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Notre Dame and Michigan State Look to Bounce Back

Irish Favored by 10

9/19/09

Everyone seems tired of Charlie Weis. The referees didnít do him and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish any favors last week. A TD was revoked in the first half with very inconclusive evidence, and nearly everyone I spoke with thought it was an extremely bad call. That revoked TD wouldíve put the Fighting Irish over the top. Despite the loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor, they will fight on. This week they will do battle with the Michigan State Spartans, a team that lost to Central Michigan last week. Notre Dame is favored by 10 but you can get a free half point at Skybook making it -9.5 or +10.5 depending on which side you like. Our pick is below.

Mark Dantonio probably didnít have losing to Central Michigan in his plan for this season, but it happened. QB Kirk Cousins looked sharp in the loss, throwing for 164 yards and a TD. Keith Nichol also saw action behind center, picking up 51 yards and a TD. It appears that Cousins will be the man for Michigan State. He is getting better with each game and will provide a strong nucleus for the offense. WR Blair White played a heck of a game, catching 7 passes for 108 yards. The running game was largely ineffective, picking up just 101 yards in the game.

The defense played well for three quarter, and then collapsed in the fourth giving up 16 points and losing the game in the process. They stopped a two point conversion attempt, but then allowed Central Michigan to recover an onsides kick. After a botched 47 yard FG attempt, the Spartans were called off sides, giving the Chippewas another shot at glory. This time they didnít miss the FG, winning 29-26. Michigan State made too many mistakes and didnít play effective football. Trevor Anderson and Greg Jones have to make things happen against Notre Dame. That starts with pass rushing Jimmy Clausen all day long, and making the RB pay every time he touches the ball.

Notre Dame will enter this game with a chip on their shoulder after last week. They played a great game, but ultimately could not defeat the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor. QB Jimmy Clausen looked like a star, throwing for 336 yards and 3 TDs. His best receiver of the night was Golden Tate, who had 9 catches for 115 yards and 2 TDs. Tate played well, but he had a few drops that couldíve made the difference between a win and a loss. WR Michael Floyd had 7 catches for 131 yards and a TD. RB Armando Allen played strong, rushing for 139 yards and a TD. The game came down to Notre Dameís failure to make problems for freshman QB Tate Forcier on defense. They also allowed Michigan to return a kickoff for a TD.

QB Jimmy Clausen is the strength of Notre Dame, and he has been improving with each game. He has several strong WRs, with the best being Golden Tate. Iíd like to see him air the ball out early, and go after the home run pass. He has a strong offensive line protecting him. The run should continue to do well thanks to Armando Allen. The defense needs to do a better job of blitzing and getting to opposing QBs. If they couldíve got Tate Forcier off balance they wouldíve won last week. I usually donít mention kickers, but Brandon Walker missed a FG early last week. Notre Dame needs all the points they can get so that isnít acceptable.

Both squads need a win here off last weeks losses. Both teams plenty capable, which has us interested in the big spot here. This is a much better Notre Dame team than a year ago, no question, but Michigan State also returns a good chunk of last years starters, a team that went 9-4. We're aware of some sharp action on Michigan State and see no reason to disagree. Michigan State +10

 

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