Michigan State vs. Notre Dame
A week ago I predicted that Michigan State would struggle in a low-scoring game against Youngstown State. Turns out I was actually a week early for that prediction. The Spartans rolled Youngstown State 55-17. The Michigan State offense that scored less touchdowns than I have fingers on my left hand in weeks one and two, came out with a vengeance and crossed the goal line seven times in 60 minutes of play against the hapless Penguins. While Connor Cook looked good throwing the ball to his wide open receivers, the competition was a bit soft. Softer than a stick of butter on a 90 degree day to be exact.
Notre Dame may have been caught looking ahead to the matchup with Michigan State as the Irish struggled mightily on the road at Purdue. Notre Dame came into the game as 20 point favorites, but allowed the Boilermakers hang around until late in the fourth quarter. The Notre Dame offense sputtered for most of the game and only ended up with 91 yards rushing against a Purdue team that gave up 45 points to Cincinnati in week 1. The Irish passing game saved the day as Tommy Rees connected on 20 of 33 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns, and the Notre Dame defense was able to hold the Purdue rushing game to a mere 38 yards while also returning a key interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that sealed the game.
Notre Dame and Michigan State have played some epic games over the past decade and this Saturday should be a slugfest with points at a premium. The Spartans rank 7th in college football in rushing defense giving up just over 27 yards per game and 5th overall in pass defense (127 yards per game). Notre Dame is no slouch on defense either, allowing under 30 yards per game on the ground but the Irish have the advantage on the offensive side of the ball averaging over 325 yards through the air and almost 24 points per game. Notre Dame has played a tougher schedule so far this season, as Michigan State has played three cupcakes and will be leaving the friendly confines of Spartan Stadium for the first time this Saturday.
Key stats: Notre Dame has gone under the total in 8 of their last 10 home games.
What will happen: Which defense will break first? It’s a battle of a solid Notre Dame offense going up against a top notch Michigan State defense and a bad (but improving) Spartan offense against a decent Irish defense. Points will be tough to come by and this game should be a tight one. Not sure who will get the win, but it should be a low scoring game.
Prediction: Notre Dame 20 Michigan State 13
The Play: UNDER 42
2013 ATS Record: 4-5