Don't miss out on any of our exclusive football, basketball and recruiting coverage.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Michigan State Spartans meet Saturday in college football action at Spartan Stadium on FOX.
What a difference one football season can make. Notre Dame won the first meeting between the two, 34-6.
Beating the Owls 49-16 in Week 1 was just what Notre Dame needed at the time. Instead, they became the fourth Fighting Irish team ever to lose a minimum of eight games with an inexplicable 4-8 outcome. And most recently Michigan State reclaimed the trophy in 2016 taking down the Irish 36-28, in a game where the Irish nearly overcame a huge deficit.
Michigan State is coming off a bye week and some weak competition against Bowling Green and Western Michigan (although the Broncos did give USC a run for their money). The Spartans finished just 3-9 and Notre Dame not much better at 4-8. "That was a huge deal in that game". According to the Goshen News, he had two previous shoulder surgeries while at MI. The Irish continue to stink up the joint in big games and it's getting to the point where people are questioning just how good of a coach Brian Kelly is after all. "Extremely disciplined, hard-nosed, play to the echo of the whistle".
That presents a challenge for MSU's traditionally stingy run defense. "They're very physical in the back end".
The cornerback led a strong defensive effort with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. They've had some outstanding edge players in the past.
He's a Chelsea native and played high school football at St. John's Prep. Detractors will say the BC Eagles are a far cry from the top competitors the Irish still have left on their schedule. "It looks like 11 guys working together play after play". We knew tight ends would gobble up a chunk of the targets in offensive coordinator Chip Long's scheme, but the production on the outside is still not where it needs to be.
When you look at a quarterback, I've said it all along: You've got to be able to create with your mind, with your throwing motion, your mechanics, your release, or with your feet. Michigan State had the same game plan last season. However, despite his blazing speed Canteen has only managed to catch seven passes for 29 yards in his college career. "He's more than just a manager of the offense, he can throw it". I think it's something that you do all the time. This stems from the accuracy troubles of Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who is just 47 of 93 on the year.
After the game early last season both teams went down hill. "We've had some good times, and it's easy to stand up there and sing the fight song and put a hat on. We have to go back to that mindset, understand that things don't come easy". Those numbers are OK, but it's important to remember every team they've played has trotted out a first-year starting quarterback.
"I have a lot of respect for Mark Dantonio and what he's been able to accomplish at Michigan State", Kelly said of this week's adversary.
"It's a raucous atmosphere".
Junior free safety Lukas Denis, who came up with his second interception of the season on Saturday, said the Eagles defense, one that in recent years was among the best in the nation, can perform better. The defense is young, but has played great through the first 3 games.
The Holy War actually looked like a war for a while, with evenly matched teams going to battle, and a victory that would be hard-fought and earned, not lopsided and anticlimactic.
"We've got to sustain things for the first few minutes and just hang in there".