Being a Michigan State fan, I like to think I’m a fairly level-headed fan who doesn’t wear the “green” colored glasses.
Facing Notre Dame will be the first real challenge of the season for Michigan State. This is especially true when we are playing them in South Bend – home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. To some Spartan fans, South Bend is Spartan Stadium South, since we have won 6 of the last 7 in South Bend. Not to discount the two prior wins, however, FAU and Youngstown State aren’t exactly on the same level as Michigan State and Notre Dame. Both of those teams don’t have the athletes and talent to compete with the likes of Michigan State…. At least not yet they do. When we faced both FAU and Youngstown State, we were able to dominate athletically against YSU and physically dominate over FAU. Against Notre Dame, we’re going to have to do both.
I think our offensive line is going to be tested this weekend. After watching Notre Dame (whom I’ve never seen so hard to try to give the game away) play against Michigan, I think it’s fairly safe to say they have a talented defensive squad. They were able to contain Denard Robinson for most of the game, cause 3 interceptions, and hold him to an 11/24 performance completion rate. Minus the meltdown at the end with Notre Dame’s coverage against Michigan’s horrible, horrible, passing offense, they had a pretty good game plan against Michigan.
With our offensive line being shuffled around due to our senior starters graduating, I’m hoping after a few rough 3 and outs, our offensive line gets settled down and is able to protect and open up lanes for both Kirk and our running backs. Right now, I’d probably give a slight edge to Notre Dame’s defense. At the same time, if all it takes to beat Notre Dame is to throw a toss up ball to BJ Cunningham to win… well… that’s essentially how Michigan was able to beat Notre Dame.
On the defensive side, because Notre Dame is starting Rees, a freshman QB, who managed to cough up a crucial fumble, and throw a few timely picks, will be confused by our defense. Due to our vanilla play calling, we shouldn’t have too much film for them to study besides the defensive film from the 2010 football season. Even then, I think the defense was somewhat tailored around Greg Jones. If Worthy and company are able to dominate the trenches and rough up Rees, this will hopefully take pressure off of our secondary which – in effect – takes Michael Floyd out of the game. I’d give our defense a slight edge over Notre Dame.
Special teams: I’d say we have a slight edge as well. Keshawn Martin and Nick Hill are play makers. Expect them to cause some head explosions for Brian Kelly.
Emotionally, I’m going to say it’s a tie. Notre Dame has lost 2 close games in a row and do not want to lose a third. Michigan State, on the other hand, is looking to prove that they shouldn’t be the underdog. All across the nation, a majority of the media believe that the Fighting Irish will finally get their win. I’m guessing the media didn’t really watch the Notre Dame/Michigan game very closely.
If the past history is any indicator, I’m thinking that this game is going to be a fairly close. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have started 0-2 for the season and are hungry for a win. I’m sure they will also be attempting to avenge a heart breaking loss last year against the fake field goal, “Little Giants”. I can’t really see either team dominating one another at this time. I think it’s going to be a defensive battle, who can make plays, and who makes the least mistakes.
I’m going to say for this game Michigan State sneaks out a win against the Irish. 34-24. I think Kirk Cousins, BJ Cunningham, and our running backs have the experience to get us the win. If we dominate them too, even better.
Here’s hoping our Spartans are well prepared and have come to play hard to get us another win! Go Green!