After their narrow Week 3 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hosted the Michigan State Spartans, who have certainly left a lot to be desired on offense these first three weeks. And that streak continued today, as the Fighting Irish escaped a Top-25 upset with a 17-13 victory over the Spartans.
Irish quarterback Tommy Rees finished the day with 142 passing yards and a touchdown, while running back Cam McDaniel led the way on the ground with 40 rushing yards. The leading pass catcher was Corey Robinson, who had three catches for 54 yards.
Both offenses weren’t particulary sharp on either side. Michigan State’s quarterback carousel continues with Connor Cook, Andrew Maxwell and R.J. Shelton, while Notre Dame struggled to gain much ground against Michigan State’s defense, which ranks 12th in scoring defense, holding teams to 12.0 points through the first four weeks. But Notre Dame’s own defense came through and took advantage of the Spartans’ underachieving offense despite their own 58th-ranked scoring defense.
Despite a couple of controversial calls, the Fighting Irish capitalized off of the Spartans’ mistake early in the second half, when Shelton threw an interception to safety Matthias Farley. That, coupled with a personal foul call by Michigan State, would lead to a Notre Dame scoring drive. But the biggest controversial play that led to Notre Dame’s last touchdown to seal the game was the questionable pass interference call, which was probably the most controversial call of the entire game. Michigan State, despite their great defense, continually shot themselves in the foot with those calls, which ended up being the difference between victory and defeat for the Fighting Irish.
But despite the call, defenses ruled the day, as both did not give much ground to either of the offenses, which both aren’t the sharpest or most consistent in college football. But thanks to that, Notre Dame moves to 3-1 and will have its work cut out for them when they face the Oklahoma Sooners at 3:30 p.m. EST next Saturday on NBC.