ES Game Day Preview: Michigan State 23, Notre Dame 21 The Enlightened Spartan: ES Game Day Preview: Michigan State 23, Notre Dame 21

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ES Game Day Preview: Michigan State 23, Notre Dame 21

Michigan State (1-1, #67 Sagarin) at Notre Dame (1-1, #32 Sagarin)

Saturday, September 19. 3:30 pm noon EST.
Weather: 74, sunny.

Injuries: Michigan State — WR Mark Dell (shoulder), probable; C Joel Nitchman (knee), questionable; RG J'Michael Deane (leg), questionable; Notre Dame — WR Michael Floyd (knee), probable; FB James Aldridge (shoulder), doubtful.

ES predicts Michigan State 23, ND 21. MVP of the game: Brett Swenson. Why? This will be a back and forth game, with the Spartans needing three clutch FGs from Swenson to come away with the victory. The ES isn't yet cashing in his chips on MSU, and he ain't sold on ND. MSU faces a more traditional offense, as does ND. Both these teams have many of the same players as last year, and enough talk out of MSU that the Spartans will be aggressive on defense. Expect the TEs on both teams to be involved: ND will combat the Spartan aggressiveness with RB screens and outlets to TEs. This means that Spartan LBs need to honest and tackle solid... which is their forte. ND wideout Michael Floyd had 15 stitches behind his knee... will that reduce his effectiveness? We shall see how the tall Spartan DBs stand up to the long ball. A good pass rush, and MSU will be fine because it will reduce pressure on all the others. This may mean blitzing is in order.

On offense, MSU needs to find a running game, and hopefully the return of Joel Nitchman and Mark Dell will lead to a more effecient MSU offense. Expect Kirk Cousins to see more playing time at QB... and better hands out of Spartan receivers when it matters (on 3rd down). MSU will involve their capable TEs after giving them a rest last week (and, subsequently, criticism for bad playcalling). I'm not convinced the Spartan running game will get any better this week even though the Irish are giving up boat loads of yards on the ground so far. But, it won't matter as much, because the game will turn into a defensive battle as the two teams dig in.

A concern is MSU not allowing long returns by ND kick returners: watch MSU make some adjustment to minimize this risk. MSU needs to reduce the stupid penalties and play aggressive. It will. MSU will be ready, and I'm getting the sense that MSU has the focus to get it done. This is the biggest test yet of the Dantonio era, and it can also be a defining test by showing Weis how to rally the troops and get it done.

Game Day Analysis on ND: USA Today, Bleacher Report (ND 34-23), Midwest Sports Fans (ND), NBC Sports (ND 30-24), Irish Sports Daily,,

What do you think? What will be the game's biggest surprise? Comment Below -


  1. Anonymous9:16 AM

    Sorry ES I do not see The Big Green winning. Our D is just not aggressive enough & the O is too young.
    ND 35 MSU 21

  2. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Shocking, you have MSU winning. ND's offense is way too potent. The streak stops at 6. Or should I say it just started and is now 2? Then Wisc? Then umich? I see 1-4 start looming.