Notre Dame vs. Michigan State Preview

Bennett Jackson - Notre Dame CB
Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Bennett Jackson (2) runs for a touchdown after intercepting a pass intended for Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver Shane Mikeskey (87) in the fourth quarter at Ross-Ade Stadium. Notre Dame won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame returns home this week to host the Spartans of Michigan State. Here is a full preview of how the two squads stack up courtesy of Sonic Zack from the UHND forum.

Notre Dame Quarterbacks

The Irish come in with the 16th ranked pass offense that averages 326 yards a game and starting quarterback Tommy Rees is 7th in the nation in terms of total passing yards. Rees has thrown for 969 yards and has a 60.7 completion percentage and has completed 65 out of 107 passes with 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Backup quarterback Andrew Hendrix has appeared in all 3 games so far this season but has only completed 1 of 5 passes for 9 yards this season.

Notre Dame QB’s vs. Michigan St. Pass Defense:

The Spartans have the 5th best pass defense in college football and have done an amazing job against opposing quarterbacks by only allowing 34.7 percent of passes to be completed and have intercepted 4 passes this season. They allow only 126.7 yards a game and they have intercepted 4 passes this season. Tommy Rees bounced back from throwing 2 interceptions against Michigan to throwing zero interceptions against Purdue. Rees needs to be accurate and to not force the ball or get into turnover situations. He has done well this season, but is going to need to be at his best against one of the top pass defenses in the nation.

Edge: Even

Michigan St. QB’s

The Spartans have used multiple quarterbacks this season in Andrew Maxwell, Connor Cook, and Tyler O’Connor. The pass offense overall is only 107th in the nation in passing yards with 160 passing yards per game. Connor Cook will most likely be the quarterback face as he is coming off a win over Youngstown St. where he completed 15 of 22 passes (68 completion percentage) for 202 yards and 4 touchdowns. Overall this season he has completed 27 of 49 passes for a 55.1 completion percentage with 276 yards and 4 touchdowns. In addition, Cook has ran for 70 yards on 15 attempts for a 4.7 yard average and a long of 20 yards. Andrew Maxwell has completed half of passes this season on 15 completions to 30 attempts for 114 yards and zero touchdowns. Tyler O’Connor has thrown for 90 yards on 9 completions to 14 attempts and a 64.3 completion percentage. The Michigan St. quarterbacks have not thrown any interceptions this season but the longest pass by any quarterback has only been for 26 yards (Done by both Cook and Maxwell).

Michigan St. QB’s vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense:

The pass defense for the Irish has been very inconsistent this season. The Irish come in with the 91st ranked pass defense that has allowed opponents to complete 57 percent of their passes for 259.3 yards per game and have allowed 7 passing touchdowns. The Irish have intercepted just 2 passes this season but both went for touchdowns for Notre Dame. While Connor Cook is the likely quarterback that Notre Dame should face, the Irish need to account for the possibility of the Spartans using more than one quarterback in the game. Consistency is extremely important here and Notre Dame needs to prevent the Spartans from completing their passes and prevent long gains. Since Cook is the teams 4th leading rusher, that also must be accounted for as well as preventing plays from being extended is also important. The Spartans may have one of the lowest ranked pass offenses, but they are not to be underestimated at all.

Edge: Even 

Notre Dame RB’s:

Amir Carlisle leads the Irish in terms of rushing yards with 148 yards on 30 carries for a 4.9 yard average. Cam McDaniel is second with 125 rushing yards and 1 touchdown and a 4.3 yard average. George Atkinson III has 98 yards on 18 carries with a 5.4 yard average and 1 touchdown. Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston each have 14 rushing yards for the Irish. Will Mahone has yet to have any rushing yards yet but had missed the first game of the season with injury. The unit overall gives Notre Dame the 92nd ranked rushing offense with 125 rushing yards a game.

Notre Dame RB’s vs. Michigan St. Rush Defense:

Michigan St. is also strong against the run as well as they are the 4th ranked rushing defense that has allowed just 50.3 yards a game and only 1 rushing touchdown and for opposing ball carriers to have just 1.8 rushing yards per attempt. Notre Dame may be talented, but no single running back has emerged to be the main ball carrier. Cam McDaniel closed out the game for the Irish in the win over Purdue and could potentially be the starter for this game, but Notre Dame has a variety of running backs to play and it might be time for Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston to start getting more carries. This might be the best run defense the Irish face this season, but quite a few Notre Dame opponents have high-ranked rush defenses at this time.

