In a contest between two AP Top 20 football teams, the No. 18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish fell to the No. 12 Michigan State Spartans. The contest was not as close as the 36-28 score would suggest.
The Fighting Irish came into Saturday night’s contest with plenty of confidence following a 39-10 win over the Nevada Wolfpack. The Irish actually scored first with a touchdown run by DeShone Kizer in the opening quarter.
However, the Spartans extinguished all of the Fighting Irish’s confidence. They responded with 36 unanswered points and held a 36-7 lead late into the third quarter.
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The Fighting Irish fought back to make it a game with 21 unanswered points to end the game. However, their deficit was too great to overcome, and they ended up losing 36-28.
Specifically, the Fighting Irish struggled defensively. They could not stop the Spartans’ power run game combined or Michigan State’s efficient pass game.
Notre Dame allowed Michigan State to earn 260 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. Specifically, Gerald Holmes ran for 100 yards and two rushing touchdowns and LJ Scott ran for 98 yards and one touchdown.
Meanwhile, Spartans’ quarterback Tyler O’Connor threw for 241 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.
Also, the Spartans converted 9 of 18 third downs and were 1 of 1 on fourth down conversions. As a result, they dominated the time of possession. In total, they held onto the ball for 37 minutes and 57 seconds.
Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer struggled to find open targets and only completed 20 of his 37 pass attempts. Kizer did throw for 344 passing yards and two passing touchdowns. He also scored two rushing touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Notre Dame, he was the only source of offense for them. The Spartans limited the success of running backs Tarean Folston and Josh Adams. At the same time, they did not let Torii Hunter Jr., Equanimeous St. Brown and CJ Sanders make any big plays.
Overall, it was a disappointing performance by a Fighting Irish team that desperately needed a win against a ranked opponent. The loss essentially eliminates Notre Dame from the College Football Playoff picture.
With the loss, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish fall to 1-2 on the season. They do not get a lot of time to rest. They have to prepare for a home game against the 1-2 Duke Blue Devils next Saturday.