Football —  The Michigan State players could see and hear the laughter at AT&T Stadium, it was all around, and it was loud and embarrassing. That's what happens when a 6-foot-7, 390-pounder named LaQuan McGowan has a 18-yard catch-and-run touchdown against a prideful defense that was supposed to have learned its lessons from losses to national title game combatants Oregon and Ohio State.
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Football —  Few people mention Marcus Rush and Mike Sadler in the same sentence. Yet perhaps the most critical plays of the seniors' careers came away from where they made their biggest impacts over the past four seasons. And Michigan State's departing class came up with almost all of the important plays in the final minute-plus of the eighth-ranked Spartans' 42-41 Cotton Bowl Classic victory over No. 5 Baylor today at AT&T Stadium.
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Football —  Is this Dantonio's biggest win? Which Connor Cook can we expect to see next season? What kind of team will MSU have?
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Football —  In an afternoon filled with so many moments that seemed to turn the game one way or the other, this was the place the momentum began to change. Perhaps not because of the celebration of the bait-and-switch touchdown, but because MSU decided that was enough. "Yeah, we did," said Marcus Rush, a senior defensive end. Although he couldn't explain why. Not exactly, anyway. The Spartans were tired of the insults and trash-talk, of the celebrations on the other side, of Baylor's receivers even trash-talking the MSU defensive coaches on the sidelines. The Bears would not score another point. Spartans' seniors leave final mark with Cotton Bowl win "It was disrespectful," said Delton Williams, an MSU sophomore tailback.
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Football —  Call it belief. Call it chemistry. Call it an annual blood transfusion. Michigan State's otherwise inexplicable 42-41 come-from-behind victory against Baylor in Thursday's Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic left little doubt that head coach Mark Dantonio's program excels in one other area beyond player procurement and development, and it's obviously passed down from year-to-year.
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Football —  What that means eventually, we will have to wait and see. But after watching this team win yet another statement game, it's time we stop to consider: Four straight bowl victories — despite a double-digit deficit in each game. At least 11 victories in four of the last five seasons. Top 10 finishes guaranteed in the final poll for back-to-back seasons — a first since the 1960s.
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Football —  Jeremy Langford finished with 162 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries in No. 8 Michigan State's 42-41 win over No. 5 Baylor in the Cotton Bowl Classic.
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Football —  This was the Spartans' fourth consecutive bowl win, setting a school record and tying the Big Ten postseason mark. Thursday's rally from a pair of 20-point deficits — the biggest comeback in MSU bowl history — also clinches another top-10 finish in the national polls, something the Spartans hadn't done in back-to-back years since 1965-66. But statistics can't measure the sentimental value of something like this. And as the final seconds ticked off the clock inside AT&T Stadium, Dantonio was having trouble holding back.
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Football —  Joe Rexrode rates the Spartans on a scale of 1 to 10 in their 42-41 win over Baylor in the Cotton Bowl.
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Football —  Mark Dantonio and Pat Narduzzi shared an incredible win, and a good cry, in the last of their days as employer and employee. For just a moment, caught on the ESPN cameras, Dantonio and his outgoing defensive coordinator let the red-eyed emotion show today at AT&T Stadium. No. 7 Michigan State had just completed a 20-point fourth-quarter comeback to beat No. 4 Baylor 42-41 in the Cotton Bowl, wrapping a dizzying couple of weeks that saw Pittsburgh court and land Narduzzi to be its next head coach.
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Football —  As junior defensive end Shilique Calhoun said in the Michigan State locker room on Thursday, defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi told him he could call him anytime he needed. Less than five minutes into the second half of Michigan State's 42-41 Cotton Bowl victory over Baylor, Calhoun needed his coach. "A (graduate assistant) grabbed the phone and said, 'Shilique's on the phone,' " Narduzzi recalled in the victorious locker room. "I said, 'What's up, Shilique?' He said, 'Coach, we need you to get down here.' "
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Football —  Defensive end Marcus Rush, starting in his school-record 53rd game, had a blocked field goal and a half-sack all in the final two minutes of the game. And wide receiver Keith Mumphery, a guy often overshadowed by teammate Tony Lippett, grabbed the winning score on a 10-yard strike from Cook with 17 seconds to play.
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Football —  Already, Michigan State's 2014 season looks great on the shelf — stack it right next to the three other seasons with double-digit victories out of the past five, step back and behold the way it reflects on Mark Dantonio's program. If the Spartans don't beat Baylor today in the Cotton Bowl, though, it won't pass close inspection, not compared with the others.
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Football —  They may have followed a similar path, but you don't need to hear the Texas twang in Art Briles' voice, or those of most of the players he coaches, to understand that Baylor and Michigan State come from very different places.
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Football —  Mark Dantonio doesn't just want to win today. He wants to cement a spot in the national conversation. Or at least further it. He said as much again Wednesday morning, during the last scheduled pre-Cotton Bowl press conference.
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Football —  "Obviously, I think they're probably our top recruits right now," Dantonio said of Waynes and Calhoun in his final news conference to preview today's game between No. 4 Baylor (11-1) and No. 7 MSU (10-2). "But I think Trae and Shilique are extremely happy here. To me, that's all that's important. After that, they make their decision that's best for them and their families."
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Football —  Michigan State has earned its place among college football's elite, and Mark Dantonio said his team aims to hold its ground in today's Cotton Bowl. "I think we have a national brand, (and) I think we have a national reputation right now,'' Dantonio said, "and the only way you prove that is by continuing to win.''
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Football —  The Michigan State football program will step back into the spotlight in today's Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium against the nation's most explosive offense. The No. 8-ranked Spartans (10-2) are striving for a place in program history against the No. 5-ranked Bears (11-1) in the 12:30 p.m. New Year's Day showdown.
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Football  — 

