Michigan State at Notre Dame: Live Game Grades and Analysis for the Irish

Aaron Siegal-EismanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2013

Notre Dame players after their Purdue victory
Notre Dame players after their Purdue victoryMatt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

No. 22 Notre Dame defeats Big Ten rival Michigan State 17-13 at Notre Dame Stadium. 

FINAL: Notre Dame 17, Michigan State 13

For full box score, check out NCAA.com.

Game Analysis for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Pass Offense: Quarterback Tommy Rees looked better in the second half than the first half. The senior finished the game 14-for-34 with 142 passing yards and one touchdown. The Fighting Irish were able to capitalize off a multitude of pass interference penalties against the Michigan State secondary.

Run Offense: Michigan State's run defense did an excellent job of holding Notre Dame's run game to fewer than 90 rushing yards. Running back Cam McDaniel showed he is a hard-nosed running back that can get the small yardage in crucial moments. 

Pass Defense: Notre Dame's secondary made some game-changing plays to hold off a quality Spartans pass game. Safety Matthias Farley had a big interception in the third quarter that gave the Fighting Irish good field position.  

Run Defense: Notre Dame's front seven had difficulties containing Michigan State running back Jeremy Langford at times. The main positive to take away is that ND allowed no major runs, with MSU's longest going for only 11 yards. The Fighting Irish have to be consistent run-stoppers on defense.  

Special Teams: The Fighting Irish's special teams improved in the second half and didn't make any errors.  

Coaching: Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly made the right calls on defense towards the end of the game to get the victory.

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 21: DeVarius Daniels #10 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs an end-around against the Michigan State Spartans at Notre Dame Stadium on September 21, 2013 in South Bend, Indiana.(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

First-Half Analysis for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Pass Offense: Quarterback Tommy Rees hasn't always made the right throw at the right time. Rees is 12-for-27 with 130 passing yards and one touchdown. Rees' go-to receiver on third down has been Corey Robinson. A couple of MSU pass interference penalties have aided the Fighting Irish.

Run Offense: Michigan State hasn't allowed any of the four Notre Dame running backs to break off big runs. The Fighting Irish backs have combined for only 39 rushing yards on 14 carries. ND's offensive line needs to do a better job of creating bigger holes in the second half.

Pass Defense: Notre Dame's secondary has done an excellent job on pass coverage through the first half, except for MSU's one scoring drive. Spartans quarterback Connor Cook made a quality throw to receiver Macgarrett Kings Jr. for the Spartans only TD.

Run Defense: Notre Dame's front seven have been solid at stopping the MSU running backs from breaking through to the secondary. However, the Fighting Irish need to do a better job of stopping Michigan State's Nick Hill, who has looked promising at times.

Special Teams: Special teams has had a few very noticeable mistakes in the first half. First, the blocked punt gave MSU great field position, and then there was the missed field goal by Kyle Brindza.

Coaching: Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly's only mistake was going for it on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal in the first quarter.