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Ranking Mark Dantonio’s 100 wins: Wins No. 40-26

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We’re getting closer to the top 25. Until then, here are 15 more wins to look back on.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - TCU v Michigan State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The offseason is only the dog days if you have nothing exciting to talk about.

When you have 100 Mark Dantonio wins to sort out, that makes the offseason a little easier as we wait patiently.

We rolled out wins 100-41 a few days ago, and we’ve got a batch of wins 40-26 to hold you over until we reveal the top 25 one-by-one.

You might not agree and think some of these deserve to be in the top 25. Well, two things: 1) Let’s talk about it in the comments and 2) you don’t know how loaded the top 25 is, which is an AWESOME thing.

Once again, if the opponent is in bold, that bad boy was a road game.

Let’s dive into it...

40. Sept. 17, 2016: No. 12 MSU 36, No. 18 Notre Dame 28

A what-we-thought was a marquee win on the road against a then-top 25 team. This win seemed huge in the moment and had us thinking of a College Football Playoff repeat and then...yeah. You know. Still a great win though.

39. Sept. 30, 2017: MSU 17, Iowa 10

MSU flexed its defensive muscle, holding Iowa to just 19 rushing yards on the game. Not like any of us have forgotten, but Felton Davis was in absolute Beat Mode with 114 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

38. Oct. 11, 2008: No. 23 MSU 37, Northwestern 20

In just his second season, Dantonio’s Spartans clinched a bowl game on its seventh game of the season — the quickest MSU reached bowl eligibility since 2003.

37. Nov. 29, 2014: No. 10 MSU 34, Penn State 10

For its grand finale to the regular season, MSU put this road game on cruise control to head into its bowl game (we’ll get to that another day) with a 10-2 record.

36. Aug. 31, 2012: No. 13 MSU 17, No. 24 Boise State 13

One of the most anticipated games with years of build-up behind it made it a perfect opening night before kickoff even happened. We all know what happened this night — Le’Veon Bell essentially jumped over the whole Boise State defense on his way to 265 all-purpose yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Boise State v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

35. Dec. 29, 2012: MSU 17, TCU 16

Speaking of Bell, he was the Spartans leading passer for the better part of this game. It wasn’t the prettiest win of all time, but the fourth quarter comeback that ended with a 47-yard Dan Conroy field goal made the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl an iconic one.

34. Oct. 4, 2008: MSU 16, Iowa 13

What made this home win a big one? It pushed the Spartans to 5-1 on the season. What makes that even bigger? After this game was the first time MSU was ranked in Dantonio’s tenure, coming in at No. 23 the following week.

33. Nov. 1, 2008: No. 22 MSU 25, Wisconsin 24

Down 11 points in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t looking good for a MSU team that was looking to keep its Big Ten title dreams alive in November. However, a Javon Ringer touchdown here, a 50-yard Brett Swenson field goal there and another 44-yarder from Swenson with seven seconds left instead crushed Wisconsin’s dreams of a big road win.

32. Oct. 5, 2013: MSU 26, Iowa 14

There’s no way around it — any road game at Kinnick Stadium is a scary one. But you know what else is scary? Playing quarterback against the No Fly Zone, and Jake Ruddock found that out by throwing two picks to Darqueze Dennard. Running wasn’t much easier for the Hawkeyes as they only gained 23 yards on the ground.

Michigan State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

31. Nov. 12, 2011: No. 13 MSU 37, Iowa 21

Another great Iowa road game, and another intimidating road trip one year removed from a complete beatdown that saw Iowa up 30-0 at halftime. However, a sharp game by the offense in this edition was the difference. Kirk Cousins was laser-sharp with three touchdowns on 18/31 passing, and Le’Veon Bell added 112 rushing yards and a score of his own.

30. Nov. 24, 2012: MSU 26, Minnesota 10

This game was the last call for bowl eligibility as the Spartans sat at 5-6, but that wasn’t a problem for Bell. The bell cow put MSU’s bowl hopes on his shoulder pads and carried the team 266 yards and added a touchdown. Dan Conroy probably needed ice too as he chipped in 14 points, going 4/5 on field goals on the day.

29. Nov. 23, 2013: No. 13 MSU 30, Northwestern 6

It was a win over a lowly Northwestern squad, but it was a huge win in the grand scheme of things. This victory for MSU locked up a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game, which we might get to later on in this countdown. Alright, fine. We’re DEFINITELY getting to it later on.

Michigan State v Ohio State Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

28. Oct. 1, 2011: MSU 10, Ohio State 7

Was this game like watching paint dry? Or was it watching a good, old-fashioned scrum in Columbus? Either way, it was a win dominated by defense as OSU only gained 178 yards of offense.

27. Nov. 28, 2015: No. 6 MSU 55, Penn State 16

All MSU needed was a win to compete in another Big Ten Championship Game. All MSU did was steamroll Penn State out of the building with a statement win before heading to Indy. This was also the game where Jack Allen kicked off his Heisman campaign at running back.

26. Oct. 23, 2010: No. 8 MSU 35, Northwestern 27 (8-0 start, mousetrap)

This game did not start out great as the 7-0 Spartans trailed 17-0 midway through the second quarter. One of Dantonio’s mastermind plays was put on display in the fourth quarter as MSU trailed by 10 in a too-far-for-a-FG, too-short-for-a-punt area of Northwestern’s side of the field. MSU took the false start, got everyone thinking they were giving Aaron Bates a cushion and WHAM, a 21 yard pass off the fake fooled everyone. MSU scored that drive, scored again then scored again to make it an 8-0 start.

There you have it. Top 25 coming soon.

Go Green.