On Nov. 27, 2006, MSU hired head coach Mark Dantonio. Now, 13 years later, Dantonio has broken Duffy Daughtery’s 109 win record at MSU. We look back at the most important wins in Dantonio’s career.
Win #1. 9/1/2007, Michigan State 55, UAB 18
Mark Dantonio's coaching career at MSU got off to a hot start against the Blazers from Alabama. Led by Jehuu Caulcrick (10 carries, 93 yards and four touchdowns) and future NFL quarterback Brian Hoyer, the Spartans gave Dantonio his first victory, 55-18.
Win #14. 10/25/2008, Michigan State 35, Michigan 21
A year removed from Mike Hart’s “Little Brother” comments, Dantonio’s squad recorded its first victory over the Wolverines as Javon Ringer (37 carries, 194 yards and two touchdowns) led the Spartans to a 35-21 victory at the Big House.
Win #18. 10/3/2009, Michigan State 26, No. 22 Michigan 20 (OT)
This game had no shortage of drama as Kirk Cousins, in his first start against the Wolverines, struggled (15-21, 152 yards and two interceptions), but freshman tailback Larry Caper became the hero as he broke off a 23-yard touchdown run to win the game in overtime. Dantonio moved to 2-1 against Michigan.
Win #25. 9/18/2010, Michigan State 34, Notre Dame 31 (OT)
It was this day that the famous “Little Giants” play was born. Dantonio had the ability to kick the field goal to go into second overtime, but his gutsy play call to have Aaron Bates throw for the win paid off as Charlie Gantt was wide open for the Spartan touchdown. Victory for MSU.
Win #33. 11/27/2010, No. 11 Michigan State 28, Penn State 22
With the chance to clinch a share of the Big Ten title, the Spartans did not disappoint. A big day from running back Edwin Baker (28 carries, 118 yards and one touchdown) led MSU to their first Big Ten Championship in twenty years.
Win #38. 10/15/2011, No. 23 Michigan State 28, No. 11 Michigan 14
Michigan State came into Spartan Stadium on this day with two goals: to win their fourth straight versus Michigan and to look good doing it. Rocking the green and gold Nike Pro Combat uniforms, the Spartans won 28-14 on the back of Edwin Baker’s phenomenal day (26 carries, 167 yards and one touchdown). Dantonio was then 4-1 against his rival in Ann Arbor.
Win #39. 10/22/2011, No. 15 Michigan State 37, No. 4 Wisconsin 31
One week after an emotional victory over their rival, the Spartans had one chance to finish the game. Senior quarterback Kirk Cousins launched the ball into the end zone where it was bobbled into the hands of wide receiver Keith Nichol, who powered his way across the goal line. “Rocket” is now one of the most legendary moments in MSU history.
Win #44. 1/2/2012, No. 12 Michigan State 33, No. 18 Georgia 30 (3OT)
The 2011-2012 season had no shortage of heart racing thrillers. In the third overtime, defensive tackle Anthony Rashad White blocked a field goal to give MSU its eleventh win of the season, as well as Dantonio’s first-ever bowl win.
Win #59. 11/2/2013, No. 24 Michigan State 29, No. 23 Michigan 6
In one of the most dominant defensive performances of Dantonio’s coaching career, the Spartans held the Wolverines to a school worst – 48 rushing yards. Dantonio, after this win, advanced to 5-2 against Michigan.
Win #63. 12/7/2013, No. 10 Michigan State 34, No. 2 Ohio State 24
After losing in their first appearance in the Big Ten Championship Game, the Spartans shut down Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes to win the Big Ten Title and secure a Rose Bowl berth.
Win #64. 1/1/2014, No. 4 Michigan State 24, No. 5 Stanford 20
In MSU’s first Rose Bowl appearance since 1988, the Spartans did not disappoint. Senior walk-on linebacker Kyler Elsworth, filling in for the suspended Max Bullough, became an MSU folk hero when he jumped over the line of scrimmage to stuff Stanford on fourth down to clinch the game. Dantonio became a Rose Bowl Champion.
Win #75. 1/1/2015, No. 7 Michigan State 42, No. 4 Baylor 41
In perhaps the greatest comeback in MSU history, the Spartans came back from being down 20 points in the fourth quarter to secure a Cotton Bowl victory in defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi's final game at MSU. Dantonio had won four consecutive bowl games.
Win #82. 10/17/2015, No.7 Michigan State 27, No.12 Michigan 23
Images of stunned Michigan fans littered the internet and praises of Jalen Watts-Jackson were heard around the world. In one of the most shocking victories in college football history, some trouble with the snap gave Dantonio his seventh victory over the Wolverines.
Win #85. 11/21/2015, No.9 Michigan State 17, No.2 Ohio State 14
With Connor Cook sidelined due to an injury, many expected Michigan State to falter. In another classic Dantonio defensive performance, the Spartans did just enough on offense with backup quarterbacks Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry to bring Michael Geiger within windmill range to win the game as the clock expired.
Win #87. 12/5/2015, No.5 Michigan State 16, No.4 Iowa 13
With a trip to the College Football Playoff on the line, LJ Scott bruised his way down the field and across the goal line in a 22 play, 82-yard touchdown drive. Dantonio could now add the College Football Playoff to his already lengthy resume.
Win #110. 9/21/2019, Michigan State 31, Northwestern 10
After a heartbreaking defeat to Arizona State, MSU traveled to Evanston to try and get back on track. The Spartans controlled the game from beginning to end to give Dantonio his 110th win.