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Ranking Mark Dantonio’s 100 wins: 2013 Big Ten title, Rose Bowl berth lands at No. 1

Mark Dantonio snaps MSU’s Rose Bowl drought with win over No. 2 Buckeyes

Big 10 Championship Game - Ohio State v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Gang, we’ve reached the top.

After 99 games of relishing in Mark Dantonio’s 100 victories, we’ve finally hit the No. 1 game.

If you have time to kill before Friday night’s kickoff, relive wins No. 100-2 right over here.

Win No. 1

Dec. 7, 2013: No. 10 MSU 34, No. 2 Ohio State 24

Just two years after heartbreak in Indy and a Rose Bowl drought begging to be ended, MSU had its shot at revenge.

Only problem? It’s against a buzzsaw in No. 2 Ohio State.

Big 10 Championship Game - Ohio State v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

How They Won

MSU came out with the absolute HAMMER to start the game.

It started with a 40-yard field goal by Michael Geiger on the opening drive and then a punt on the Spartans following possession.

But then, a 72-yard touchdown from Connor Cook to Keith Mumphery made it 10-0.

The next drive? A 33-yard score from Cook to Tony Lippett and it’s all the sudden 17-0 andOH MY GOD HOLD ME GUS JOHNSON, THIS COULD FINALLY BE THE YEAR WE’RE CLAMPING ROSES IN OUR TEETH!

Wait. That’s right. OSU has an electric offense that scored at least 30 points in every regular season game and at least 40 points in 10 of those games. They’re not going away.

Braxton Miller and Co. moseyed on down to tighten that MSU lead to 17-7. Then, right before halftime, OSU knocked in a field goal to give the world a 17-10 score at halftime.

OSU didn’t slow down to start the second half, scoring in less than three minutes to tie the game up at 17-all.

OK, don’t panic. Everything is fine.

Well, until OSU scored yet again just eight minutes later to take its first lead at 24-17.

OK, EVERYONE PANIC – except for the MSU offense, which responded with a much-needed 44-yard field goal to break up the 24-0 run OSU was on.

The Buckeyes didn’t do anything on their next drive – thank goodness. Instead, MSU did by scoring a touchdown on a swing-back pass so sexy it should have been on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition that year.

Alright, now MSU is in the driver’s seat again. 27-24 lead. 11:41 left in the game. No nails left to bite either. Everyone inhale.

OSU goes 3-and-out. Everyone exhale.

Then MSU goes 6-and-out and, even worse, flubs a punt to just about mid-field. 7:36 left in the game. Everyone inhale.

Fast forward three plays, and OSU is looking at 4th-and-2 on MSU’s 39 yard line. With Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde in the backfield, how hard can it be to get two yards?

Well, maybe easy if Denicos Allen wasn’t suited up for MSU.

Everyone exhale. All MSU has to do is just chew as much of that 5:38 on the clock. After five plays MSU has the clock down to 2:16 and 26 yards to the Ohio State end zone. They could keep on running the clock out or, if you’re Jeremy Langford, you can stomp your way to glory on a 26-yard touchdown run.


Big Ten Championship Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

What This Win Meant

I mean, damn, this meant everything.

Goodbye to Same Ol’ Sparty.

Goodbye to the sour taste from the 2011 Big Ten Championship Game.

Goodbye to the Rose Bowl drought.

And hello to elite status.

This win delivered a Rose Bowl berth, a Big Ten title and a win against a No. 2 team all in the same night. But somehow it meant more than all of that.

What Dantonio did with this win was just about complete his rebuilding of a program that slogged through the Bobby Williams and John L. Smith days. The status quo changed on this game, and so did MSU’s expectations heading into every season.

Big Ten Championship Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Why This Game Over The Rose Bowl For No. 1?

-This game righted all the wrongs of the 2011 game – the loss that stung the most in the Mark Dantonio Era. That 2011 team was so, so close to bringing the glory of the Rose Bowl back to MSU for the first time in 23 years, but it went the other way in gut-wrenching fashion. Being back on the stage for a shot at redemption just two years later, and seeing MSU deliver on that shot was…man, that’s tough to draw it up any better.

-OSU was going to the BCS National Championship Game that year. They were No. 2 in the nation. Stanford was a great, tough opponent -- but this OSU team? Sheesh.

They had an offense loaded with Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, Devin Smith and Corey Brown. A defense with Joey Bosa, Ryan Shazier, Bradley Roby, Michael Bennett and Noah Spence.

Taking down OSU not just sent MSU to the Rose Bowl, but it blocked the Buckeyes from reaching that national title game.

-Commenter Mark In Chicago put it best – the Rose Bowl was like playing with house money. Getting to the Rose Bowl was enough to bring 27,000 fans out for the pep rally in Los Angeles the week of the game and send an unmatched energy throughout the fan base. Just getting to the Rose Bowl is an accomplishment in its own and something you can pin to your resumé that makes you elite as a team and – if you play it right the following years – an entire program.


What game would you rank No. 1?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    2013 Big Ten title over OSU
    (283 votes)
  • 39%
    2014 Rose Bowl
    (235 votes)
  • 2%
    2015 Big Ten title over Iowa
    (12 votes)
  • 1%
    2015 win at OSU
    (9 votes)
  • 9%
    2015 Jalen Watts-Jackson vs. UM
    (55 votes)
  • 1%
    (6 votes)
600 votes total Vote Now

If you’ve read just one or every one of these — I can’t thank you enough. Go Green!