 82-yard drive that took 9:04 off the clock was punctuated by LJ Scott’s lunge over the goal line with 27 seconds left to give MSU a classic Big Ten championship victory, and a spot in the second College Football Playoff.87 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 2, 2016: Michigan State 28, Furman 13, Spartan Stadium: A far-too difficult first game was a harbinger of what would be Mark Dantonio’s worst season in East Lansing, as MSU was barely better than FCS opponent Furman, though Andrew Dowell’s one-handed interception saved the Spartans on this occasion.88 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 17, 2016: Michigan State 36, Notre Dame 28, Notre Dame Stadium: Gerald Holmes ran for two scores, including a 73-yard scamper as the Spartans built a 36-7 lead on the road. They survived a furious Fighting Irish rally, running out the clock after getting the ball back with 3:37 remaining.89 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 12, 2016: Michigan State 49, Rutgers 0, Spartan Stadium: A wasted season had a measure of catharsis on a sunny Saturday afternoon as MSU thumped lowly Rutgers, with Madre London running for two scores and the Spartans snapping a seven-game losing streak.90 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 2, 2017: Michigan State 35, Bowling Green 10, Spartan Stadium:
Cornerback Tyson Smith — who suffered a stroke the previous November, putting his football career in doubt — had a pick-six, and the Spartans cruised, led by Brian Lewerke at quarterback.91 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 9, 2017: Michigan State 28, Western Michigan 14, Spartan Stadium: Brian Lewerke’s 61-yard touchdown run caused wideout Darrell Stewart Jr. to nickname him “White Lightning” as MSU got a challenge from Western Michigan.92 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 30, 2017: Michigan State 17, Iowa 10, Spartan Stadium: Felton Davis caught two touchdown passes and a vintage MSU defense held Iowa tailback Akram Wadley to 30 yards on the ground.93 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 7, 2017: Michigan State 14, Michigan 10, Michigan Stadium: In a driving rainstorm, the Spartans built an 11-point first-half lead that they held on to, thanks in large part to five Wolverine turnovers, with linebacker Joe Bachie knocking away a Hail Mary pass in the end zone and the Spartans celebrating on the Michigan Stadium turf for the fourth time in five tries.94 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 14, 2017: Michigan State 30, Minnesota 27, TCF Bank Stadium: LJ Scott ran for a career-high 194 yards and two scores, as MSU was forced to recover an onside kick after two late Golden Gophers touchdowns made the game closer than it initially appeared.95 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 21, 2017: Michigan State 17, Indiana 9, Spartan Stadium: Trailing late to upset-minded Indiana, Brian Lewerke led two touchdown drives to escape the Hoosiers and improve MSU to 6-1.96 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 4, 2017: Michigan State 27. Penn State 24, Spartan Stadium: Matt Coghlin’s 34-yard field goal as time expired gave MSU the victory in a rain-soaked game that was delayed for three hours in the second quarter due to lightning strikes. Those who stuck around won’t forget the upset victory by the battered Spartans.97 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 18, 2017: Michigan State 17, Maryland 7, Spartan Stadium: In another rainy game, LJ Scott ran for 147 yards and two scores as the defense held Maryland off the scoreboard until late in the fourth quarter of a workmanlike home victory.98 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 25, 2017: Michigan State 40, Rutgers 7, High Point Solutions Stadium: The Spartans outscored the Scarlet Knights 24-0 in the second half to flip the script on the previous year’s 3-9 mark, finishing the regular season 9-3 and earning an invite to the Holiday Bowl.99 of 110
    • div">>Dec. 28, 2017: Michigan State 42, Washington State 17, Qualcomm Stadium: In the Holiday Bowl, Brian Lewerke threw for three touchdowns and the defense flexed their muscle, rolling past the Cougars and restoring MSU’s tradition of 10-win seasons under Dantonio.100 of 110
    • div">>Aug. 31, 2018: Michigan State 38, Utah State 31, Spartan Stadium: In a wild opener, linebacker Joe Bachie tipped and intercepted a pass to preserve a victory over a Utah State team that ended up with 10 wins, making this less of an upset bid than it seemed at the time.101 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 22, 2018: Michigan State 35, Indiana 21, Memorial Stadium: MSU pulled out the bag of tricks, scoring on a fake field goal, a pick-six and a jet sweep to freshman wideout Jailen Nailor, as the Spartans escaped Bloomington with a well-fought victory.102 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 29, 2018: Michigan State 31, Central Michigan 20, Spartan Stadium: MSU built a 31-3 third-quarter lead against CMU, but was forced to re-insert the starters after the Chippewas scored 17 straight points, avoiding a potential collapse to hold on.103 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 13, 2018: Michigan State 21, Penn State 17, Beaver Stadium: Brian Lewerke connected with Felton Davis for a 25-yard score with 19 seconds remaining and a Spartan team decimated by injuries once again scored an upset victory over the rival Nittany Lions, this time on enemy ground.104 of 110
    • div">>Oct. 27, 2018: Michigan State 23, Purdue 13, Spartan Stadium: Backup quarterback Rocky Lombardi was serenaded by chants of his first name, filling in for the injured Brian Lewerke and a late pop pass to electric freshman Jalen Nailor gave the Spartans enough juice to hold on.105 of 110
    • div">>Nov. 3, 2018: Michigan State 24, Maryland 3, Maryland Stadium: Connor Heyward ran for two touchdowns, including an 80-yarder, as MSU held Maryland to 100 yards of offense.106 of 110
    • div">>Nov 24, 2018: Michigan State 14, Rutgers 10, Spartan Stadium: Wideout Cody White took a jet sweep 22 yards for a touchdown with 3:57 remaining as MSU narrowly avoided a loss to 1-11 Rutgers.107 of 110
    • div">>Aug. 30, 2019: Michigan State 28, Tulsa 7, Spartan Stadium: The Spartans set a school record for rushing defense, holding the Golden Hurricane to minus-73 yards on the ground, as they controlled the game from start to finish in the opener.108 of 110
    • div">>Sept. 7, 2019: Michigan State 51, Western Michigan 17, Spartan Stadium: An offense that had sputtered the week before broke out, with new starting tailback Elijah Collins running for 192 yards and wideout Darrell Stewart Jr. hauling in 10 catches for 185 yards and a score as the Spartans rolled in the debut of the neon green alternate uniforms.109 of 110
    • div">>Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, left, is congratulated at the end of the 31-10 win over Northwestern, his program record 110th career victory with the Spartans, at Ryan Field, Sept. 21, 2019 in Evanston, Ill.110 of 110
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    As the Spartans became ensconced in the national polls, former Minnesota coach and current Big Ten Network analyst Glen Mason marveled at Michigan State’s elevated stature in college football.