Box Score | Post-Game Quotes | Post-Game Notes

Audio: Pregame | Full Game | Postgame Spartan Sports Network

Michigan State Stuns Baylor With 42-41 Win in Cotton Bowl
After their only two losses came against playoff teams, Connor Cook and Michigan State finished off their season with a three-touchdown comeback in the fourth quarter against Baylor.

MSU wins one of the most improbable Cotton Bowls. Ever. State News
- It looked like MSU was going to get run out of the building. Trailing 34-14 and then 41-21 after giving up countless deep passing touchdowns of over 45 yards, but a surprise onside kick changed the momentum and gave MSU their first Cotton Bowl championship. A blocked field goal incited the winning drive, and MSU won maybe the most improbable Cotton Bowl in a long time.

Michigan State stages stunning rally to win Cotton Bowl MLive
Michigan State rang in the New Year with the biggest comeback of the Mark Dantonio era, rallying from a 20-point third quarter deficit to beat Baylor 42-41 in the Cotton Bowl.

Are You Serious?! MSU 42, Baylor 41 247 Sports
Just when you think you’ve seen it all. Trailing 41-21 late in the third quarter, Michigan State somehow, some way rallied for a stunning 42-41 comeback victory over Baylor in the Cotton Bowl.

Keith Mumphery caps career day with game-winning TD catch MLive
He set a career high with 97 receiving yards, including the Spartans' longest reception of the day, a 50-yard completion over the middle. But the highlight of his day came when he caught a 10-yard go-ahead touchdown pass with 17 seconds left. All of his receiving yards came after halftime.

MSU pulls off Cotton Bowl stunner, beats Baylor 42-41 Detroit Free Press
Texas – It was a blowout, an embarrassing end to a dismal few days for Michigan State athletics. And then it was perhaps the greatest win in Mark Dantonio's tenure at MSU. Somehow, his No. 7 Spartans recovered from a pair of 20-point deficits – trailing 41-21 with 12:09 left in the game – to shock No. 4 Baylor, 42-41, in the Cotton Bowl today at AT&T Stadium.

Instant Analysis: Michigan State 42, Baylor 41 ESPN Big Ten Blog
After trailing by 20 points in the fourth quarter, Michigan State roared back to stun Baylor 42-41 Thursday in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

Michigan State overcame a 20-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat Baylor CBS Sports
All season there had been only one team to overcome a deficit of 20 points or more in the fourth quarter to win. That team was Baylor, when it came back to beat TCU in a game that would be the center of debate for the rest of the regular season. Then, in the Cotton Bowl, it was Baylor on the other end of it, as Michigan State overcame a 41-21 deficit in the fourth quarter to win the Cotton Bowl in the final seconds with 21 unanswered points.

