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BGI Staff Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Michigan State

Notre Dame picked up its first win of the season last weekend when it beat Nevada 39-10 in its home opener. The Irish are home against this weekend, and the stakes are much higher. Notre Dame takes on No. 12-ranked Michigan State with an opportunity to boost its playoff profile.

The Blue & Gold Illustrated staff has broken down this weekend's matchup, and now it is time to make some predictions:


NOTRE DAME 27, MICHIGAN STATE 23: Notre Dame matches up well. The Fighting Irish can hold their own and then some physically along both lines, and the Spartans don’t run any tempo, so that fits in well with defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.

For whatever reason, though, I have the same negative vibes about this game as I had before Texas. I hated the law of averages going into the Texas game, and I’m just not yet sure about where this Notre Dame team stands. It's a crucial crossroads game on whether this can be a Playoff contender or another 8-4-type deal. Just like at Texas, I can’t quite pull the trigger on an Irish defeat, especially at home.


NOTRE DAME 33, MICHIGAN STATE 20: Rightly so, there is a great deal of concern about Notre Dame's ability to hold up against the Michigan State run game. Despite his struggles, defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder's defenses have held up well against offenses like Michigan State. Opponents that run an offense similar to the Spartans have gone for just 128.6 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per rush against VanGorder's Notre Dame defenses. The Irish will give up a few big plays, but overall they will keep the Spartans in check.

Offensively, the Irish line is going to give the backs room to run against an inexperienced and undermanned defensive line. With the safeties having to come down to help out against the run, receivers Equanimeous St. Brown, C.J. Sanders and Torii Hunter Jr. should make a number of big plays to help the Irish offense excel.


NOTRE DAME 30, MICHIGAN STATE 24: Look for DeShone Kizer to prove that he’s worthy of the hype in this game. Coming off two solid performances that raised his national profile, the Notre Dame junior quarterback has a big game against the Spartans and leads the Irish to a win over the country’s 12th-ranked team. While the defense isn’t dominant, it does enough to keep the offense within striking distance, and Kizer makes some late plays to pull out the close victory.


NOTRE DAME 34, MICHIGAN STATE 23: Michigan State didn’t exactly play up to its standards in its season opener against Furman, but expect the Spartans to bounce back. This team isn’t as talented on paper as previous Michigan State squads, but should still be able to play tough, disciplined football. This game will come down to the wire. Notre Dame has the better quarterback between DeShone Kizer and Tyler O’Conner and home field advantage, which combine to give the advantage to the Irish.


NOTRE DAME 27, MICHIGAN STATE 20: Everyone’s said it, and I’ll say it again; this is going to be a physical, hard-fought game. Points may be hard to come by, but I believe Notre Dame’s offense is much more equipped to win a game like this. Michigan State looked pedestrian against Furman, and they’re coming in to a hostile environment at night. I think DeShone Kizer leads a winning drive and the Irish move to 2-1.


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