Michigan State Spartans 23, Notre Dame Fighting Irish 7
In the midst of another rushing explosion, one Notre Dame blogger mentioned that if the ABC analysts continued praising Javon Ringer so effusively, the commentator might be engaged to the Spartan running back by the time the game was over. It has been that kind of season for Ringer and the Spartan offensive line, but there was an overlooked factor in this 23-7 MSU victory: the Spartans defense played a flawless game. The Irish were held to 16 yards rushing and QB Jimmy Clausen endured three sacks and two interceptions. Individual performances don't measure the Sparties dominance, although safety Otis Wiley (2 INT'S) and DE Brandon Long (2 sacks) padded their stats. The Spartan front 4 spent the entire game in Notre Dame's backfield, disrupting any ideas the Irish had about an upset. This performance, after shutting out Florida Atlantic, gives rise to the notion that maybe there is more to this Michigan State team than a Heisman candidate at tailback.
(Fun Fact: Wiley is tied for the NCAA lead in interceptions with 4)
No Heisman for these fellows, but they deserve some attention.
Saturday's Challenge: @ Bloomington to face the Indiana Hoosiers
The Spartans scored 52 points last year against Indiana on a perfect fall night in East Lansing. Can this be repeated? Javon Ringer is the key to this years Spartan attack and Indiana will surely pack the box with defenders, daring Brian Hoyer to throw to Mark Dell and company. Advantages abound for the Spartans on offense; in the Hoosier's only challenging game, its defensive unit was hammered repeatedly by Ball State's running backs.
On defense, the Spartan's D-line will be under the spotlight because of talented QB Kellen Lewis. Lewis has proved that he can run the ball (5th in the Big 10 in rushing yards), so the Spartans will have to keep him in the pocket. If the Spartans can keep the Indiana QB contained, possibly by spying him with an extra linebacker, than Lewis will be forced to beat MSU with his erratic arm.