    “We’d sit around doing the shows and the discussion would come to elite coaches,” Mason recalled. “I know I was one to say, ‘Well, look at Mark Dantonio and what he’s accomplished at Michigan State.’ Going in there and being a consistent winner, winning big games. There are not a lot of programs that really can say that.”

    In the 40 years predating Dantonio’s arrival in 2007, Michigan State couldn’t say that either. The Spartans had tallied more than nine victories only once during that span and just one of Dantonio’s nine most recent predecessors — Duffy Daugherty — finished with a winning percentage higher than .600. Without a natural recruiting base that could be mined for roster building and lacking the winning tradition of their rivals, the Spartans were saddled with disadvantages that still burden them to this day.

    But during the best times of Dantonio’s tenure, Michigan State managed to overcome them. Between 2012 and 2016, 19 players were drafted out of East Lansing — nearly four per year. It was an unusually high number considering the Spartans’ first nine recruiting classes under Dantonio never cracked the top 20 of 247Sports’ composite rankings.

    It’s why former Michigan State receiver Keith Nichol remains supportive of his former coach, saying, “Mark Dantonio is probably the single greatest thing that has ever happened to Michigan State football.”

    Heading into the Spartans’ College Football Playoff semifinal clash with Alabama in 2015, he was celebrated as such. Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide’s coach, raved about his former Spartans assistant, telling reporters, “I think Mark has done a fantastic job there.”

    Moments later, he said, “They have an opportunity to win a national championship this year.”

    But Alabama ended that possibility during another 38-0 romp that became a distinct line of demarcation between Dantonio’s gilded age and the troubled phase his program has endured since. From the moment that game kicked off to the final whistle of Wisconsin’s victory last weekend, the Spartans have gone 24-22 — descending into mediocrity and retreating towards the median in the Big Ten.

    As losses have come at a higher frequency and the program has weathered the defections of four players in the last month, Dantonio has faced increased scrutiny.

