The Spartans overcame a 21-point comeback by the Irish in an exhilarating game that went into overtime tied at 38.
After forcing the Irish to kick a field goal on their opening possession, senior running back Jason Teague took the ball from quarterback Drew Stanton on an option play and ran 19 yards for the game winning touchdown.
"That was Drew Stanton's only toss all day and that was the greatest toss I think I have ever seen him pitch," said Spartans head coach John L. Smith.
The winning option play called by Smith was used earlier in the game, according to Stanton, who had no choice but pitch the ball to Teague because of the Irish defensive pressure.
"This is my biggest win at Michigan State with the magnitude of the rivalry and beating a Top 10 team on the road," said Drew Stanton.
Michigan State's running game was slowed to 161 yards from its previous two games and was contained for most of the day. Their largest run against the Irish was 29 yards, so they ultimately won the game on something they struggled with all day.
"In the end though we ran the ball for the winning touchdown and that is all that matters," said Smith.
"I am extremely proud of the way my team played this afternoon," said Smith. "We responded every time the Irish came back, and we never gave up on ourselves."
Quarterback Drew Stanton threw for 327 yards with 4 touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing). Matt Trannon had a career-day receiving with five catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
As for the Spartan defense, they played well in the first half, but allowed Irish running back Darius Walker to rush at will in the second half and they eventually tied the game late in the fourth quarter.
"Going into overtime they had the momentum, but our defense stepped up and held them to only a field goal," said Smith.
Looking ahead to the Spartans' game next week at Illinois (2-1), the Spartans have a few things to work on, which include their defense. The Spartans fumbled the ball four times against the Irish, losing two of them.
It was a topic that John L. Smith stressed last week after the Hawaii game and it still remains a concern.
The Spartans head into Champaign with great momentum and confidence, but they must focus on the game at hand because the Notre Dame team they just defeated was coming off a huge win at then #3 Michigan and knows the feeling of a letdown.