Mark Dantonio made a statement on Saturday night. He proved he was among the best NCAA football coaches in the country.
His Michigan State Spartans defeated Ohio State 34-24 in a Big Ten title victory that very few fans outside of East Lansing would have expected. Dantonio, with a superb coaching job this season, had his team ready to go and showed in this game that he could even be considered as good of a coach as the guy on the other sidelines, Urban Meyer of Ohio State.
Dantonio will take a Michigan State team most likely to the Rose Bowl despite coaching a program that has frequently been considered to be No. 2 in the state in the past. This season, with high expectations, it appeared early on that his Spartans weren’t going anywhere. The defense was playing very well, but the offense couldn’t get going. Dantonio didn’t know who his No. 1 quarterback would be for the first few games.
When he settled on Connor Cook, the MVP of Saturday’s Big Ten title game, Dantonio had the Spartans on their way. Had Cook been able to establish himself earlier in the season, perhaps the Spartans would have beaten Notre Dame and would have a clear case to be in the BCS title game against Florida State by being undefeated.
That honor is likely to go to Auburn, but the Spartans would still represent the Big Ten proudly in the Rose Bowl. Dantonio showed his excellence as coach by keeping his team in line after blowing a 17-0 lead with 24 unanswered points by the Buckeyes. Michigan State rallied with 17 points, showing the poise that Dantonio has imparted on this team. That’s why he’s one of the best college coaches in the country.
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