Edge: Even

Michigan St. RB’s

Michigan St. comes in with the 44th ranked rush offense that averages 209.6 yards per game and has averaged 4.8 yards per rush and has 5 rushing touchdowns. The top player for the Spartans in the ground game is Jeremy Langford who has 200 rushing yards on 44 carries for a 4.5 yard average and a team-leading 4 rushing touchdowns. Nick Hill has 179 rushing yards on 25 attempts and a 7.2 yard average with 1 rushing touchdown and the longest run on the team at 35 yards. Riley Bullough has 82 rushing yards on 21 attempts and a 3.9 yard average.

Michigan St. RB’s vs. Notre Dame Rush Defense:

Notre Dame has the 26th ranked rushing defense that has allowed 112.6 yards a game, 3.8 yards per rush, and 2 rushing touchdowns. Containing Langford, Hill and Bullough will be important, but Notre Dame shut Purdue down on the ground and allowed only 38 yards on 21 attempts and zero rushing touchdowns. The Irish need to build upon that and contain the Spartans running game.

Edge: Even

Notre Dame WR’s and TE’s

This has been one of the best units on offense for the Irish. DaVaris Daniels has a team-leading 299 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns on 17 receptions and a 17.6 yards per catch average. TJ Jones has been the leader in receptions and makes many key plays with 19 receptions for 289 yards, a 15.2 yard average and 1 touchdown. Tight end Troy Niklas has done well with the loss Tyler Eifert and has 8 catches for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns and a team-leading 18.9 yard average per reception. Chris Brown has 7 catches for 125 yards and a 17.9 yard average. All four of the top receivers for the Irish have caught a pass of 40 or more yards this season with the long being 82 yards by Daniels. CJ Prosise has made 2 catches for 28 yards and Corey Robinson has 1 catch for 12 yards. Quite a few players have seen playing time at the receiver position. DaVaris Daniels and TJ Jones are 16th and 21st in the nation in terms of total receiving yards his season.

Notre Dame WR’s vs. Michigan St. DB’s:

Michigan St. had an experienced unit coming into the season despite the loss of Johnny Adams (1st team Big 10 last season). The best player in the secondary is senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard who was also 1st team Big 10 last season. Dennard will most likely be matched up against DaVaris Daniels who made quite a few plays for the Irish and has the lead on receiving yards and touchdowns for the Irish this season. Dennard has done a great job in defending the pass with 5 pass breakups and has been able to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks with 2 quarterback hurries even. Even though Michigan St. has a talented secondary they have a significant amount to account for in the passing game with Daniels, Jones, Brown and Niklas all capable of making big plays for the Irish.

Edge: Notre Dame

Michigan St. WR’s and TE’s:

Macgarrett Kings has been the top player in terms of receiving yards and is tied for first in receptions and receiving touchdowns. He has 8 catches for 99 yards and 1 touchdown with a 12.4 yard average. Aaron Burbridge has 8 receptions as well with 80 yards and a 10 yard average per reception. Bennie Fowler has 5 catches for 73 yards and 1 touchdown along with a 14.6 (team-high) average and Tony Lippett has 4 catches for 41 yards and a 10.2 yard average. Keith Mumphery has 6 receptions for 47 yards and tight end Josiah Price has 3 catches for 28 yards.

Michigan St. WR’s vs. Notre Dame DB’s:

The main targets for the Spartans are Macgarrett Kings and Aaron Burbridge who have 16 of the teams 51 receptions. However the ball has been spread around extremely well with a combined total of 15 different players having at least one reception and 4 players that have a touchdown reception which also ties all 4 players for the lead in touchdown receptions. Notre Dame won’t be able to focus on one specific player as the ball has been spread around well. Consistency is extremely important here and the Irish need to improve on that if they want to shut down the passing game.

Edge: Even 

Notre Dame OL:

The offensive line has been doing a decent job in the pass protection area as they have allowed just 3 sacks, which is tied for 23rd in the nation in sacks allowed. The opponents they have played are tied for 28th in the nation for sacks (Purdue) and two are tied for 51st (Michigan and Temple) However, they have also allowed 15 tackles for loss and the running game is averaging 4.1 yards per rush and 125 yards per game.

Notre Dame OL vs. Michigan St. DL:

Michigan St. has been great in the sack department with a tie for 10th in the nation in sacks with 9 sacks and getting into opposing backfields has been easy with 18 tackles for loss this season. The defensive line has 7 of the Spartans 9 sacks this season as well. Keeping Tommy Rees protected is important as the Irish will need to be able to get passes off quick as the quarterback pressure is also a strong point for Michigan St. with 27 total quarterback hurries. The battle in the trenches is once again one of the most important battles Notre Dame must win.

