Michigan State’s 1987 football season started with a win over USC…and ended with a win over USC, capping one of the best campaigns in the school’s history.

The Spartans kicked off the season with a brutal non-conference slate. MSU beat the Trojans at home before dropping consecutive games to ninth-ranked Notre Dame and No. 3 Florida State. The Spartans wouldn’t lose again, winning the Big 10 with a 7-0-1 conference mark. The result was a rematch with USC in the Rose Bowl, which the eighth-ranked Spartans won 20-17.

MSU was led on offense by All-America running Lorenzo White, who rushed for 1,572 yards and 16 touchdowns. Meanwhile, the defense — coordinated by a young Nick Saban — surrendered just 61 points in eight conference games.