Notre Dame-Michigan State: The Positives


Manti Te’o Overcoming Adversity

When Manti Te’o announced that he was coming back for his senior year at Notre Dame everyone was ecstatic. Not only because he is a great player, but the fact that the guy that represents what Notre Dame is, returned for one more year. This past week Manti Te’o lost his grandmother and no more than 24 hours later he lost his girlfriend to a battle with leukemia (both lived in Hawaii). No one that watched this game would have noticed what he had lost earlier that week, with a game high 12 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 tackle for loss. Te’o showed the nation as to why he is the best linebacker in the country. It gave a Rudy type feel to the game. You could see in his eyes that he was playing this one for the two women that he had just lost.

The Receivers

Saturday in East Lansing Robby Toma, TJ Jones, and John Goodman all had a coming out party. Toma, who over the years has been a solid player, but he showed that he can be an x factor for this team. He led the team in catches with 5 for 58 yards, while TJ Jones led the team in yards with 59 on 4 catches. John Goodman had 1 catch for 36 yards, but that catch was one handed while being held for the first touchdown of the game. We also saw the speedster Chris Brown for the first time this year for a couple of plays, he burned the secondary on one deep route, but Golson overthrew him.

Defensive Line

All the talk about Notre Dame’s front 7 being very good this year was just confirmed this past weekend, while only giving up 50 yards rushing on 25 carries. Holding the Heisman candidate Bell to only 77 yards on 19 carries is a testament to how good this front 7 is for Notre Dame. Besides Manti Te’o the player of the game would go to the entire defensive line, recording 3.5 sacks and 13 tackles throughout the game. Notre Dame did run some stunts that I haven’t seen much of in the past, but it was the basic 3 to 4 man rush putting pressure on the Quarterback. They can only get better from here and have a big task this week, containing Denard Robinson.

Turnover Margin

Notre Dame had 2 turnovers coming into this game and that’s all they had going out of it. The Notre Dame offense did a great job in securing the ball and playing under control during this game. Michigan State did have one turnover giving Notre Dame a +1 turnover margin for last Saturday’s game.

Kyle Brindza

He sealed his starting spot as Notre Dame’s full time kicker against Michigan State, he was 2 for 2 on field goals (29, 47 yards), and 2 for 2 on extra points. Michigan State only had one kick return and it was for 24 yards. He has a very strong leg and it looks like he is starting to get much more accurate with his kicks.

Welcome Back Cierre Wood

Cierre didn’t have a day that would make you look at the stat sheet over and over, but he had 10 carries for 56 yards. One carry really stuck out in my mind when he cut back across the defense and made a beautiful stiff arm on cornerback Johnny Adams was a show of his strength. Cierre should get the bulk of the carries from here forward. Atkinson and Riddick will still get their fair share of carries, but I would look for them in the slot as well.