Players to Watch in Michigan State vs. Notre Dame Matchup
One of the most anticipated games of the week is the primetime matchup tonight between No. 20 Notre Dame (2-0) and No. 10 Michigan State (2-0). The Spartans are coming off a week two win against Central Michigan in which the offense perked up after a sloppy week one offensive output against Boise State.
Notre Dame beat a solid Purdue Boilermakers squad that lost their star quarterback Robert Marve in the game to an ACL tear. Despite the loss of the veteran quarterback, Purdue was still a solid victory that proved to be their best win of the season thus far.
The two teams meet tonight in East Lansing under the lights, which is sure to be one of the best games of the young season. Here are the players to watch in tonight’s game.
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Spartan cornerback is emerging as one of the conference’s best at the position and is a solid complement to the All-American corner on the other side, Johnny Adams. Dennard will have a tough test in defending first-year starting quarterback Everett Golson, whom he has never seen before. Dennard has had a solid start to the season with 10 tackles and three pass deflections and will look even better tonight while facing inexperienced Fighting Irish receivers.
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Te’o has had an extremely rough week, losing two loved ones but still deciding to play in this week’s big game. He is one of the country’s best linebackers, and rightfully so. Te’o is a 6’5″, 255-pound beast of a linebacker that has solid sideline-to-sideline speed and can hunt down the ball carrier from anywhere on the field. He has 16 tackles this season with an interception and will be avoided tonight at any cost by the Michigan State offense and first-year starting quarterback, Andrew Maxwell.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
Bell is one of the most talked about running backs in college football and he has the size and elusive moves to make any defense look silly. He can hurdle, spin and stiff-arm opponents with the best of them and every game could feature a new highlight reel from the junior rusher. He has had 62 rushing attempts this season for an impressive 280 yards and four touchdowns. His 6’2″, 244-pound frame is one of few that can match up perfectly with Manti Te’o. That matchup tonight will be one to watch because neither of them will back down.
Cierre Wood, RB, Notre Dame
This is the the star running back’s first game back since since serving his two-game suspension for violating team rules. Wood, a senior, is the leading rusher for the Irish and had over 1,000 yards and nine rushing touchdowns last season. He will likely be a big impact player tonight as the Spartans have yet to see a running back of his skill level this season and will have a tough time adjusting to his speed and elusiveness. The Spartans have one of the top defenses in the country, so it will be interesting to see how Wood handles their presence on the ball.
Bennie Fowler, WR, Michigan State
Fowler is looking to be the Spartans No. 1 receiver and Maxwell’s favorite target. He had a solid game against Central Michigan last week, catching eight passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. It was the first game that Spartan fans could breathe easy knowing they have a receiver that is capable of filling the empty spot left by last year’s No. 1 receiver, B.J. Cunningham. Fowler has the same body type as Cunningham and some speed to burn. Look for him to have another big game today as the Spartans’ passing attack has another solid game, evolving into one of the best in the Big Ten.