In a 17-17 tie and facing a third-and-8, the Rose Bowl was won on this touchdown. Dropping back against a blitz, Connor Cook looked off the Stanford safety, looked back and hit Lippett in stride over the middle. The junior caught the ball around the 8-yard line, took a couple strides and was wrapped up but reached the ball across the goalline for the decisive score.
Lippett said after the game he knew he would catch the ball around the 5-yard line and was determined to get into the end zone.
Was wide receiver coach Terry Samuel a fan of him reaching out? Not so much, but the proof is in the pudding and the Spartans left the Rose Bowl with a win thanks to this touchdown.
9. Hey, Diddle Diddle
Send Sadler up the middle … err, to the right. Leading Iowa 20-14 and in its own territory, Michigan State dialed up a trick play, because of course. On fourth-and-7, Mike Sadler caught the snap at MSU’s 24-yard line and took off. With all the Iowa players turned downfield, he ran easily for 25 yards before being tackled out of bounds at the Iowa 38.
The drive ended with a field goal and gave MSU a two-score lead. Unfortunately for Sadler, his career rushing average dropped for 26 to 25.5 with the run.
The highlight of it all? Dantonio walking over to his daughter, Kristen, and fist bumping her – but no, she didn’t call the play.
8. Tony Lippett’s catch against Iowa
MacGarrett Kings’s touchdown against Youngstown State was included earlier in the list as a player that instilled faith in the MSU offense, but Lippett’s catch was brought up specifically by Cook as a moment the team woke up and took playmaking to the next level.
The play came on a third-down near midfield against Iowa and Cook threw the ball up down the sideline to Lippett, who reached back over the cornerback and reeled it in. The drive didn’t end in points, but it set things in motion for the Spartans.
An 87-yard receiving touchdown? Bring that up in August to many laughs, but Fowler made it happen. With a pre-snap read and audible, Cook quickly turned to Fowler and lobbed a ball into a heavy wind down the sideline.
Fowler reached back with one hand and knocked it to himself, catching it facing the MSU end zone at the 37-yard line and he was off to the races with nothing but open field in front of him.
It was easily the longest play of the season for MSU and was the big play in a game that clinched the Legends Division.
In the midst of Ohio State’s 24-point run, the Spartans had a big defensive sequence. The Buckeyes came out with a game-tying touchdown on their first drive of the second half and Cook threw an interception on the ensuing MSU drive. With all the momentum. Ohio State looked to take the game into their hands on the scoreboard.
On first down, OSU quarterback Braxton Miller looked into the end zone from the MSU 37, but Drummond was there to deflect the pass and almost intercept it.
Two plays later, Dennard showed why he was named the nation’s top defensive back. Miller looked for Devin Smith for a touchdown, but Dennard got a hand in to knock away a perfectly thrown ball from Miller.
The pair of plays kept the Big Ten Championship Game tied and the Spartans right in the middle of things.