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Michigan State

Dantonio Says Spartans Have Closed Gap With Elite

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EAST LANSING, MI - JANUARY 07: Travis Jackson of the Michigan State football team leads the fans in a cheer with his teammates after winning the Rose Bowl during halftime of a basketball game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans at the Jack T. Breslin Student Events Center on January 7, 2014 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

EAST LANSING, MI – JANUARY 07: Travis Jackson of the Michigan State football team leads the fans in a cheer with his teammates after winning the Rose Bowl during halftime of a basketball game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans at the Jack T. Breslin Student Events Center on January 7, 2014 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio says the program has closed the gap with college football’s elite.

The Spartans beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl last Wednesday for a school-record 13th win in their first trip to Pasadena, Calif., since 1988.

Michigan State finished No. 3 in the final Associated Press poll for its highest ranking since being No. 2 in 1966.

Dantonio and members of his team were honored with a standing ovation and roaring crowd Tuesday night as the fifth-ranked Spartans basketball team hosted No. 3 Ohio State.

Dantonio told the fans: “We haven’t been in this situation since ’66. We will be back.”

Spartans offensive lineman Travis Jackson led the fans in what was a postgame ritual, asking them all to squat and to scream “YES!” as they stood up.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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