Notre Dame continued its work in progress with a 17-14 victory over the Michigan State Spartans. The Offense performance was less than stellar but the Defense was up to the task as they held the Spartans to 254 yards.
The Irish did not get off to good start for the third week in a row when they stalled on their first Offensive drive and then Kyle Brindza had his punt partially blocked. But the Defensive channeled its inner 2012 and stopped the Spartans in the Red Zone.
Notre Dame took the first lead of the game on a 41 yard Kyle Brindza. However, the Spartans struck back on a 12 yard pass from Connor Cook to MacGarret Kings Jr. The pass from Cook to Kings demonstrated Elijah Shumate’s further inability to match up against Wide Receivers one-on-one. This has been one of the surprising trends in 2013 after Shumate performed well in the Nickel package last year.
However, Notre Dame responded scoring on the final drive to make the score 10-7. Tommy Rees hit TJ Jones on a 2-yard touchdown pass.
Despite carrying the momentum into the second half, the Spartans took the air out of the ball on their first drive. They had an 8:39 drive that ended in a field goal. But again, Notre Dame responded.
The Irish drove down the field and scored on a 7-yard Cam McDaniel run. The Spartans kicked a 42 yard field goal with 10:54 remaining but were unable to crack the Notre Dame Defense after that.
Tommy Rees finished 14-of-32 for 142 yards and a touchdown. This performance was unimpressive but he took care of the football and executed the game plan. It was clear early on that Notre Dame was attempting to go deep to stretch the Spartans Defense. Many of these passes fell incomplete. Overall, the Irish only mustered 220 yards of total Offense but executed in the Red Zone.
The Defense for the second week in a row held a team under 300 yards. The Irish held Spartans to 3.8 yards per carry on 35 attempts.
Good teams take advantage of mistakes and Notre Dame did that on Saturday against the Spartans. Regardless of how you feel about the penalties, Notre Dame continued to do what was going to win the game. The Irish improve to 3-1 with their victory. Next week, they take on an undefeated Oklahoma in South Bend.
Lead Editor, Andrew Hall: Michigan State 17-Notre Dame 21 (2013 Record: 4-0, All Time 15-2)
Staff Writer, Nick Combs: Michigan State 24-Notre Dame 17 (2013 Record: 3-1, All Time 15-2)
Podcast/Contributor, Brett Arney: Michigan State 31-Notre Dame 27 (2013 Record: 4-0, All Time 16-1)
Staff Writer, Tim Colin: Michigan State 17-Notre Dame 14 (2013 Record: 2-2)
EDITOR’S NOTE: I would like to give a personal shout out to Notre Dame’s biggest fan Bonnie Carter.