NCAA Football – Week 3
Notre Dame started the season by rolling over Navy 50-10 as a 14.5-point road favorite in Dublin, Ireland and sneaking by Purdue 20-17 as a 14-point favorite at home, but now it will really be put to the test on Saturday night in this heated annual rivalry. The Fighting Irish won this game last season with ease in a 31-13 blowout as six-point home favorites, but has not won on the road against the Spartans since 2006.
Many believe this is the best team that Irish head coach Brian Kelly has had in his three-year tenure at the school, but he will need a solid performance on both sides of the ball to get out of East Lansing with a win. Notre Dame has had a balanced attack on offense so far with an average of 260.5 yards through the air and 172.5 yards a game on the ground. Look for a heavy dose of running back Theo Riddick in this game. He leads the team in rushing with 160 yards on 34 carries.
This game will be a major measuring stick for Michigan State as well. It opened the season with a tight 17-13 win over Boise State as an 8.5-point home favorite and hammered Central Michigan last week 41-7 as an 18-point favorite on the road. These victories have helped the Spartans climb to No.10 in the latest AP Poll after starting the season ranked 13th.
There is little question that Michigan State has one of the best defenses in the nation, but the jury is still out on just how good its offense really is. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell is still settling in as Kirk Cousins’ replacement and running back Le’Veon Bell has shown some early flashes of brilliance, but it is going to take a concerted effort by all 11 starters to effectively move the ball against an equally stout Irish defensive squad.
Saturday night’s clash should be a great defensive battle between two teams that know one another very well. Look for Notre Dame to keep this game close enough to cover with the five points, but the strongest play is on the UNDER 43.5 points on the total line. Michigan State 20 Notre Dame 17