Edge: Even 

Michigan St. OL:

Run blocking has been solid for the Spartans who average 209.7 yards a game on the ground and 4.9 yards per rush. They have done a great job in containing opposing defenders as they have allowed just 2 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. They have also allowed only 9 quarterback hurries as well.

Michigan St. OL vs. Notre Dame DL: The Irish haven’t done as well at getting to the quarterback with only 3 sacks, but have 12 quarterback hurries. Part of this could be attributed to facing quarterbacks who are capable of extending plays on the ground and make it easier to avoid sacks. Notre Dame does have 14 tackles for loss. The Irish have done well in run defense, but this is going to be an even matchup considering the Irish have a strong defensive front led by Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III.

Edge: Even 

Notre Dame DL:

Louis Nix III leads all defensive lineman in tackles with 8 and 1 tackle for loss. Sheldon Day has 7 tackles and 1 tackle for loss and Stephon Tuitt has 4 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 sack, 2 quarterback hurries, and an interception touchdown. Issac Rochell has 3 tackles as well and has appeared in all three games this season. The unit has had solid losses due to injury in the offseason as well. Sheldon Day had been injured vs. Purdue and is coming along, but should play against the Spartans. Considering injuries, the Irish can’t afford to lose anyone.

Notre Dame DL vs. Michigan OL:

The Spartans have done well in the blocking and protection departments. This is one of the most interesting matchups between the two lines. Louis Nix III will most likely be double teamed when playing. The Irish need to able to stuff the run and pressure the quarterback to win this matchup.

Edge: Even

Michigan St. DL:

The Spartans may have lost William Gholston and Anthony Rashad White, but the defensive front remains strong once again. Tyler Hoover has 9 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble and 1 quarterback hurry. Marcus Rush has 7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 1 forced fumble, and 1 quarterback hurry. Shilique Calhoun has been the best lineman for Michigan St. this season so far with 5 tackles (all solo tackles), 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception return (that went for a 56 yard touchdown), 8 quarterback hurries, and 3 fumble recoveries (2 of which have gone for touchdowns). Calhoun is the 2nd leading scorer for Michigan St. and is a major impact player on defense to keep an eye on. Micajah Reynolds has 10 tackles and 3 quarterback hurries.

Michigan St. DL vs. Notre Dame OL: The defensive line that Notre Dame will be facing is possibly one of the best the Irish face all season. Shilique Calhoun has been absolutely dominant for the Spartans with 3 defensive touchdowns on returns. Tyler Hoover and Marcus Rush will also pose problems. Blocking is going to be important in preventing turnovers and keeping Rees protected. As it has been all season, the battles in the trenches are most important for either team.

Edge: Even 

Notre Dame LB’s:

Three inside linebackers make up the top 3 tacklers for the Irish defense in Dan Fox, Jarrett Grace, and Carlo Calabrese. Fox leads with 24 tackles and 2 tackles for loss, while Grace has 20 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and a pass breakup. Carlo Calabrese has 18 tackles and a team-leading 3 tackles for loss and 1 fumble recovery. Prince Shembo has 10 tackles and 6 quarterback hurries (leads team) and Jaylon Smith has 7 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup. Ishaq Williams has 6 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 sack.

Notre Dame LB’s vs. Michigan St.: The Irish have seen quite a bit of impressive play out of Jarrett Grace and Jaylon Smith. Grace has been better suited for pass coverage and could wind up starting over Dan Fox or Carlo Calabrese by seasons end if he continues to play as well as he has this season. Jaylon Smith is continuing to improve week after week and looks to be another 4 year starter after the graduation of Manti Te’o. The Irish will need to contain the run-first Michigan St. as the running game has been a stronger area on offense.

Edge: Even 

Michigan St. LB’s:

Denicos Allen is tied for 1st on the team with 3 tackles for loss and has 15 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 pass breakup, and 3 quarterback hurries. Max Bullough also has 15 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup, and 3 quarterback hurries as well. Taiwan Jones has 9 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 quarterback hurry. Jarius Jones has 11 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 interceptions.

Michigan St. LB’s vs. Notre Dame:

The starting unit features all upperclassmen in seniors Max Bullough and Denicos Allen, along with a junior in Taiwan Jones. They give the Spartans one of the top linebacker units in the country that that had returned the 1st and 3rd tacklers overall from a season ago. Notre Dame has some talent they will have to account for, as Troy Niklas will be a matchup nightmare with his size and strength. The front seven of Michigan St. might be one of the best in the country with the experience and the play making ability.

