The Megaphone will be on the line Saturday night in East Lansing, when the Fighting Irish take on the Spartans. Notre Dame has a top five rushing attack, but the Spartans have a top 20 rushing defense. Something has to give in this game. Take a look at the isportsMSU predictions for Saturday night’s contest.
Ryan Okerstrom: Michigan State did exactly what they were supposed to do against Western two weeks ago. We saw a solid offensive performance and an even more impressive defensive effort. The bye week came in a perfect spot as the Spartans had extra time to prepare for a Notre Dame team that is looking to avenge last year’s loss to what would end up a 3-9 squad. Notre Dame has not looked good thus far this season. MSU has. The fact that the Irish are early four point favorites on the road is baffling – but it has more to do with who bets on them than how good their team actually is. I expect the strength of the Spartans to stop the strength of Notre Dame which will lead to a somewhat easy Michigan State win when nobody outside of East Lansing expects it. MSU 27, ND 17.
David Harns: The Spartans and the Irish go back and forth in an epic game under the lights at Spartan Stadium. Neither team can put the other away and its a tie game with just a few minutes left in the game. MSU’s defense holds and Brian Lewerke leads the offense on the game-winning drive. A 38-yard field goal wins it for MSU as the clock clicks down to all zeros. MSU 30, Notre Dame 27.
Nick Tuori: These two teams both have dual-threat quarterbacks that could make Saturday a long night for the opposing defense. Lewerke appears to be the more proven passer, while Brandon Wimbush has put up better numbers running the football. Traditionally, Coach D’s Spartans have struggled with run-first dual threat quarterbacks (Terrelle Pryor, Braxton Miller, Everett Golson, etc.), so it will be interesting to watch his defense step up to the challenge this Saturday night. Seven years after “Little Giants”, the Spartans will trot out another inexperienced kicker with the game on the line, but this time Coach Dantonio calls for the field goal. What a time for Matt Coughlin to make his first career kick, Spartans ride into Sunday morning with a 3 point victory. MSU 31, ND 28.
Zach Manning: Notre Dame comes into the game with one of the best rushing offenses in the country and the Spartans come into the game with one of the best rushing defenses in the country so something has to give. I think it will be the Spartan defense that makes enough plays to pull out the victory. Brian Lewerke will dazzle again, throwing for over 250 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 50 yards and a touchdown. MSU moves to 3-0, heading into Big Ten play. MSU 31, ND 24.
Max Lapthorne: A lot of questions about the quality of this year’s Michigan State football team should be answered this weekend when the Irish come to town.
Notre Dame will be a physical challenge on another level from what the young Spartans have faced thus far this season, but MSU does match up well with the Irish in some respects. Stopping the run has been the hallmark of the Spartan defense this season, and Notre Dame’s offense has made its hay on the ground with Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush serving as a significant threat running the ball.
This game will likely come down to which quarterback can threaten the opposing defense with his arm and make some key throws down the field. And if recent history has told us anything, this game will be anything but boring.
The Irish will find some cracks in a young Spartan defense, but it won’t be enough to overcome an electric atmosphere in the first game under the new permanent lights in Spartan Stadium. The MSU receivers continue to pick up their young quarterback and everyone in East Lansing starts to wonder if redshirt freshman Matt Coghlin will ever actually attempt a field goal. MSU 28, ND 24.
Grant Essenmacher: This is a compelling matchup for a multitude of reasons. Notre Dame is 2-1, but lost the only game they have played so far against a quality opponent in Georgia. Their quarterback Brandon Wimbush is a better runner than thrower, and if the Spartan defense can turn him into a passer, it could be a long night for the Fighting Irish. However, Wimbush has shown the ability to take games over himself, and if that’s the case then the Spartans could be in for a long night. Ultimately, the matchup should come down to Notre Dame’s defense vs. the Spartan offense. The Fighting Irish are averaging over 150 rushing yards allowed thus far, and I see MSU getting the running attack going early and often. Lewerke makes one more play than Wimbush in another classic between these two teams. MSU 38, ND 34.
Brendan Childress: Coming off of an early bye week, the Spartans host a solid Notre Dame team this Saturday in a primetime matchup. It is a little difficult to get a read on the Irish as of yet, as they lost by one point to SEC competitor Georgia and then followed that up with a sluggish first half against Boston College, before pulling away in the second half. This matchup is headlined by two mobile quarterbacks, in Brian Lewerke and Brandon Wimbush. Lewerke leads the Spartans in rushing with 150 yards on 17 carries through the first two games. On the other side, Brandon Wimbush has 314 yards on 49 carries. The key to this game for the Spartans is slowing down the Notre Dame rushing attack. Through two games, Notre Dame has accumulated 992 yards on the ground. While the Spartans have showed strength at stopping the run, allowing 91.5 yards per game, the battle-tested Fighting Irish will present a different challenge entirely. On the other side of the ball, the Spartans simply will not be able to afford any turnovers if they want to compete with the Irish. The Spartans have committed five turnovers through 2 games, and Notre Dame has forced six turnovers this season. If the Spartans do not gift the Irish any points, Michigan State should be able to compete in this game. The Spartans are playing with confidence, and had an extra week to prepare for the Irish. While it won’t be as dramatic as Little Giants, the Spartans will win on a late field goal and the defense will shut the door. MSU 31, ND, 28
Asa Hans: To be honest, I’ve got the Spartans in the night game. I see a big production day out of Brian Lewerke moving through this game under the lights. LJ Scott will also provide a great running game producing at least 100 total yards and providing some key first downs. The defense will not look as dominant as they did in their first two games but will only allow one offensive touchdown. MSU 21, ND 10.
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