Notre Dame Week 3 Recap: On the road vs Michigan State

#20 Notre Dame at #10 Mich State.  ND beats MSU 20-3.

Manti Te'o on one knee at the end of the game

  • The biggest story heading into this game had to be ND linebacker Manti Te’oTe’o was suffering immensely after the loss of two loved ones from back home in Hawaii.  First his grandmother passed away and on Wednesday (less than 24 hours later) Te’o lost his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, after her long fight with leukemia. With heavy heart, he played strong, honoring his grandmother and Lennay, leading the team in tackles and coming up with his second interception of his career (the first was against Navy in week 1).  After the game Te’o got one knee to pray with his teammates beside him showing their support.
  • Notre Dame looked aggressive on defense.  Rather than waiting for the play to come to them, they would push through to wherever it was.  The entire defensive line played extremely well.
  • Rushing Defense was particularly good.  Notre Dame held the #6 rusher in the nation Le’Veon Bell to just 77 yards on 19 carries.  And the rest of the team didn’t actually carry the ball.  MSU QB AJ Maxwell had -28 yards (as a result of sacks) and otherwise the team had a total of 1 rush for 1 yard.  The result was a total of 50 yards on the ground for Michigan State.
  • Everett Golson showed that he is certainly talented, especially with his ability to avoid sacks.  There was one play he made while diving in the air in the midst of being tackled and yet he still found an open receiver.  But he completed only 44% of his passes (14-32, 178 yards, TD).
  • Cierre Wood was back in the line-up after being suspended for the first two games of the season. He led the team in rushing with 56 yards on 10 carries.  The carries were split up amongst the running backs with George Atkinson III and Theo Riddick contributing as well.
  • Statistically the teams looked very similar. But the difference was that the Notre Dame offensive line didn’t allow a single sack on their QB, while MSU’s AJ Maxwell was taken down 4 times for a loss of 30 yards.   Coming into the game, Michigan State had been ranked #1 in the nation in sacks allowed (had previously allowed none).
  • Passing defense still a concern for the Irish.  Considering that ND’s strength this year seems to be it’s rushing defense and it’s weakness seems to be its passing defense, while Michigan State was a strong win, how are they going to beat Michigan next week?
  • Tweets from Saturday night:

Brian Kelly ‏@CoachBrianKelly Great win tonight. Extremely proud of our guys. #WeAreND

Brian Hardin ‏@NDHardin The #NotreDame defense has allowed a combined total of 79 rushing yards to Michigan State over the last two years.

Brian Hamilton ‏@ChiTribHamilton#NotreDame LB Manti Te’o on possible return to Hawaii: “I’m going to be here. Because I know at the end of the day they’re still watching.”

For the Michigan State perspective, go to the Michigan State College Football Girl page.