Notre Dame is back. The Fighting Irish decisively defeated the Michigan State Spartans, 20-3, Saturday night in East Lansing. The Irish rode their staunch defense to win the first real test of their team’s caliber in 2012.
The Fighting Irish are one of the most well-known and storied college-football programs in the history of the sport. They took a huge step forward by knocking off the No. 10-ranked Michigan State Spartans with a dominant defensive display on prime time Saturday night.
Odds are the USA Today and AP pollsters were watching intently as the Brian Kelly-led Irish made their statement crystal clear: Notre Dame is back.
This win was a huge exclamation point for a school that has not begun the season 3-0 in the past decade. It has overcome years and years of poor play on the defensive side of the ball and flipped the script this season.
Riding their defense and a more ball-control-oriented offense, the Irish dictated the pace of the game and took their shots downfield when needed. Their game plan worked to perfection, as the defense stifled the one-dimensional attack of the Spartans.
Whether or not you believe in the Irish just yet, they’ll certainly be tested next week when they take on the other Michigan team—the explosive Wolverines and their multitalented quarterback, Denard Robinson.
What do you think? Are the Irish back? Can a freshman quarterback keep a cool head and help them run the table on their difficult 2012 schedule?
Let us know what you think about the Irish’s big win and their prospects for continued success in the comments below.
Mike Hoag is a Trends and Traffic writer for Bleacher Report and also covers the Cleveland Browns and the NFL for the site.