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Ranking Mark Dantonio’s 100 wins: Mike Sadler goes Hey Diddle Diddle for No. 25

We start our top 25 with an iconic play in a historic game

Michigan State v Nebraska Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

Welcome back from the holiday break, Spartans.

If you’ve missed the first 75 games in this ranking, have no fear, we won’t make you click through 75 links. Just two. We broke up wins No. 100-41 here and wins No. 40-26 here.

Now that we are in the top 25 of Mark Dantonio’s greatest wins, we will go one-by-one with them and will release them every day or every other day from here on out.

Michigan State v Nebraska Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

Win No. 25

Nov. 16, 2013: No. 14 MSU 41, Nebraska 28

This game is now known for one play – Hey Diddle Diddle, Mike Sadler up the middle.

But gimmick play and catchy name aside, this game was a monstrous victory for the Spartans. The tenth game of the 2013 Rose Bowl season was a daunting one as the Spartans never walked into Lincoln and flew out with a win. Well, until this day, of course.

Michigan State v Nebraska Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

How they won

Well, forcing five turnovers – four in the first half – certainly helped. The vaunted 2013 Spartan defense gave up nearly 400 yards of offense and a season-high 28 points, but it just didn’t matter with all the cough-ups they forced. When your offense can turn four turnovers into 17 first half points well, folks, that will help you win games.

The offense was set up for success thanks to the defense, and all Jeremy Langford did was make the ground attack a miserable day for the Huskers as he tacked on 151 yards and three touchdowns. That was also his fifth-straight game with over 100 rushing yards.

Michigan State v Nebraska Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

Oh, and the legendary run by Mike Sadler. Who can forget that? (No one)

With Sadler as the holder, Michael Geiger was lined up for a 45-yard field goal on 4th-and-1 with the Spartans holding a 27-21 lead with 10:24 left in the game. As the ball was snapped, Geiger turned into a lead blocker for Sadler as he powered through for a STATEMENT three-yard run. What happened three plays later? A 27-yard touchdown pass to Keith Mumphery to build the lead to 34-21.

What this win meant

Other than getting the “Can’t beat Nebraska” monkey off their back for the first time in eight tries? Nothing much, OTHER THAN (pretty much) LOCKING UP A SPOT IN THE BIG TEN TITLE GAME.

All MSU had to do in the last two weeks was win one game (they won both) or watch Minnesota lose one game (they lost both).

Let’s be honest – that was the final real test before playing in the Big Ten Championship Game. And they aced it.