Photo courtesy of Michigan State athletics
Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio called it quits on Tuesday night after 13 seasons as the head man in East Lansing.
Dantonio inherited a team that was coming off three straight losing seasons and five in seven years. During his tenure, Dantonio won 115 games and more than 2/3 of the contests he coached in.
Dantonio led the Spartans to 12 bowl games, seven ranked finishes, six 10-win seasons, two major bowl victories, two Big Ten titles and one College Football Playoff appearance. In what will be a 3-part series, we look back on Dantonio’s best wins at Michigan State.
That series will start with us counting down from No. 15 to No. 11.
Narrowly missing the list were a pair of season openers and an impressive bowl victory. Dantonio’s first win at Michigan State was the 2007 opener against UAB with a 55-18 victory.
Also narrowly missing the list was the 2012 opener against Boise State in East Lansing. In that one, running back Le’Veon Bell scored with more than eight minutes to play to lift the Spartans to a 17-13 victory. Michigan State was able to melt the last 6:32 off the clock in the win.
The Spartans capped the 2017 season with a 42-17 thrashing of No. 18 Washington State. Brian Lewerke passed for three touchdowns for the Spartans in the win. L.J. Scott rushed for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Michigan State defense held an explosive Cougars’ offense to less than 300 total yards.
15. Conroy’s Kick Lifts Michigan State Past TCU
TCU 16, Michigan State 17
Dec. 29, 2012 (Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Tempe)
Michigan State rallied from 13 points down to beat TCU to cap the 2012 season with a winning record. Dan Conroy’s 47-yard field goal came less than two minutes after TCU’s Jaden Oberkrom knocked home a 53-yarder to put the Horned Frogs in front. Running back Le’Veon Bell accounted for 187 yards of total offense and a touchdown in the win.
14. Spartans Hold Off Wolverines in Rain-Soaked Slugfest
Michigan State 14, (7) Michigan 10
Oct. 7, 2017
Two first-half touchdowns — one passing and one rushing — from quarterback Brian Lewerke was all that Michigan State would need to beat its in-state rivals on a soaked field at Michigan Stadium. David Dowell recorded two interceptions and a fumble recovery for a Spartans’ defense that forced five turnovers. It was Michigan State’s fourth win in five trips to Ann Arbor.
13. Spartans Stun Badgers in Overtime
Michigan State 16, (25) Wisconsin 13
Oct. 27, 2012 (Overtime)
For nearly 59 minutes, Michigan State was kept off the scoreboard in Madison. With just over a minute to play, quarterback Andrew Maxwell found Le’Veon Bell for the 5-yard touchdown to cap a 75-yard drive and tie the game, 10-10. After Wisconsin kicker Kyle French’s 43-yard field goal put the Badgers in front in overtime, Maxwell fired the 12-yard game-winner to Bennie Fowler on 3rd-and-8.
12. Michigan State Stuns Nittany Lions on Late Kick
(7) Penn State 24, (24) Michigan State 27
Nov. 4, 2017
A second interception by David Dowell and a fourth-down stop allowed Michigan State an opportunity to win as time expired. After forcing an incomplete pass from Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley on fourth down in a 24-24 game, the Spartans were able to melt the final four minutes and change off the clock. After tying the contest earlier in the quarter, Matt Coghlin nailed a 34-yard field goal as time expired. Brian Lewerke passed for 400 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win.
11. Lewerke Finds Davis for Game-Winner
Michigan State 21, (8) Penn State 17
Oct. 13, 2018
Michigan found itself on the short end of a 17-14 score with 70 seconds remaining in State College. With the ball at their own 24-yard-line, Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke completed three passes for first downs to move the Spartans inside the Penn State 35-yard-line. After an incomplete pass and a 8-yard completion, Lewerke hit Felton Davis III on the sideline inside the 5. Davis shed a tackler before walking into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. Davis finished with 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the victory.