Notre Dame and coach Brian Kelly already faced off against one Big Ten team for a rivalry trophy last week. The Irish defeated the Purdue Boilermakers in an in state battle. This week, the Irish will once again attempt to flex their muscle against a Big Ten foe as they take on Michigan State in South Bend for the Megaphone Trophy.
The trophy game dates back to 1949. This series also features “The Game of the Century” played in 1966. This matchup was between two undefeated teams — the no. 1 Fighting Irish and the no. 2 Spartans — and ended in a 10-10 tie. The game ended in great controversy because Ara Parsegian choose to run out the clock, ending the game in a tie rather than playing for the victory.
The coach knew that his team was already ranked ahead of the Spartans in the polls, and did not want to risk falling out of favor with a loss. The two teams ended up splitting a share of the national championship that season, leaving an undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide team out of the championship discussion.
This year features a Michigan State team poised to make a run at the Big Ten championship game.
The Spartans should be in the running in the Legends division this season. Coach Mark Dantonio lost his team’s top running back from a year ago Le’Veon Bell to the NFL draft. ND is coming off a season where they lost to Alabama in the National Championship game, and they also are without their quarterback from a year ago as Tommy Rees has been forced into action for Everett Golson, who is academically ineligible for the fall semester.
This rivalry carries with it much history and passion. This contest will be a heated one with both teams scrapping to get their hands on that “Megaphone” and the bragging rights that come with it for another season.
Expect to see Notre Dame’s spread offense to take its shots at the Spartan defense. The Fighting Irish will have to do so if they have any intention of winning this ball game, as the Spartans have the no. 1 defense in college football. Notre Dame must attempt to run the ball so they do not become one-dimensional against the Michigan State defenders.
If the Irish get down or have little success with a ground game, the pass rushers will have their way with Rees.
The Michigan State offense will also attempt to establish their running game even though they do not have a true no. 1 running back to replace Bell yet. The Spartans will go three deep at running back in attempt to find success rushing the ball. The Spartans are confident in their quarterback Connor Cook to make the right decisions and control the ball, and he must not make mistakes and let his defense do what they do — win games.
The Spartans may be underdogs, but don’t be surprised to see them leaving South Bend with the Megaphone, leaving Notre Dame with another loss to a Big Ten team.