Notre Dame vs Michigan State: Preview and Prediction

Tyler JuranovichCorrespondent IIISeptember 15, 2010

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Dayne Crist #10 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks for a receiver in the 4th quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Stadium on September 11, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Michigan defeated Notre Dame 28-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It's the third week of college football and the Notre Dame find themselves against another Big Ten team. This time it's the Michigan State Spartans. Michigan State (2-0) is coming off a 30-17 win over Florida Atlantic, while the Irish (1-1) are coming off a loss to the Michigan Wolverines.

Notre Dame faces a much more standard offense than they saw against the Wolverines, but the Spartans' offensive game still revolves around their strong running game—arunning game that is averaging 261 yards per game, 11th-best in the country. Their production comes from true sophomore Edwin Baker.

Stopping the the running game is going, again, to be key for the Irish. They were unable to hold the Wolverine running game, lead by Denard Robinson, and it cost them the game. This week's matchup will be another test for this mediocre defense.

Along with a great running game, the Spartans boast a tough defense, especially at linebacker position. Greg Jones already has 20 tackles for the Spartans and has helped the Spartan defense to only allow 130 rushing yards the past two weeks.

This sets up a problem for the Irish. You need an established running game before the passing game becomes efficient. The Irish are going to have to figure out a way to their running game up to par, or it could be a very tough offensive day for them.

As for the Irish, their offense sputtered once starting quarterback, Dayne Crist left the game earl on due to lack of vision in his right eye. Crist came back into the game after the half and finished the game, but the damage was already done to the Irish as they struggled under backup quarterbacks Tommy Rees and Nate Montana.

Crist has fully recovered and can now see out of the right eye, which is great news for Irish fans as it became apparent that without Crist, Notre Dame doesn't stand a chance against any team.

I am expecting this game to be just as exciting as last week's game. This game, on paper, looks like it could go down to the wire.

This week I am putting my faith in the Irish just because Crist is expected to play and be 100 percent. A healthy Crist would've most likely led to a win against Michigan.

For those reasons I am picking Notre Dame to beat the Spartans, 24-21.