Memorable MSU football moments online: Little Giants, big victories, showdown showstoppers

John Niyo
The Detroit News

In the absence of live sports, TV networks are filling airtime by replaying classic games from the past, some involving our local teams. But if you need a stronger dose of Detroit-area sports to tide you over until the games begin again, we’ve come up with a list you can find online.

The NFL just made things easier for fans by making a decade’s worth of games available for free on Gamepass via Recent Major League Baseball games are relatively easy to find on YouTube. But same goes for other sports, and we’ve compiled a list of 10 memorable games from each of our four major pro franchise, as well as Michigan and Michigan State football and basketball.

Michigan punter Blake O'Neill (12) loses the ball on the last play of the game, with Michigan State's Jalen Watts-Jackson picking up the ball and running it into the end zone for the victory in 2015.

Today, it’s Michigan State football, and the ties that bind some of the Spartans’ greatest wins in recent history:

Nov. 19, 1966 — Michigan State 10, Notre Dame 10 (highlights): The “Game of the Century” had it all: 25 All-Americas, 33 future pro players and eight future College Football Hall of Famers. All that was missing was a winner as Duffy Daugherty punted and Ara Parseghian decided to run out the clock. The full second half can be watched here.

Oct. 13, 1990 — Michigan State 28, Michigan 27: Michigan was ranked No. 1 even after a season-opening loss at Notre Dame. Michigan State had won just one of its first four games. But the so-called “No. 1 vs. No One” matchup ended on a controversial failed two-point conversation with 6 seconds left as Desmond Howard was tripped in the end zone by Eddie Brown.

MSU's Eddie Brown, arms outstretched,  watches as Michigan's Desmond Howard drops the two-point conversion that would have given Michigan the win in their game in Ann Arbor in 1990.

Nov. 4, 1995 — Michigan State 28, Michigan 25: The highlight of Nick Saban’s first season as the Spartans’ head coach amid snow flurries after nightfall at Spartan Stadium. An 88-yard drive late in the fourth quarter — and maybe a friendly fourth-down spot along the way — gave Tony Banks and the Spartans the upset of No. 7 Michigan.

Nov. 7, 1998 — Michigan State 28, Ohio State 24: The Spartans got off to a 1-3 start in 1998 and were at .500 heading to Columbus to face the top-ranked Buckeyes. But Michigan State upended the national-title chase with a second-half rally to hand Ohio State it’s only loss of the season.

Oct. 9, 1999 — Michigan State 34, Michigan 31: A matchup of two top-15 teams lived up to the hype. Bill Burke outdueled Tom Brady, passing for a school-record 400 yards — 255 of them to Plaxico Burress — as the Spartans won in a battle of unbeatens in Nick Saban’s final season in East Lansing.

Sept. 18, 2010 — Michigan State 34, Notre Dame 31: Mark Dantonio suffered a heart attack after this game, which dampened the day-after celebration. But this remains one of the more thrilling wins of his tenure, pulling off a fake field goal in overtime — the “Little Giants” play — to stun the Irish under the lights at Spartan Stadium.

Kurtis Drummond (27) signals it's Michigan State's ball as Kyler Elsworth (41) and the rest of the Spartan defense stop Stanford's last drive in the 2014 Rose Bowl.

Jan. 1, 2014 — Michigan State 24, Stanford 20: Connor Cook threw for 332 yards and hit Tony Lippett for the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter. But the story of Michigan State’s season was it’s defense, and the Spartans’ first Rose Bowl win in more than a quarter century ended fittingly with a fourth-and-1 stop by former walk-on Kyler Elsworth.

Jan. 1, 2015 — Michigan State 42, Baylor 41: The Spartans scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to complete another comeback win in a bowl game. This time it was Connor Cook hitting Keith Mumphery with 17 seconds left, and one final defensive stand for Pat Narduzzi’s defense in what was the highest-scoring Cotton Bowl in history. 

Oct. 17, 2015 — Michigan State 27, Michigan 23: So much happened so fast, it was almost impossible to digest it all. Just ask Sean McDonough. But a game that seemed lost was won in remarkable fashion, as Michigan State’s Jalen Watts-Jackson grabbed a botched punt and somehow found his way to the end zone as time expired.

Michigan State kicker Michael Geiger (4) celebrates a 41-yard field goal as time expires during the fourth quarter to defeat Ohio State in 2015.

Nov. 21, 2015 — Michigan State 17, Ohio State 14: Another top-10 opponent, another dramatic upset for Mark Dantonio’s playoff-bound team. This time it was the Spartans’ snapping Ohio State’s 23-game winning streak, beating the Buckeyes with two backup quarterbacks and a game-winning kick from Michael Geiger, whose windmill celebration was a classic.

Twitter: @JohnNiyo

Previous installments

Memorable Michigan basketball moments online: Fisher's Kings, Fab Five and Beilein's Bunch

Memorable Pistons moments online: From NBA crowns to Palace chaos

Memorable MSU basketball moments online: Highlights aplenty during Spartans' March

Memorable Lions moments online: Detroit's stars bring plenty of thrills, few playoff wins

Memorable Tigers moments online: Series heroes, JV's no-nos, Galarraga's close call

Memorable Red Wings moments online: 1950, 2008 Stanley Cup clinchers among 10 extraordinary games