Michigan State Football: Ranking top 5 quarterbacks since 2000

Kirk Cousins, Michigan State football (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Kirk Cousins, Michigan State football (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Michigan State football
Connor Cook, Michigan State football (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Is this surprising? It shouldn’t be. Connor Cook is the best quarterback in school history and it’s only close because Kirk Cousins had an incredible career just one year earlier.

Cook joined the program in 2011 and got to watch the end of the Cousins era before sitting behind Andrew Maxwell in 2012. He took over in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against TCU, leading an anemic Michigan State offense to a win in the final minutes. That was the start of his rise in East Lansing.

Accuracy was never his forte because he took too many deep shots and his risks down the field are why Michigan State fans loved him. He finished his career with a 58 percent completion rate but it was the rest of his stat line that made up for it.

In 2013 as a first-year starter, he passed for 2,755 yards and 22 touchdowns with six interceptions while leading the Spartans to a 13-1 record, Big Ten title and Rose Bowl victory. It was the best team in the Mark Dantonio era, led by the best quarterback.

The next year, he had a top-10 preseason team and went 11-2 with losses to Oregon and Ohio State which played for the national title that year. He passed for 3,214 yards and 24 touchdowns with only eight picks. The Spartans went on to win the Cotton Bowl that season in comeback fashion over Baylor and Cook opted to come back for his senior season.

National title was on the minds of everyone heading into 2015 and Cook had a big year with 3,131 yards and 24 touchdowns, leading the Spartans to another Big Ten title and a College Football Playoff appearance — we won’t talk about what happened there, though.

Next. All-time sharpshooting team from Tom Izzo era. dark

Cook finished his career as the all-time MSU passing leader with 9,194 yards and 71 touchdowns with 22 interceptions. He’s also the school’s all-time winningest quarterback and even though he flamed out in the NFL, he was dang fun to watch in East Lansing.