TALE OF THE TAPE

College Football Week 3: #20 Notre Dame At #10 Michigan State

#20 Notre Dame
#10 Michigan State
(credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Coaching
With last week’s nail-biter against Purdue, Brian Kelly has Notre Dame 2-0 for the first time since 2008. Is this the year Kelly’s philosophies and the Irish personnel mesh?
Winner Mark Dantonio is 3-2 against Notre Dame as head man at Michigan State, including a memorable victory off a fake field goal. His Spartans were smacked in South Bend last year, so expect a motivated squad in East Lansing.
Offense
Another season, another quarterback controversy in South Bend. Kelly turned to Tommy Rees for Notre Dame’s final possession last week, even though Everett Golson’s injured hand didn’t prevent him from playing. More worrisome for Irish fans are the five sacks Purdue recorded.
Winner First-year starter Andrew Maxwell looked a little more at ease running the Spartan offense last week, and the Notre Dame secondary doesn’t exactly inspire fear. Le’Veon Bell added two touchdowns on the ground.
Defense
The Irish defense has looked stout so far this season. There are still problems in the secondary, but defensive back Bennett Jackson notched two interceptions last week.
Winner The Spartans have been downright impenetrable. They haven’t allowed an offensive touchdown yet this season.
Special Teams
Notre Dame turned to freshman kicker Kyle Brindza last week and he hit two of three field goal attempts. He will compete with Nick Tausch, who was hurt and missed the Purdue game, for kicking duties against Michigan State. George Atkinson III is a good kickoff return man.
Winner The Spartans’ kicking specialists are solid—senior kicker Mike Sadler and punter Dan Conroy are both reliable. And there is always the chance of Dantonio rolling the dice on a fake.

The Winner Is

Winner #10 Michigan State
4 out of 4

Despite Michigan State’s advantage in the key categories, this should be a competitive game. With both teams fielding inexperienced quarterbacks, the edge goes to the home team.

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