clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ranking Mark Dantonio’s 100 wins: 2010 ‘Little Giants’ win comes in at No. 6

Unforgettable play on an unforgettable night


It’s crazy games like this aren’t in the top five.

Then again, when Mark Dantonio is your head coach, you’ll have too many good games to choose from.

Wins No. 100-7 can all be caught here if you need a trip down memory lane.

Win No. 6

Sept. 18, 2010: MSU 34, Notre Dame 31 (OT)

The stage was set for MSU to show greatness.

The prior season was a shaky 6-7 year, but the Spartans returned all sorts of talent on both sides of the ball. This was their first chance to prove they were going to be a contender this season, and what better place to do it than under the lights?


How They Won

You mean there was a whole game before one of the ballsiest calls in Mark Dantonio’s tenure?!

There sure was. It was like a tennis match on a football field, with the two sides going back-and-forth and never grabbing leads that exceeded seven points.

Notre Dame had its passing offense clicking with Dayne Crist going 32-55 with four touchdowns. However, he did throw one interception that was grabbed by Johnny Adams on the doorstep of the end zone in the first quarter.

MSU’s offense was great that night as well, first scoring off that 94-yard drive with a six-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Keyshawn Martin. That ended up being all the scoring both sides would do in the first half, but Edwin Baker wasted no time putting six more up on the board to start the second half.

Notre Dame instantly answered to tie it up at 14-all, but then MSU answered THAT score with a Le’Veon Bell touchdown to make it 21-14. AND THEN Notre Dame answered that. And then they scored again to start the fourth quarter to grab the 28-21 lead and MY GOD DID THE DEFENSE STAY IN THE LOCKER ROOM?!?

Well, we know Cousins didn’t stay in the locker room as he connected with BJ Cunningham to knot this game up at 28-28.

As we all know, that scored stayed the same and the game went to overtime.

Stat break: As you’ve read by now, a lot of Spartans had great games on the field and on paper. Cunningham had 101 yards on seven catches and Martin had 96 yards on eight catches. Baker ran for 90 yards on just 14 carries, and Bell also balled out with 114 yards on 17 carries.

The Overtime

Let’s jump right into a play that’s overlooked.

Notre Dame was first to strike in overtime, staring at a 3rd-and-3 to keep the drive going. Crist hit Kyle Rudolph on a quick route, but Chris L. Rucker laid the sonic boom to keep him behind the first down marker, forcing Notre Dame into booting a 33-yard field goal.

MSU’s attempt to respond, uhh, didn’t look great.

The first play went for a loss of two, Cousins got seven of those yards back on the second play but a sack on third down made it 4th-and-14 on the 29 yard line.

And here comes Dan Conroy to attempt his first field goal of the night from 46 yards out and on the right hash...

Personal anecdote time: I’ll never forget the pandemonium in the stadium after that play. I was a freshman in the student section, and the explosion of joy on the bleachers was unparalleled. I hugged about 5 people, none of them of which I knew. I tried finding my buddy after the 30-second celebration, and we somehow ended up 20 rows apart. What a complete madhouse that was.

What This Win Meant

You could argue this was the game that put MSU on the map. I’ve seen the argument made, and I’ve seen it even harder to defend.

Night game. Big network. Rivalry game. Unreal finish.

That caught the attention of just about everyone and coming into a season with plenty of promise, this was the win that let everyone know the Spartans will be for real that season.

MSU went on to win the first Big Ten title in two decades that season, and this game set the tone for that historic year.


Is ranking this game at No. 6 too low, too high or just right?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Ranked too low
    (142 votes)
  • 8%
    Ranked too high
    (29 votes)
  • 52%
    Ranked just right
    (191 votes)
362 votes total Vote Now