Michigan State has canceled all sports activities as our community deals with the COVID-19 crisis. In a time when sports have ceased, The State News is looking back at great moments in Michigan State sports history. Soon, we’ll be back to a world with sports, but for now, the past will have to do.
We'll be compiling these moments into a bracket with the MSU community voting on the best one, starting on March 31, via Twitter.
Today, we’ll be looking at Spartan football's Big Ten Championship win over Ohio State that sent them to the Rose Bowl.
Date: Dec. 7, 2013
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
Matchup: No. 10 Michigan State Spartans (11-1) vs. No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0)
The background: A year earlier the Spartans were looking at a very different situation. At 7-6, with a 3-5 conference record, they were on the outside looking in at the Big Ten Championship.
Though they closed out the season with a win in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, it was a frustrating 13 games.
During their offseason banquet, coach Mark Dantonio told his team they would be “the ones”. He implied that the Spartans would earn the seventh-year coach a bid to the 100th Rose Bowl, and the Spartans' first since 1988.
Dantonio spoke the Spartans' trajectory into fruition.
After going into the season unranked and doubted, the Spartans won 11 of their first 12 games, only falling once in a 17-13 loss to Notre Dame early in the season. The 11-1 record was enough for a shot at the Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl appearance.
They had come far, riding the high of sophomore Connor Cook at quarterback, but they had to get past a 12-0, No.2-ranked Ohio State, who was at the doorstep of playing in the National Championship. All they had to do was stay perfect.
The game: Like any great game should be, it was a battle. Each quarter sung a different song as each team took their runs.
The Spartans started out with a punch to the Buckeyes' jaw. A 17-0 run to start the game put them comfortably ahead, as the No.1 defense in the nation effectively shut down the Buckeyes' Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde-led offense.