Edge: Even 

Notre Dame DB’s:

The secondary has been a step down from the unit a year ago that rarely allowed opponents to pass for 200 or more yards, but has been made a couple of plays in recent times that had impact. Bennett Jackson has 17 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception (that went for a touchdown), and 1 quarterback hurry. Matthias Farley has 13 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 pass breakups. KeVarae Russell has 8 tackles and a pass breakup and Austin Collinsworth has 3 tackles and 2 quarterback hurries. Cole Luke has seen extensive amounts of playing time as a true freshman with appearances in all 3 games this season along with 3 tackles and 1 pass breakup.

Notre Dame DB’s vs. Michigan St. WR’s:

The Spartans certainly have options at receiver, but not a single player is dominant at this position as the total numbers per player might look like what one gets in a single game compared to three games into the season. Either way, the Irish secondary will need to be at their best in coverage and prevent any deep passes and short gains turning into long ones. No matter what stats a player has so far on the stat sheet, all must be accounted for.

Edge: Even 

Michigan St. DB’s:

Kurtis Drummond leads the Spartans in tackles with 17, has 1 interception (went for a touchdown), and has 2 passes broken up. Isaiah Lewis has 11 tackles, 1 pass breakup, and 1 quarterback hurry while RJ Williamson has 11 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup. Darqueeze Dennard has 9 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 5 passes broken up, and 2 quarterback hurries. Trae Waynes has 5 tackles and 2 pass breakups.

Michigan St. DB’s vs. Notre Dame WR’s:

The Michigan St. defensive backs may have experience on their side, but they face the best receiving unit so far this season in Notre Dame’s unit that has a trio of receivers who can all catch long passes and turn short passes into long gains. Trying to account for DaVaris Daniels, TJ Jones, and Chris Brown will also be a challenge. Tight End Troy Niklas will also be a factor as he can catch the ball too, but might get used for blocking with how great the Spartans pass rush is.

Edge: Notre Dame

Notre Dame Kicking Game:

After missing his only attempt of the Temple game, Kyle Brindza has hit 4 field goals in a row and has shown steady improvement with a long of 44 yards. He also handles punting duties with a 39.5 yard average with a long of 47 yards, 2 touchbacks, 3 fair caught, and 2 inside the 20. Alex Wulfeck has 1 punt for 38 yards that was also fair caught and inside the 20. Kyle Brindza is at his best generally in kickoffs with a 64.2 yard average on 18 kickoffs, and has 10 touchbacks as well.

Michigan St. Kicking Game:

Kevin Muma has made 4 of 5 field goals with the miss being for 25 yards and has a long of 30 yards. Mike Sadler handles punting duties with a 41.2 yard average, a long of 54 yards, 2 touchbacks, 4 fair caught and 11 inside the 20. Kevin Muma has a 63.2 yard average on 18 kickoffs with 10 touchbacks. Kevin Cronin has 2 kickoffs for 125 yards for a 62.5 yard average and 1 touchback.

Stronger Unit: Even

Notre Dame Return Game:

While not to the level of his freshman year, George Atkinson III has done well with 8 returns for 235 yards, a 29.4 yard average, and a long of 50. TJ Jones has returned 4 punts for 41 yards with a 10.2 yard average and a long of 18.

Michigan St. Return Game:

Nick Hill has returned 4 kickoffs for 87 yards for a 21.8 yard average and a long of 27 yards. Andre Sims has returned 14 punts for 121 yards, an 8.6 yard average, and a long of 33.

Stronger Unit: Even

Everything Else:

The Irish return home after a road win over Purdue and a loss at Michigan. Michigan St. has one of the best defenses in college football. However, the level of competition is quite suspect as they have played a Division 1-AA team, South Florida who might be the worst BCS-Conference in the nation (0-3 with a blowout loss to a Division 1-AA team and a non-BCS Conference team), and a winless non-BCS team in Western Michigan. Michigan St. has had issues with quarterback, but it looks like it is Connor Cook that will start. Notre Dame will need to pass the ball and run the ball on the highly ranked Spartans defense.

