The MSU win coupled with #13 Purdue's 26-23 win over #14 Wisconsin left the Spartans alone atop the Big Ten with a bye week to heal their wounds.
But when the Gophers came storming back MSU found itself up by only seven points. But with just :37 seconds left in the half, running back DeAndra Cobb took the kickoff back 100 yards to give State a 31-17 cushion.
Then instead of kneeling on the ball, Minnesota QB Asad Abdul-Kahliq tried to handoff to Marion Barber III who fumbled.
Three plays later MSU kicked a 50-yard Dave Rayner field goal to give MSU a 34-17 halftime lead. Hard-charging Jason Teague was brought into protect the football late in the fourth quarter, instead he found paydirt, rambling 60-yards for a 44-24 lead.
Even that wasn't safe.
Minnesota scored two late touchdowns to get within 44-38, but wasn't able to come any closer.
The victory puts the Spartans in the driver's seat for the Big Ten championship, the Rose Bowl or a possible BCS bowl game.
"It's amazing what you can accomplish when you believe," said Spartans head coach John L. Smith.
The Spartans now have a bye week to prepare for the invasion of the Michigan Wolverines on Nov 1.