Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/16/12

 

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish silenced many of their critics with a dominating 20-3 victory over presumptive Big 10 front runner Michigan State in their own stadium. Notre Dame never trailed against the Spartans, and their much maligned secondary allowed only 4.2 yards per attempt by Michigan State quarterbacks. The Fighting Irish leave East Lansing 

 

Andrew Maxwell looked harried and lost all day, as Notre Dame's secondary seemed to confuse him and pressure rushed him. He was check down happy and it was apparent midway through the third quarter that Michigan State's only chance at a comeback would be from a turnover or special teams. Unlike last season, Notre Dame did nothing to allow the Spartans back into the game. 

The pathetic pass numbers from the Spartans offense do not even tell the entire story though. Notre Dame allowed only 77 yards rushing to stud running back La'Veon Bell, and thanks to the numerous sacks, the Spartans finished with only 50 rushing yards. The Fighting Irish completely erased the Spartans from their own field.

The offense, for their part, was inefficient but made plays when they needed to do so.. There was no consistent passing attack – Golson completed less than 50% of his throws – but again, Golson managed to avoid the turnover and keep the ball safe. He also connected on a number of long throws, including a highlight reel worthy 36 yard pass to John Goodman in the first quarter. Aside from those brief moments though, he was ineffective. Theo Riddick was also stopped cold, with a scant 2.8 yards per carry.

But Cierre Wood, in his first appearance after a two game suspension, averaged 5.6 on 10 carries, including a backbreaking run on 4th and 1 from midfield with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter that effectively ended the game. His physical running style helped wear down the Spartan defense late in the game. 

Ultimately, this game looked like the Brian Kelly's Irish coming out party. Notre Dame has had numerous seasons in the past 15 years in which they managed to get early buzz only to see it fall apart against top competition. Tonight, the Fighting Irish walked into East Lansing, played the best team in the Big 10, and completely dominated them. They looked like a team that could stand up against the best competition in the nation and hold their own.

This wasn't a fluke win resulting from numerous turnovers. This wasn't even a perfect game from Notre Dame, as the offense could have played far better. Rather, this was an Irish team that was physically superior in every way to their competition and bullied their opponent. They won clearly and decisively.

Considering that teams like Oregon are getting talked about nationally after blowing out assorted Schools of the Blind, it's probably fair for Notre Dame to start receiving major national recognition. And this time, they will have earned it.  

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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