Michigan State Football: Top 10 games of the Mark Dantonio Era

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Dec 5, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio celebrates after the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference football championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Michigan State won 16-13. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the top 10 Michigan State football games of the Mark Dantonio Era.

Michigan State football fans are lucky: the Spartans have one of the best coaches in the entire nation and Mark Dantonio seems to have luck and good graces on his side more often than not. Throughout Dantonio’s nine-year tenure, Spartan fans have seen some of the most incredible comebacks, final plays and huge wins in Michigan State history.

Hopefully for the program, Dantonio sticks around for another nine years and has games just like the ones that will be coming up on this list.

These are the 10 best games of all time and I’ve obviously only included the ones that the Spartans ended up on the winning side of. There would be far more had it not been for that metric as games like the Iowa one in 2009, the Big Ten title game in 2011 versus Wisconsin and the 2012 contest at Michigan all come to mind.

Let’s take a look at the [positive] top 10 games of the Mark Dantonio Era.

10. Michigan (2009)

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Coming off a big win over the Michigan Wolverines in 2008, Michigan State was looking to win its second in a row against its hated rival from down the road. Ever since Mike Hart’s “little brother” comment, the Spartans had been playing angry.

However, Michigan State had gotten off to a mediocre 1-3 start to the 2009 campaign, including a home loss to Central Michigan just three weeks before.

Hosting the No. 22 Wolverines was a big deal for the Spartans if they were going to keep their bowl hopes alive. It would take a gigantic effort against one of the Big Ten’s top teams in order to finish with a victory. Heck, a win would have given the Spartans their first back-to-back wins over Michigan  since 1967.

The talk all week long was about how Tate Forcier was going to do whatever he wanted against the Spartans’ defense, but Kirk Cousins and Michigan State got the last laugh.

Michigan State had a 20-6 lead with under five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but the Spartans collapsed and allowed the Wolverines to tie it up at 20 and force overtime. A Forcier pass attempt into the end zone for the first overtime’s initial touchdown was intercepted by a diving Chris L. Rucker off a tip and it was up to the offense to just get the field goal to win.

Although it was a gloomy, rainy afternoon, true freshman running back Larry Caper sent the drenched fans home with a walk-off touchdown on a 3rd-&-8. The fans went nuts and that was just the beginning of MSU domination over the Wolverines.

Next: 9. Notre Dame (2010)