    “I am sure the expectations are very high for a lot of people there,” said Saban, a former Michigan State coach. “I think Mark has done a good job of meeting those expectations. I think sometimes it’s a little unrealistic at any program to think you’re going to have a great team year in and year out. There are just too many things that can affect your roster and that can affect the quality of your team.”

    Programs like Michigan State are particularly vulnerable to those variables because they don’t have access to a consistent source of prospects and encounter more roadblocks to replenish their rosters as a result. Injuries combined with the attrition that stems from players leaving early for the NFL, being removed for disciplinary reasons or transferring can doom teams that don't have the same depth as the sport's powerhouses. In the last four seasons, Michigan State has experienced all of the above.

    The team’s top offensive lineman, Jack Conklin, left with a year of remaining eligibility to enter the 2016 NFL Draft and was part of an exodus of talent that had propelled Michigan State to new heights. The following year, four players from a star-studded recruiting class were dismissed after they were charged with sexual assault. In 2018, the Spartans’ receiving corps was decimated as a slew of wideouts were hurt, and their offensive line was in flux because of injuries. This season, four members of the team have entered their names in the NCAA transfer portal. The migration of talent to the NFL also slowed as only five Michigan State players have been picked in the last three years.

    “A lot of little things continued to compound and add up and add up and add up,” Nichol said, “and it turned out to be a perfect storm of things not going in our favor.”

    But as CBS Sports Network analyst Houston Nutt can attest, an impatient fan base doesn’t want excuses; they demand results. Twenty-one years ago, he took over a program at Arkansas that resembled the one Dantonio inherited at Michigan State. The Razorbacks, who peaked in the 1960s at around the time MSU was at the top of the sport, had just slogged through consecutive 4-7 seasons and were lost in a brave new world after joining the SEC.

    When Nutt attended booster club meetings around the state, he faced the same question: “Can you just beat SMU?”

    The Mustangs had defeated Arkansas three straight years, offering annual embarrassment and a reminder of how bad the Razorbacks had become. But in short order, Nutt revitalized Arkansas. In his first season in 1998, the Hogs claimed nine victories and briefly entered the hunt for a national title. The following season, Arkansas went 8-4, beating No. 3 Tennessee and old Southwest Conference rival Texas in the Cotton Bowl.

    “You come in and breathe air into the program and all of a sudden you start having success and then expectation rises and rises very fast,” he said.

    But Nutt, who’d last 10 years in Fayetteville, found that all that winning wasn’t sustainable. The Razorbacks began to yo-yo between posting good, average and sub-par records as the recruiting challenges Arkansas faced often determined its fate from one year to the next. Much in the same way Michigan State has had to do throughout its history, the Razorbacks resorted to pulling prospects from neighboring states who were often a notch below the players signing with the flagship universities in that territory.

    As Mason explained, “You have to be awfully good on offense and awfully good on defense and have all the special teams in place. And when you don’t have the recruiting advantages of some schools to be able to consistently get that full allotment of players to accomplish that in all the phases, it is difficult.”

    At Kansas and Minnesota, two programs where there are inherent obstacles involved in roster building, Mason managed to reach a high-water mark of 10 victories. But steady results eluded him and his final seasons at both schools were besmirched with losing records.

    CLOSE

    What to make of Michigan State football after meltdown at Wisconsin, Oct. 12, 2019 in Madison. Chris Solari, Graham Couch and Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press

    For that reason, Mason appreciates what Dantonio has been able to accomplish.

    “He put in a consistency in that program that wasn’t realized before, and it was because of his plan,” Mason said.

    Whether Dantonio’s blueprint still works is a matter of debate. But few would dispute that Dantonio has become a victim of his own success and is now being judged by the standard he created earlier this decade.

    It’s why the Michigan State coach has been subjected to uncomfortable inquiries like the one presented to him last Saturday in Wisconsin after another dispiriting loss.

    “Is the enemy his own expectations that he set forth?” Nichol said. “Probably.”

    The former receiver then paused before continuing.

    “But the fastest way Michigan State gets back to double-digit win seasons, big bowl games, Big Ten championship games, if that is the benchmark there, is if Coach D is still the head coach.

    “There is no question about that.”

    Contact Rainer Sabin at rsabin@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @RainerSabin. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Big Ten newsletter

    Source : https://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/michigan-state/spartans/2019/10/17/mark-dantonio-michigan-state-football/4003657002/

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    Michigan State Football: Mark Dantonio Wants To Be Part Of Solution