The defense accounted for 4 of the 6 touchdowns in Michigan St.’s first two games against Western Michigan and South Florida. This will be the first road game of the season for Michigan St. who opened with 3 straight home games this season. The offensive line will need to protect Tommy Rees and the running game from the strong pass rush and front seven of Michigan St. Notre Dame’s defense will need to improve and be consistent as well. The battles in the trenches are going to be important as well. The Irish receiving unit does give them a big edge in the passing game and limiting turnovers along with field position will be big as well.
Prediction: Notre Dame 24, Michigan St. 13

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  1. 15-2 in the last 17 games…

    But forget about the stats, winning is all that matters… win and all is forgiven…. or so I was told.

  2. 5 Posts of the week:

    Rees sucks and is a wuss.

    I didn’t know we had a bunch of girls playing! PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What a cluster F _ _ K this team is.

    Absolutely Horrible! I cant think of anything positive to take away from this game other than the two punts at the end of the game and even those were a fluke for our punter

    Gutless playcalling.

    1. Ron,
      I disagree with you saying those are the five most posts. I agree people on this site are not happy with the play of this team, but no one has called Reese a wuss or questioned his man hood. We may have questioned his athletic ability but not his heart. Most people on this site have valid points and back it up with facts. I may disagree at times but I don’t see what hour seeing.

      1. Burgundy are you just here to pick a fight or something? You’re just starving for attention aren’t you?

        Who cares about posts of the week. You can’t convey your thoughts on Irish football good or bad? Feel sorry for you man!

      2. Good to hear from Ron, thanks for asking. I care about the posts of the week.

        Since you asked, here are my thoughts:
        Great to be 3-1. Pretty rough game to watch and that was the definition of winning ugly. Would have been tough to be a MSU fan and deal with those PI penalties. I’m sure there are some holes in TV’s throughout East Lansing.

        Big ups to the punter for coming up clutch in Q4. Good to see the D play better but that was one anemic offense they were playing.

        Not one of TR’s better outings for sure and he will need to play better in the coming weeks.

        I thought BK managed the game well enough based on how it played out. I agreed with just trying run at the end. It seemed obvious that MSU was going to have difficulty scoring a TD. A pick there would have been suicide so I agree with the conservative approach.

        Not sure what to make of ND other than games will be tight in the 4th quarter. Hopefully they can look better over the tough stretch upcoming.

        Btw, I never thanked you for calling me a douche.

        You stay classy.

  3. Now, now, little boys don’t forget professor doomko’s infamous words on BK! “His enemies are my enemies!” Please, make sure we all get out our slide-rulers’ and verify the(crap)numbers! Don’t be victimized next week by professor doomko’s regular ‘Kangaroo Court!’ Show the professor what numerical stimulation is all about! Thank you!

  4. Kelly has no intention to play Zaire this season so we struggle the rest of the season with Rees. I think Rees turns Kelly on so he keeps playing him. Kelly always has hard nipples when playing Rees. Well folks I hope you enjoyed last season as I did cause you won’t see that again for decades. Hope Zaire transfers as well. Nipple boy deserves it…..

  5. It looks like we are all on the same side – there is just a lot missing – TR is a backup and average QB that can’t run- right if he could hit downfield this game would not have been close – no faith in going over the middle – not one route their except to the TE – and only a couple of those
    How much of a difference would Golson make – we will never know – what about the other options – OK, Stanford and maybe ASU will be really tough – count them now as losses – maybe not ASU, USC will be tough – It does not look like Kelly is bringing everyone together – leadership on the field needed – just not their – The D really spotty – The offense lacking TR not the playmaker – but not sure where else to go – is Malik that green that he can’t be used or still a health issue – we went with a true freshman last and that worked out as best it could – Tommy will not be able to deal with good teams – this is a real work in progress still – they should be further ahead than they are – not sure coaching is that much of a problem – BK may need to look at his staff
    This week’s game may tell a lot – not counting on a win – but hope it isn’t a blowout or total domination by the Sooners – still on a wait and see mode – Tommy gives as good as he’s got – not really enough – both lines have to really improve – that is where games are won – I see that as a real weakness now the interior lines – that play must improve on both sides – again wait and see

  6. I have watched this team for many years now and I am really at a loss now. Kelly clearly has no faith in Rees. He wouldn’t even let him throw the ball in the 4th quarter. Why have him in there then?

    Rees, a 4 year player, is still making the same mistakes he made 3 years ago. How many times can he overthrow a receiver in the endzone? One of the passes was in the first row of the stands and the WR was wide open.

    Is Zaire not an option? Do we have to get throttled by Oklahoma to see a change?

