September 15, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back George Atkinson III (4) runs the ball as Michigan State Spartan defenders pursue during the first half at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

Notre Dame-Michigan State: The Negatives

Everett Golson’s Accuracy

The performance by Golson on Saturday truly helped win the game. However, his stat line does reflect his inconsistency and inaccuracy at the Quarterback position. Golson went 14 for 32 or 43.8% against the Spartans. This is extremely inaccurate and needs to be improved if the Irish are going to go to the next level. In order to do this, the Redshirt Freshmen Quarterback needs to do two simple things. First, he needs to go through his progressions better. In games against Purdue and Michigan State, Golson has been nearly intercepted while staring down the Wide Receiver. Golson needs to look to his second, third or even fourth receiver. This is to be expected from a  young Quarterback. Second, Golson needs to learn to move within the pocket better. As fans have seen, he can make plays outside the pocket. That was seen against the Spartans when Golson scrambled right and threw back deep to John Goodman. These plays are effective, however, they only work every once in a while. Golson needs to work within the framework of each play to be more effective on a greater number of plays. The team will be more efficient if he does that and ultimately put more points on the board.

Running Backs Fail to Dominate

Despite some solid performances by Cierre Wood and George Atkinson, the Running Backs have failed in the last two games to have dominate performance that go beyond 100 yards. Against the Spartans on Saturday night, Cierre Wood rushed for 56 yards. Atkinson gained 43 yards. Riddick had 12 carries for 30 yards or a 2.5 yard average. Combined the Running Backs had 27 carries for 129 yards or 4.7 yards average. This a decent average. However, one Running Back needs to step up and the Irish need to rush for more than 150 yards per game to be a dominant team. The addition of Cierre Wood might do this. Wood only had 10 carries on Saturday but they were important carries. Irish fans should expect his carries to go up here soon. Wood not only looked quick but strong. This was seen on the play where he absolutely manhandled Spartan Cornerback Johnny Adams.

Injury to Jamoris Slaughter

The Notre Dame Secondary suffered a serious loss on Saturday when Jamoris Slaughter went down with a season ending Achilles injury. It is unfortunate for a fifth year player who has worked so hard like Slaughter. Now, the Irish must scramble to replace him. Matthias Farley most likely will now make the start at that position. Farley has play a lot so far and has played well, most notably against Navy. His physical ability should not be doubted. Can his mind match up with his physical attributes? Other possibilities at this position would be Danny McCarthy or Elijah Shumate, who could move back from Cornerback. Shumate has already made several plays at the Nickelback spot.

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