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Spartan Football Playback: Michigan State vs. Penn State (2010)

Michigan State fended off a fourth-quarter charge to clinch its first Big Ten title in 20 years.

Michigan State v Penn State Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Opponent: Penn State Nittany Lions

Date: Nov. 27, 2010

Location: Beaver Stadium (State College, Pennsylvania)

Final Score: 28-22, Michigan State

All-time Matchup Record: Michigan State leads 18-17-1

No matter how forgettable you’d like it to be, the aches felt following Michigan State’s double overtime loss to Indiana on Saturday may be one felt for a while to come. The Spartans had an opportunity to salvage what's been mostly a disappointing season and lock in a bowl game before heading to a hostile environment at Penn State to close the season, but missed wide left.

Not one person or unit is to blame for what happened — it was a total team effort. Sure, there would be no mourning if Ben Patton had made a chip shot at the end of regulation, but the Hoosiers had no business coming back in the game to begin with.

MSU came in winning two games in a row in conference play, Indiana was coming off seven-straight losses. MSU had something to play for at home on senior day, Indiana (technically) did not. MSU led 24-7 at half, but Indiana didn't quit. The Hoosiers’ first-time starting quarterback, Dexter Williams II, completed two passes all day for a grand total of 31 yards, but left a winner.

Strong play-calling and execution were virtually nonexistent for Michigan State most of the second half, but what is always the motto when playing in a conference like the Big Ten, you have to focus on the next one.

A bowl game now is still possible, just not exactly probable. The Spartans will need all hands on deck heading into Beaver Stadium to take on a good Penn State team that will be looking for revenge from last year’s snow bowl in East Lansing.

For the final playback installment of the season, we go back to 2010 where the Spartans earned a share of the Big Ten title for the first time since 1990.

2010 Game Recap

The battle for the Land-Grant Trophy typically flies under the radar as it is usually played on the same day as the Michigan versus Ohio State game, but this newer rivalry has seen its fair share of action. In 2010, the Spartans marched into chilly Happy Valley with a chance to clinch a share of the Big Ten title for the first time in two decades.

MSU did what it had to do to seal the victory despite a valiant comeback effort from Penn State. Tailback Edwin Baker rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 152 yards, and tossed two touchdowns to his favorite target, wide receiver B.J. Cunningham. The defense held off a fourth-quarter charge by penalty-prone Penn State for a 28-22 victory.

Many will remember the bitter-sweetness of this championship, as it was the final year before the Big Ten created divisions and a conference championship game. So, the Rose Bowl bid would go to the highest-ranked team in the BCS, which turned out to controversially be Wisconsin (even though MSU had beaten the Badgers earlier that year).

Still, you couldn’t take anything away from what this Spartan team accomplished, which set a tone for the future success to come under head coach Mark Dantonio.