  7. BK’s flirtation with the NFL may have had more of a negative effect on the players respect & credibility toward BK than I realized. It may be manifesting in current performance. I agree with Jack, the fair hair wonder boy is performing right about how I thought he would, just like the previous 3 years. He’s a backup but we are stuck with him. This offense could have been so much more had Golson not screwed up off the field. SFR is right also, I am tired of hearing wait (until whenever) for greatness. It’s year 4 in the BK era, is this what we truly expected at this juncture if we asked ourselves this in 2010 where would be in team development. I thought we would be having a high octane offense with a decent defense. I know BK has a track record of winning and we did make a NC game that most here would not have predicted at the start of last year. I just honestly feel we have not developed to where I think we should be. I don’t think we are going to dominate anyone this year. OK, ASU, Stan, BYU, and even USC stand a good chance to go well against this team. Not trying to be a complaining pessimist but man, it’s real painful watching this team.

    Frustrated Irish Fan

  8. Jack,

    The point is that this team should be at the point that it can blow out inferior teams and not get blown out by anybody. So if you’re right then that’s a terrible indictment of where this team is in year 4 of BK’s tenure. There’s no way this team should be this bad even if it was over-rated. Too much talent to look like this. Very sad state of affairs. I just hope we win 9 games and don’t get humiliated in any game. At this point it’s about getting and keeping recruits.

    1. Keeping recruits will be difficult to do if this keeps up. We have already been hurt by recruits leaving even when were playing well. remember these guys Darby, Sheppard, Greenberry, Lynch, Anzalone, Mattingly, Kiel, Vanderdoes, Neal, Hood. Who will be next to add to this list.

      1. That thought crossed my mind too, Jeff. It’s a bigger number of folks leaving than I would have liked to have seen. Are we developing the talent we have now? Underperformance is not helping most likely with recruits wanting to come.

    2. No Steelfan you missed my point. My point is put another QB in there and you get a different offense. A QB that can move gets first downs and moves the ball in key situations. The QB doesn’t have to be a great runner but a threat to run. Reese isn’t even a threat to get you a yard which limits you as a play caller. The defense is adjusting each week. I don’t think Tuitt is back from his injury and Disco is trying to add to the defense and they didn’t adapt right away. I don’t see that much difference talent wise between last years team and this years. On defense Teo is missed for leadership and play calling and on offense Golson’s ability to extend plays. As far as losing recruits you guys don’t talk about the ones ND gained. TJ Jones, Bryant, Folsom, Redfield. You lose an gain recruits thats college football. Stop being so doom and gloom, they didn’t have a great off season and will need to step up in the next four games or they could easily lose four games.

  9. Gentleman,

    Seriously they are not NC caliber and never were this season. Teams are being smart and making TR beat ND. The defense is missing the leadership and the offense is missing a QB that can run, but there is talent on this team. The one thing I can give BK credit is he is playing freshman and getting experience. Your team goes as the QB goes and NDhas an average QB. Defenses don’t respect the QB run and Tommy got it in his head this game he could throw the bomb. Teams are stacking 8 in the box and saying we’ll lose if Tommy can beat us. It is going to be a long and nail biting year. They are never going to blow a team out and they are only going to get blown out twice ASU and Stanford. Pretty much every other game is a toss up and no BCS game. That is what this team is and I don’t know if Sabah could change that. Too much bullshit in the off season. It will be interesting to see how this season plays out.

  10. To say I knew TR was no superstar would be the understatement of the century, but I did think that he at least had SOME accuracy when given the time to throw. Apparently I was sadly mistaken as he couldn’t connect on one single deep ball all day today. That was the difference on offense. And I’ve never seen so many long bomb attempts in my life. What was up with that? No short crossing routes, and those lateral screen passes seemed to develop SLOWLY. Also I can’t believe Kelly put the game in the hands of the weak ND defense at the end either. Doing that was more of an indictment of MSU’s offense than anything else I believe

  11. Ron,

    Developing talent is also a matter of coaching. Another area that BK seems to be replicating CW. But the answer is surely to not get the best talent we can get. At least if BK continues to get great classes then perhaps the next coach will finally be the one that can develop it. But right now I just don’t know short of Nick Saban who could turb this fast decaying program around. And I’m sure Saban wouldn’t even want to risk his legacy by trying to win where there so many restrictions on and off the field. Perhaps we just have to realize that unless the NCAA makes everyone play by ND’s rules the Irish will never again be a consistent factor in college football. Sure, they can perhaps string a good season together every 5-10 years, but they won’t ever be dominant again. I sure hope I’m wrong but we’ve been so mediocre for so long only the hopeless optmists among us can see things differently. Let’s all hope the optimists are right.

