The Spartans made themselves bowl eligible with their sixth win of the season in just their seventh game – a far cry from a season ago.
"It was a big focus," sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun said. "Last year, our sixth win was against Minnesota. It went down to the last game and in 12 degree weather. We didn't want that to happen this year.
"We wanted to able to win early, win big and keep moving forward. As you keep winning, the bowls keep getting better and better."
Last year, the Spartans earned bowl eligibility in their final regular-season game with a 26-10 win at Minnesota.
Coach Mark Dantonio pointed out close losses kept the Spartans from getting to their sixth win earlier last year and a lot more possibilities lie ahead now with a 6-1 record and 3-0 in the Big Ten.
"Now, we start climbing the ladder and have an opportunity to go play at Illinois next week and to further that," he said. "3-0 in the Big Ten and that's our main focus, to get to that championship game."
MSU has a 2-4 record in bowl games under Dantonio.