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No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 10 Michigan State

Has Brian Kelly finally brought Notre Dame back among the elite in college football? It’s too early to say that, but  certainly an argument can be made if the Irish can pull an upset at Big Ten favorite Michigan State on Saturday. Sparty is a 5-point favorite on WagerWeb.com.

After a season-opening blowout of Navy, Notre Dame was pushed last week in beating Purdue 20-17. Returning from a one-game suspension as a second stringer, former starting quarterback Tommy Rees got one chance and produced a last-minute drive that led to the win. With first-year starter Everett Golson a bit shaken up and having trouble gripping the ball, Rees came in and moved the Irish into position for Kyle Brindza’s 27-yard field goal with seven seconds to go. Kelly has said that Golson will be his starter this week, however. Golson generally played well vs. Purdue, going 21-of-31 for 289 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. 

Through 2 games this season, Notre has turned the ball over just twice, 8 fewer than the 10 turnovers the Irish committed at this point last season. The Irish are 2-0 for the first time since 2008.

The Spartans followed a season-opening win over Boise State with a 41-7 victory at Central Michigan last week. Andrew Maxwell threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Michigan State’s offense was in control, gaining 496 yards to 238 for CMU. LeVeon Bell, who had 210 yards rushing in the opener, had 70 with two more scores vs. CMU. Star end William Gholston had a sack, and Michigan State intercepted two passes and stopped the Chippewas three times on fourth down. . The only two touchdowns the Spartans have allowed this season have some on interception returns.

Saturday’s game marks the 76th meeting between Michigan State and Notre Dame. The Irish lead the all-time series 46-28-1, including an 18-15-1 record in games played in East Lansing, Mich. The Spartans have won 10 of the last 15 meetings in the series, including two straight in Spartan Stadium. Nine of the last 12 games in the series have been decided by seven points or less. Michigan State ranks second among opponents in all-time victories (28) over Notre Dame. Only Southern Cal (35) has posted more wins over the Irish than the Spartans.

This game has an 8 p.m. kick and MSU has won four-straight night games in Spartan Stadium, including two on the last play of the game (vs. Notre Dame in 2010: Aaron Bates’ 29-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Gantt off a fake field goal gave MSU a 34-31 overtime victory; and vs. Wisconsin in 2011: Kirk Cousins completed a 44-yard Hail Mary pass to Keith Nichol on the fi nal play of regulation). Mark Dantonio is 5-1 in night games played in Spartan Stadium.

Fighting Irish are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Michigan State. Over is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings. Over is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings in Michigan State. Road team is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 meetings.

SBA’s take on this is as follows: The best Offensive line we have seen all year is Michigan State.  The running game is in the top two or three in the country right now. The QB and WR positions are a little weak and Notre Dame’s is better. Notre Dame is more capable of the big play ability and we can see a Notre Dame cover here. Take the Fighting Irish.

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Friday, September 14th, 2012 College Football 2012

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