  12. Bottom line is this team hasn’t improved on O in 4 years. Same Chinese fire drill after 4 seasons and with a veteran QB. BK seems totally lost and unable to pull this unit and team together.

    Some here are going to tell you wait til next week. Of course those same people told us that today was the day ND would dominate. These are the same people who have called for patience for 20 years. It’s always a matter of waiting for excellence. Wait til next wee. Wait til next season. Wait til next decade. Just be patient and wait.

    Enough waiting. BK has the rest of this season and next to prove he’s the man. After that he’s on the hot seat with me.

    I can’t stress enough how important it is for us to win to get a top 10 recruiting haul. This team needs a lot more talent at all positions, but esp. LB and CB. Michigan is kicking our ass on the recruiting trail. They’re already way ahead of us for the 2015 class. Michigan is a good benchmark for us and right now we’re losing to them on the field and in recruitment.

    Let’s all pray that somehow BK finds a way to get this team inspired.

    1. As usual SFR you’re always spot-on right, but it seems we always get at least a very good or excellent recruiting haul and what have we done with it? Our offense sucks our defense is average our special teams are horrible and our coaching is un-inspiring. I’m really depressed like all of us.

  13. They won but they stink on all fronts. It’s desperation football right from the kickoff. No improvement from week one. They may get hammered next week(s)!

  14. Unfortunately I had a family engagement and missed the game. I’m glad I did or I would have gotten thrown out of the family reunion for my wife’s family.

  15. A win is a win but damn they just looked so uninspiring. I am catching myself getting annoyed with Golson not running the offense but I have to get over it. Defense still looking like its underachieving. Painful to watch this team.

  16. It’s a W but man was it boring & uninspired. I can’t seem to find one guy ago is the fire of this team. This defense has some high end talent on it. Who’s the guy that stands out? Nix played well… Where on earth is Tuitt? Shembo? Who is gonna step up….take the lead on the field?

    I can’t even begin to describe the offense. There’s no and I mean NO physicality to this offense line or running game what so ever. MSU’s defensive line made this offensve line look very soft. Very soft. I sure hope STATE goes on to win a lot of ball games this year and shows that they are rough and tough front seven.

    It’s still victory number 10 straight at home for Kelly. And I’m thank full for 3-1 but my o my this team is playing uninspired!

  17. BTW: That dropped MSU screen pass looks like it would’ve gone for a TD on 3rd down. can’t get off the field on 3rd down all season long.

  18. What has happened to the O lne? It’s pathetic. It reminds me of the Steelers O line. No push at all. This O is going backwards. I want to see what MSU does on D the rest of the season. If they’re this good throughout the season then perhaps we can forgive some of this ineptitude on the part of our O. But I think it’s more about ND being just bad on O. Thankfully the refs are giving us all the PI calls. TR is just so average it hurts. He’s so limited as a passer.

    1. We’re seeing from the fair hair wonder boy what we have always seen from him, nothing new or improved. I really think our current O scheme reflects why you have to have the pieces in right positions to make it work. TR is not the right piece for QB. Senseless defensive penalty earlier. LEADERSHIP where oh where can it be found.

    2. Absolutely Horrible! I cant think of anything positive to take away from this game other than the two punts at the end of the game and even those were a fluke for our punter. Ive watched all four games this year and each one has been a little bit more depressing to watch. 30 44 48 49 slowest and most unathletic group of LBs at ND in a while. How in the F@#k did we win that game.

      1. Question: How in the F@#k did we win that game?

        We scored more F@#KING points than we F@#k’n gave up.

      2. Just let that comment sink in for a minute. Can’t stop laughing.

        Really good stuff.

        I’m gonna call that match a draw. Both very witty and compelling statements.

  19. Thankfully MSU, which is running on our D like a hot knife thru butter, decided to throw up an air ball from a RB. We’ll take the gift. MSU could’ve easily run another 5 minutes off the clock and taken the lead.

  20. What a cluster F _ _ K this team is. We burn time Os because we have no idea of what to run. Our punters have to be the worse in the NCAA at any level. Did you just see the 20 yard Brinda punt? Unbelievable. This team has no sense of urgency. Gutless.

  21. This D is too soft. No sacks. Can’t get off the field on 3rd down. Where’s Tuitt? This is sad to watch. It’s like Bama took the D’s balls as it gutted them in the NC game.

