ANN ARBOR – Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio often recites the old George Perles line, "they all count one." But after beating arch-rival Michigan 35-21 at Michigan Stadium, Dantonio admitted that his first victory over the Wolverines as head coach of the Spartans counts a little bit more than one.
Dantonio admitted to "misting up" as he celebrated with his players following their come from behind victory over Michigan.
Thoroughly outplayed in the first half and dominated statistically Michigan managed to take a 14-14 tie into the locker room at half time. The Wolverines took a 21-14 lead in the third quarter before the Spartans tied the game 21-21 on a 4-yard pass from Brian Hoyer to Charlie Gantt.
The Spartans outscored the Wolverines 14-0 in the fourth quarter. Senior tailback Javon Ringer scored on a 3-yard run with 6:59 remaining in the final quarter. A Chris Rucker interception set up a 7-yard touchdown pass from Hoyer to fullback Josh Rouse with 3:06 remaining.
"It's a great win for our football team and for our program. I am so happy for our players, especially our seniors. We came out and handled adversity. We played very well, I thought, early. Every football game has some times when you're going to go up and down and handle some adverse moments, and we just kept playing one play at a time. We saw so many different players have a part in this win. It is big for this program.
"I can tell you this, when we first came here as a staff, we pointed to this football game as a rivalry game. I have always believed that. I am so proud of our football team.
"I thought we did it in a Spartan manner."
Dantonio is now 1-1 against the Wolverines during his two years at Michigan State. The Spartans had not beat Michigan in Ann Arbor since 1990. Spartan running backs coach Dan Enos was the quarterback for the 1990 Spartans.
With the win, Michigan State moves to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten Conference.