Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Michigan State Spartans Preview and Pick

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0) +9, O/U 48 at Michigan State Spartans (2-1) -9, O/U 48 Saturday September 20 East Lansing, MI. 3:30 p.m. EST Spartan Stadium (75,005) TV coverage ABC

By Wilson of

Notre Dame is showing signs of classic Notre Dame football, you know, the good old days when they were expected to win big rivalry games. Last Saturday in Notre Dame Stadium the Fighting Irish showed the entire country just what they were capable of doing by beating Michigan 35-17 in a game that was all Notre Dame.

The Irish took advantage of six Wolverine turnovers and enjoyed a three touchdown lead in the first half. Michigan could blame the turnovers on the poor weather conditions (rain), but six turnovers; even in the rain is too many. Most sportsbooks had Michigan -1 and Notre Dame +1, so the game was basically a pick which is typical given these two rivals and their historical matchups.

We definitely showed up against a good opponent, and its sweet. said Notre Dame head Charlie Weiss. Weiss was injured in the first half as he was hit by a player going out of bounds on the Irish sideline. He tore his ACL and MCL but was back on the field on crutches within minutes. You know its a rival game when a head coach gets injured!

Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen was due for a victory over Michigan, and he got it after waiting more than two years and one of those, last year, was an embarrassing shutout 38-0. Clausen was 10-21 passing for 147 yards. He had two touchdowns passes and two interceptions, but he was never sacked, unlike last years game against the Wolverines where he was sacked eight times!

It feels great. I was talking to a bunch of the guys before the game, I said, remember what it felt like last year after this game. Thats not going to happen again. said Clausen.

Notre Dame running back, Golden Tate, accumulated 127 yards to lead the Irish rushing attack despite a heavy pouring of rain during most of the contest.

On the Michigan side, running back, Sam McGuffie carried the ball 25 times for 131 yards and had four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. Wolverine QB Steven Threet completed 16-of-23 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, which is usually a pretty good day for a Michigan QB, but not on this day as they simply could not overcome the turnover factor.

Michigan football will be back, said Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez who continued on by expressing his disappointment in all the naysayers, but assured that he wasnt discouraged and again said that Michigan football would be back.

The Michigan State Spartans will welcome Notre Dame into Spartan Stadium on Saturday and put their 2-1 record on the line. The Spartans are coming off of a 17-0 win over Florida Atlantic and hope to keep their winning ways in check.

The Spartans are second to USC in teams that have beat Notre Dame the most. Michigan State has won 26 times vs. the Irish while USC has tallied 32 victories over them.

The visiting team has won the last seven meetings in this rivalry, so you can bet Notre Dame is looking to keep that streak alive.

Michigan State is averaging 30 points per game heading into Saturdays matchup, and they may need all of those points if the Irish continue to play like they did against their cross state rival Michigan.

This game might come down to the leadership and play of both QBs as Brian Hoyer of MSU is 33 of 75 through three games with only one TD and 2 INTs, while his counterpart, Jimmy Clausen is 31 of 55 with 5 TDs but 4 INTs. Technically, MSU leads ND in every major statistic category, so on paper, MSU should be the favorite, but we all know paper doesnt actually take the field.

Wilsons Pick: I think Notre Dame keeps the ball rolling against the Spartans. The Spartans are currently favored at -9. I like Notre Dame to win and welcome the 9 point cushion.