  22. Lots of throws down field, lots of incompletions. Nice to get a TD but this team seems so undefined regarding what they’re doing well. BK says we’re swinging but missing at halftime interview. It’s a little more than that with all due respect coach.

  23. Seems like this team has no identity in any of the 3 phases of the game. It can’t run. It can’t pass. It has little D and almost no STs. BK is losing the fans. Let’s hope he can keep this team together. If not we’ll lose a lot this season.

  24. no, Stores, we didn’t even stop the 4th down run. The midget took 2 of our D players for 3 yards. So it’s even sadder than the penalty. Gutless play by the D all around.

  25. Face mask to extend MSU after stopping it short. Just shaking my head. Would like to see GB or TF if we would run a little more. Pitching that ball a lot on the O side of the ball. TD for MSU right now on 3rd down.

  26. What the F did I just see? We hit a RB 2 yards in the backfield and still give up a 1st down! unbelievable! Putrid play. Period.

  27. This O. has been a Chinese fire drill for 4 years. Delays. Burnt TOs. Turn overs. Missed assignments. Poor redzone play. You name it and we’ve seen it from ND’s O over the last 4 years. No improvments in any areas on O. If anything the O-line has regressed. Last year the D bailed this team out. Not this season. At this point I don’t know what to say.

  28. Rees sucks and is a wuss. I hope MSU levels him then maybe Kelly has to play some one else. Keep GA3 on the bench. More handoffs to Cam. He has got guts and heart.

  29. Urban Myer is a prick!!! I hope Wisconsin destroys him next week. Up by 35 in first half and still throwing it, jagoff!

  30. Is it just me or do 90% of the top 25 teams have a BYE this week. Seems like there are 20 top 25 teams favored by 40 or more points. Must be cupcake weekend. Disgusting

      1. Hahaha, good one storespook! I wonder if Jack will buy the beer today without a bet??

        OK Jack, I know your reading this good stuff. What’s your final adjustment for today’s game?


  31. By the way, Duranko, just to be clear Mr. civility, you’re cute double standard exemplifies the real you not ND. You were the 1st to completely trash Te’o and his mormon religion while he was here. I suggest you remember that stat.

  32. I believe MSU will come to play, we will look flat and uninspired. I question the selected captains are providing the leadership you would expect and that goes to the coaching as well. It’s a game the the Blue & Gold can win, IF people show up to play today.

    Go Irish

  33. Sparties have a pretty stout defense. Should be interesting. Don’t be suprised by a Michigan State win today. ND is just no fun to watch this year. It painful and frustrating.

  34. I think this game comes down to coaching. Let’s see what coach Kelly has!

    How do you rate the coaching staffs, zonic?

    Go IRISH!!!


  35. OK, folks don’t geet your shorts in a bunch. I may predict an MSU victory. ND has beaten MSU with a superior game plan and some good breaks in the last two games. Plus the ND defense was just plain tough the last two times against MSU.
    I hope that happens again and we see a coming out party for both the Irish D and the Irish running game.

    But based on play this year, I see that MSU has given it’s offense a rythm and I have not seen a rythm in the ND offense. Tommy Rees is one dimensional and his footwork is so bad that it affects hand offs in the run game as well as his ability to shuffle, set, pass.

    My main concern is that the Defensive backfield has taken several steps back and seems to not understand the coverage schemes. Either that or the coaches are so conservative and have so little faith in the LBs and DBs that aggressive coverage has been tabled. Without pressure and the ability to weather a few mistakes, your defense becomes vanilla. THe defensive line needs some help to neutralize the double teams. Some pressure needs to be applied.

    I have to predict an MSU victory with either a late field goal or some gadget play catching Kelly and staff by surprise.

    MSU 24 ND 21

    1. Kudos C-Dog,

      After 3 games cold water time! I retract my 11-1 season prediction, the early hype is over for me. It’s going to be a long development plan again.

      After TR, next year we start all over again. I’m definately guilty of wishful thinking for this year. After watching Johnny Heisman take it on the chin reality set in for me. The unvarnished truth can be dismal. The team passion is nowhere in sight!

      1. I totally agree with JC. First, I’m not Mr Burgandy. (He’s a douche)Team passion is MIA. The next 2 games will tell what the Irish really have. We’ll see, but BK really has to put his staff on notice. Lots of talent here but not cutting it so far.

  36. Why not just put up the two that aren’t even? It would have gotten you to the same place. The game might actually be closer then your prediction as the Spartans usually play the Irish very tough. My prediction is 17 – 14, Irish but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Spartans taking a nail-biter
    21 – 20. Go Irish!

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