Time: 3:30 pm ET
Location: Touchdown Jesus, South Bend, IN
Weather: 64 and sunny. PERFECT.
- BTN: Yarina, ND 19-16; Sean, MSU 17-14; Deinhart, ND 17-14; Bardo, ND 31-24
- CBS: Only 1 of 7 pick MSU a victor
- ESPN: Fortuna, ND 24-13; Bennett, ND 17-10; Rittenberg, ND 19-16
- Scout/CFN: MSU 23-17
- Freep: Rexrode, ND 22-13; Sharp, ND 24-13; Seidel, MSU 13-10
- Chicago Tribune, ND 24-13
Line: ND by 6
ES sez: Before the Spartan explosion vs YSU, the ES would have said ND would kick our butt, at least a 2-TD or more victor. But, can the Spartans' offensive efficiency from the win over the Penguins carry over to ND?
This is NOT the best ND team we've seen for a while, and methinks the Irish have been drinking and not thinking about how lucky they were, and not talented, to get to the title game last year. This luck has already caught up with ND this year.
For the game against the Spartans, the ES is figuring on the Spartan offense actually out-scoring its defense, even with several dropped passes. Let us see if the tight end position can catch a few key throws, particularly third-down passes. That means Spartan QB Connor Cook needs to connect. And, the ES believes Cook as our best option from now to season's end. Hand Maxwell a clipboard with his scholarship... he had his chance, but he throws the ball like Daniel-son: wax-on, and wax-off.
Of note, all those reverses and east-west runs that worked against Youngstown won't get a yard against the speedier Irish: take note, Dave Warner (MSU offensive coordinator), use your reverse calls sparingly and to set up some more productive misdirection late in the game.
Yes, the reality is that the ND offense will NOT score more than 17 points against the MSU defense... MSU's defense is that good, and while tested, they will NOT give up more than 300 total yards to the Irish. But can the Spartan offense put up enough points to win? THAT is the question...
Moreover: The Big Green has lost to ND the last two years, and now it is our time. ND is 6-5 over the Spartans since 2002.
Here's the deal: the ND defense has been iffy (but will improve for this game), the MSU offense has been barf-like (but will be marginal) - and it will be up to mistakes to make the difference in the game. Seriously, it could be Spartan Mike Sadler that is the difference, with his punt placement and/or booming punting that pushes the Irish offense back onto a longer field to score against the vaunted MSU defense.
The more I think about it, the more I believe this puts the game nicely in the hands of the Spartans, who are game changers on defense.
Prediction: MSU 16, ND 14.