On Saturday night (8pm) #20 Notre Dame comes into Spartan Stadium to battle with #10 Michigan State. With a win, the Irish will regain national relevance. A win for MSU would have them climbing higher up the rankings keeping their BCS hopes alive. Huge game.
Notre Dame is going to have to find a way to score against a really good MSU defense.
Sophomore QB Everett Golson looked shaky against Purdue last week, fumbling the ball with a tie score late in the game. This will be his first true road test. If he can’t handle the pressure, head coach Brian Kelly will not be afraid to replace him with Tommy Rees. Rees came into the game last week to lead the Irish on the game-winning drive against Purdue.
Notre Dame’s ground attack gets a boost with RB Cierre Wood coming back after a 2 game suspension. He did have two touchdowns against MSU last year. Can he help take the pressure off of Golson? The Spartans have only allowed 109 rushing yards in their first two games. Dang.
How well Notre Dame’s offensive line plays is crucial if they want to have a chance of winning this game.
The Irish had difficulty against the passing game of Navy in week 1. This definitely benefits the inexperienced passing game of MSU led by Andrew Maxwell. Yes, Maxwell did look a lot better against Central Michigan last week, but it was Central Michigan.
If the Irish are able to keep Le’Veon Bell in check, Maxwell is going to have to step up and complete some big passes to keep the chains moving. Again, which young receiver is going to make plays? I would keep looking Deon Sims way.
The Irish held the Spartans to 29 rushing yards in last year’s game. That can not and will not happen this year. It will be tough, but I think Bell will be able to chew up yards against Notre Dames defense which is led by one of the best linebackers in the nation, Manti Te’o. Maybe not huge numbers, but enough to create scoring opportunities and eat up the clock.
Obviously this game is very important to both teams postseason aspirations. But this is also a revenge game for MSU. They got beat good last year in South Bend, 31-13, one of their only three losses [editor’s note: counting the B1G Championship Game as a loss is bull shit…congrats on winning your division, now if you don’t win this game it hurts you but helps teams that didn’t do as well!]. And they really want to make a statement on national television about where this program is headed.
Notre Dame wants to show that they are back, but they are not going to do it against MSU. The Irish haven’t started 3-0 since 2002 and they’ve lost five straight road openers. The Spartans defense will be too dominant and they won’t be able to slow down Le’Veon Bell enough.
Final Score: MSU wins 21-10.