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Ranking Mark Dantonio’s 100 wins: 2012 MSU sinks Wisconsin late for win No. 24

The first 55 minutes of the game? Not great. The last five minutes? Very great.

To kick off our top 25 of Mark Dantonio’s wins, we had a great road win.

That doesn’t stop with No. 24.

Miss any of the other 76 games? No worries, we got you covered right here:

Win No. 24

Oct. 27, 2012: MSU 16, Wisconsin 13 (OT)

Oh yes, the 2012 season makes an appearance in the top 25.

For starters, I think it’s important to acknowledge this is the un-sexiest game you’ll see in the top 25. I don’t even think that’s up for debate, to be honest. But in the grand scheme of things, this win was huge.

Let’s break this one down and stroll down memory lane.

How they won

No, seriously. How on earth did this team win at Camp Randall? Against the eventual Big Ten Champs*?

*Ohio State and Penn State finished higher in their division, but both were ineligible for postseason play

After a slog of a game for the better part of three hours, MSU and quarterback Andrew Maxwell said “it’s time to start trying” in the final minutes of the game.

Maxwell and Co. pieced together a 75-yard drive that ended with a shovel pass touchdown to Le’Veon Bell to tie the game up at 10-10 with 1:08 remaining. That was inarguably Maxwell’s greatest drive as a Spartan, going 8/9 passing with 69 yards to knot up the game.

Maxwell didn’t stop shining in overtime, throwing a back-shoulder ball to Bennie Fowler on 3rd-and-8. Just like that, ball game. It even looks like some of the players couldn’t even believe it.

The Spartan defense – staying true to the theme of this countdown – was stout in this game by putting the brakes on Monte Ball, holding him to just 46 yards in the midst of his 1,830 yard season.

And folks, that’s how you end a 21-game home win streak.

What this win meant

This might be one of those wins where it looks a lot better in hindsight than it did in the moment. And heck, it even looked great then.

The season ended with MSU playing for their bowl game eligibility in week 12, and without this win, there’s obviously no bowl game. And with no bowl game, there’s no Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. And with no Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, we don’t get part one of the Connor Cook coming out party.

This win also came off the heels of back-to-back back-breakers, losing to Iowa in double overtime and falling to Michigan before heading to Madison. Any morale-boosting win is a good win.