MSU Recap Week 3: Deflated by the Irish at home

#20 Notre Dame at #10 Michigan State.  ND wins 20-3.

Notre Dame came into the game underdogs but quickly took all the wind out of the sails of the MSU Spartans and the sold out Spartan Stadium with two unanswered touchdowns. And the Irish were able to hold off any complacency and continued to have good game management to not let the Spartans crawl back into the football game.

The atmosphere of this night game with Notre Dame and Michigan State seemed electric at the beginning, but quickly turned with the lackluster performance of the Michigan State offense and the solid play of the Notre Dame defense.  ND was able to force MSU into a pass-only offense. By shutting down the run, ND defense could focus on the receivers.  The guesswork was taken out of the game.

At the beginning of the 4th quarter, as fans began leaving in droves, there was still hope that  MSU could come back.  Down only 14-3, with a full quarter left to play, certainly a comeback was  possible!  They just needed 2 touchdowns to win the game.  It wasn’t out of reach yet.  But the defense started to let up, and as a result, the offense didn’t get a chance to take the field until there was 6:35 left in the game.  Whether they were mentally exhausted from trying to figure out how to stop ND or physically exhausted because the offense seemed to be stuck in a 1, 2, 3…punt pattern, they couldn’t get it done.  MSU had ND backed up to its own 4 yard line.  Rather than forcing a punt, the defense allowed ND to burn over 6 minutes off the clock and run it all the way down to the Spartan’s 12 yard line.  This set up a ND field goal.  More fans fled the stadium.

People who have been MSU fans their whole lives, couldn’t watch another painful second.  I was able to hang in there until just under 5 minutes left in the game.  I was hoping to see something good!  It was so bad that the fans began celebrating even the shortest pass completion.  Five yard catch, woohoo!!!!!!!!

MSU did have one exciting moment.  In a repeat performance of last week, Le’Veon Bell hurdled an ND defender to pick up some of his 77 yards he gained during the game.  I don’t care which team you were rooting for, that was a cool thing to see!

Le'Veon Bell hurdles Zeke Motta courtesy of Kevin W. Fowler for the Lansing State Journal

As an MSU season ticket holder, I will go to the rest of the home games, but the Spartans better act like Spartans and show the fans they know how to fight!  I think the team and fans were just a little too confident going into the ND game.  As a result, they dropped in the rankings.  The Spartans have moved to  #20 in the USA Today coaches poll and #21 in the Associated Press Top 25.

Other than the sweet hurdle jump, there is one positive to take from Saturday night’s game.  The players aren’t blaming anyone but themselves. Without excuses, the Spartans will be able to work on their short comings and really examine what went wrong.  They didn’t call or email me for advice, but if you are reading this now Dantonio…STOP THE RUN!  ND had 300 yards for the game, but 147 was by ND running circles around the Spartans.