Instant Reaction: Notre Dame Edges Michigan State, 17-13

Jonathan Daniel

Cam McDaniel only rushed for 40 yards, but those 40 yards made all the difference as McDaniel scored the game-winning touchdown and successfully ran out the clock for the second straight week, leading the Irish over the Spartans.

Cam McDaniel showed fans for the second straight week that he can be counted on when it matters. Behind McDaniel's touchdown and clutch runs to close out the game and a great touchdown catch by T.J. Jones, the Fighting Irish outlasted Michigan State, 17-13. The victory was Brian Kelly's tenth straight win at Notre Dame Stadium.

In a game that was at times grinding and at others flat out sloppy, the Irish were able to hold on behind McDaniel's runs and a Michigan State team that just could not get out of its own way on defense and could not do much of anything on offense.

Penalties killed Michigan State as they were penalized for a whopping 115 yards on 10 penalties. Notre Dame's game-winning drive was aided by a pair of pass interference calls. In fact, Michigan State was lucky they were not penalized for more yards, as a Michigan State player got away with punching a Notre Dame player after T.J. Jones muffed a punt.

But again, the Irish were able to hold on against a Big Ten opponent for the second straight week. The Irish defense was particularly stout on Michigan State's last offensive drive. Led by Stephon Tuitt, Prince Shembo and Louis Nix, the Irish forced Andrew Maxwell, filling in for an injured Connor Cook, backwards. The Spartans final drive? -2 yards on 4 plays.

Some observations:
  • Notre Dame received the opening kickoff and went three-and-out for the third week in a row
  • Michigan State blocked ND's first punt on what looked like a blown assignment by Jarron Jones as well as a high snap
  • The last time the Irish had a punt blocked was in 2008 vs. Boston College (ND lost that game 17-0)
  • Michigan State moved the ball about 20 yards and promptly missed their field goal attempt.
  • "Catch Radius" - Great game by Corey Robinson (3 catches for 54 yards)
  • Lots of miscues to start the game. Missed catches, missed blocking assignments, missed tackles. Pretty much ended the same, too. Just a grinding victory for the Irish.
  • The first penalty of the game was a ten-yard defensive holding penalty on Michigan State
  • We definitely did not follow the Purdue gameplan. Tommy threw deep a lot this game.
  • Michigan State went the entire 1st quarter without converting a third down (0-3)
  • Notre Dame finished the first quarter with 114 total yards of offense (95 passing, 19 rushing)
  • Michigan State finished the first quarter with 42 total yards of offense (19 passing, 23 rushing)
  • Notre Dame finished the half with 169 total yards of offense (130 passing, 39 rushing)
  • Michigan State finished the half with 90 total yards of offense (44 passing, 46 rushing)
  • At the half, three of Notre Dame's RB's had 4 carries (GA3, Folston and McDaniel). They ran for 13, 12 and 11 yards respectively. Amir Carlisle added 3 yards on 2 carries.
  • Rees' halftime stats: 12/27 for 130 and a TD (4.8 yards per throw)
  • Connor Cook's halftime stats: 5/14 for 44 and a TD (2.9 yards per throw)
  • Corey Robinson led all Irish receivers at the half with 57 yards on 3 catches
  • Notre Dame ran 41 plays in the first half. Michigan State ran 31 plays.
  • Michigan State's first two scoring drives (TD and FG) were both 14 plays long
  • The Irish did not get the ball in the second half until 6:21 left in the Third Quarter
  • At the end of the third quarter, Michigan State had 183 yards of offense (77 passing, 106 rushing)
  • At the end of the third quarter, Notre Dame had 197 yards of offense (142 passing, 55 rushing)
  • Cam McDaniel has scored a rushing TD in two straight games
  • Cam McDaniel was the leading rusher for the Irish, with 40 yards on 16 carries, including the clutch first down run to seal the game.
  • Final Notre Dame RB Stats: McDaniel: 16 for 40 yards; GA3: 6 for 23 yards; Folston: 4 for 12 yards; Carlisle: 3 for 9 yards
  • Michigan State had more first downs, more total plays and more total offensive yards than Notre Dame but still lost
  • For the third straight Michigan State/ND game in the Brian Kelly era, the Spartans tried a trick play.
  • At the end of the game, Michigan State had 254 yards of offense (135 passing, 119 rushing)
  • At the end of the game, Notre Dame had 220 yards of offense (142 passing, 78 rushing)
  • Notre Dame's longest run from scrimmage was McDaniel's final carry of the game
  • Maybe it was just me, but it seemed like Mike Mayock was having some trouble this game. Not necessarily with his analysis (most of that is impression and opinion) but with simple identification of ND and MSU players. I still like his analysis and contributions, so it was just disappointing to me. Thoughts?
Oklahoma next week in what will be likely another tough contest for Notre Dame. Go Irish!
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