No. 7 MSU shocks No. 4 Baylor 42-41 in Cotton Bowl AP
After their only two losses came against playoff teams, Connor Cook and Michigan State finished off their season with a three-touchdown comeback in the fourth quarter against playoff-snubbed Baylor.

Spartans shock Baylor with furious fourth-quarter rally Detroit News
Almost nothing was going right for Michigan State on Thursday. In the 79th Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium, Baylor was hitting deep passes, taking advantage of Michigan State penalties and seemingly running away with the game. Then, almost inexplicably, everything changed.

Dantonio: 'I would not be anyplace, anywhere more happy' than as Cotton Bowl champs MLive
Forget New Orleans or Pasadena. Texas worked just fine for Michigan State and Mark Dantonio. That was the Spartan coach's sentiment after pulling off a miraculous come-from-behind 42-41 win over Baylor Thursday at the Cotton Bowl.

Michigan State rallies past Baylor in stunning Cotton Bowl Sports Illustrated
Michigan State’s two losses came to teams participating in the College Football Playoff. It looked like the Spartans were set to lose their third to a team that felt it was unfairly left out. Baylor used a resourceful and creative attack under new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles to control the early part of the Cotton Bowl against Michigan State. But the Spartans stormed back to shock the Bears 42-41 in AT&T Stadium.

MSU proves status as national power by beating Baylor in Cotton Bowl Oakland Press
It was an epic comeback, one for the ages that will be discussed many years into the future. In the process of defeating Baylor, 42-41, Thursday in the Cotton Bowl, Michigan State definitively established its case as a national power.

How MSU came back and won Detroit Free Press
For three quarters, Baylor dominated with its quick-strike offense and a surprisingly effective pass defense, building a 41-21 lead entering the fourth quarter. But the Spartans somehow put together a 21-0 fourth, all in the final 12:09, capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Connor Cook to Keith Mumphery to win.

Anatomy of the Spartans' spectacular comeback Detroit News
Here's how No. 8 Michigan State erased a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit in Thursday's Cotton Bowl, a 42-41 victory over No. 5 Baylor

For second straight bowl game, Cook finds redemption after bad interception MLive
Connor Cook is making a habit out of these bowl game redemption stories. With 12 minutes left in the game, Cook made a blunder that looked like it would cost Michigan State a Cotton Bowl comeback. Wrapped up outside the pocket, he threw an ill-advised flip pass that went directly into the arms of Baylor's Taylor Young.

Spartans mount miracle comeback to win Cotton Bowl 42-41 isportsweb
That’s how you go out with a bang. Those were the words of Michigan State senior running back Jeremy Langford as he embraced quarterback Connor Cook following the Spartans’ comeback victory against Baylor in the 2015 Cotton Bowl. Michigan State overcame a 20-point fourth quarter deficit and ultimately pulled out a 42-41 win against the fifth-ranked Baylor Bears.

Spartans avoid knockout blow, then stun Baylor ESPN Big Ten Blog
Down 20 in the fourth quarter, facing the nation’s top-scoring offense, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio had one thought coursing through his mind -- avoid taking the knockout punch. Baylor had the Spartans on the ropes for much of Thursday's Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. But Michigan State dodged a couple of potential uppercuts, then punched its way back to stun the Bears 42-41. “We didn’t panic,” Dantonio said. “We regrouped, and kept playing.”

Keith Mumphery sparked and capped historic 42-41 Cotton Bowl comeback win MLive
A Keith Mumphery catch got Michigan State's historic Cotton Bowl comeback started, and a Mumphery catch ended things on a positive note for the Spartans on Thursday at AT&T Stadium. Mumphery carved a place in the Michigan State history books by catching the game-winning touchdown pass with 17 seconds left in the 42-41 victory over Baylor, capping the biggest comeback of the Mark Dantonio Era and in Michigan State bowl history.

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Football —  Salem told after the 42-41 Cotton Bowl win over Baylor game that he plans on returning to the Michigan State coaching staff after turning down an offer to be Vanderbilt's offensive coordinator as well as an opportunity to work on Pat Narduzzi's new Pitt coaching staff. "Part of it is not where you're going, but where you would be leaving,'' Salem said, explaining why he's not planning to leave Mark Dantonio's staff. "You think of the people that are here, and Coach Dantonio -- someone who stands for something you truly believe in, and it's truly a family here."
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