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Pregame six pack: Identity check for the Irish

Sep 14, 2012, 12:32 PM EDT

Spartans

After holding serve with victories over Navy and Purdue, we’ll finally get an identity check on No. 20 Notre Dame, as they head to East Lansing for a battle with No. 10 Michigan State.

The Irish are healthy after losing seven players during their hard-fought 20-17 victory. They’ll have their top two receiving threats back with Davaris Daniels rebounding nicely after an ankle tweak and All-American tight end Tyler Eifert cleared from a mild concussion. Starting running back Cierre Wood is back from suspension, and he’ll work into the rotation with Theo Riddick and George Atkinson. Quarterback Everett Golson, a week after sitting out the game’s winning drive in favor of veteran Tommy Rees, is ready for his first true road test.

Along the defensive line Kapron Lewis-Moore is back anchoring his defensive end position and junior linebacker Danny Spond returns to outside linebacker after a scary preseason injury. Jamoris Slaughter is fine after a big collision kept him from returning to a young secondary that improved from week one to two.

With its biggest test of the season ahead of it, it appears all hands are on deck for head coach Brian Kelly and Notre Dame. Let’s run through six fun facts, tidbits, leftovers and miscellaneous musings as No. 20 Notre Dame prepares to take on the Big Ten’s best in No. 10 Michigan State.

***

For the Irish to win, they’ll need to hang onto the football and control the line of scrimmage.

At this time last year, Notre Dame was winless and at the bottom of the NCAA rankings in turnover margin. After outgaining and outplaying both USF and Michigan, the Irish figured out how to lose two excruciatingly tough football games because they couldn’t hold onto the football.

Fast-forward one year and it’s a different story. Breaking in new quarterback Everett Golson, the Irish have won their first two battles, and have completely flipped the switch in the turnover category.

On paper, it’s a shocking contrast:

2011
Turnovers: 10
Differential: -7

2012
Turnovers: 2
Differential +4

Part two of the upset equation is controlling the line of scrimmage. A week after a disappointing performance along the offensive line, Kelly laid it out fairly simply.

“If Michigan State can exert their will on both fronts the offensive line and defensive line I think we probably know how that game’s gonna go,” Kelly said. “We feel like we have to be able to exert our same kind of presence on both sides of the ball.”

After reviewing the game film and turning the page, center Braxston Cave was candid about the offensive line’s play.

“We didn’t play up to our standard that we’ve set for ourselves and it showed,” Cave said. “When our team struggles we’re gonna put that on the offensive line.”

The Irish have already won the turnover battle twice this season after winning it only three times all of last year. If they can manage to do that and win the line of scrimmage, there’s a great chance they’ll walk out of East Lansing 3-0.

***

If recent history has told us anything, expect a close one Saturday night.

You can throw out the Irish’s rather easy 31-13 victory over the Spartans last year. In recent years, most times Notre Dame and Michigan State meet, it’s a game that will go down to the wire. For every Little Giants, there’s been the Irish’s epic 2006 comeback in the rain. The Spartans have won 10 of the last 15 games in this series, but nine of the last 12 have been decided by seven points or less.

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane:

2011 — ND wins 31-13
2010 — MSU wins 34-31 (Little Giants)
2009 — ND wins 33-30 (Kyle McCarthy with the pick!)
2008 — MSU wins 23-7
2007 — MSU wins 31-10
2006 — ND wins 40-37 (Comeback in the rain)
2005 — MSU wins 44-41 (Flag plant.)
2004 — ND wins 31-24 (The Tommy Zbikowski show)
2003 — MSU wins 22-16
2002 — ND wins 21-17 (Dillingham to Battle for the win!)

The betting line for Saturday night’s game opened up at 4.5 points, but has surged to Michigan State being a six-point favorite. Interestingly, 87% of money is betting on the Spartans right now, potentially pushing this point spread even further in Sparty’s direction. With the Spartan’s looking impressive last weekend after following up a big win against Boise State, it’s not surprising that they’ve got Las Vegas’ attention.

***

Manti Te’o will be playing Saturday with a heavy heart.

You can’t blame linebacker Manti Te’o if his mind is on something other than football right now. The heart of the Irish defense has suffered his share of heartbreak this week, losing two people incredibly close to the senior from Hawaii. Te’o’s girlfriend Lennay Kekua lost a battle with leukemia this week. He also lost his grandmother within 24 hours.

“We lost some people very close to him, and it’s obviously taken a toll on him,” Kelly said. “Our players have been there for him and have been a great support. We’ll support him. He’ll be with us. He practiced. He’ll be playing Saturday against Michigan State. Unfortunately, he’s gone through a very rough 24, 48 hours. But his support and his family at home have been great, and all of the coaches and players have been there for him.

Te’o has not spoken publicly about the losses, and that’s an awful lot to deal with for anybody, let alone a senior in college. As always, the stoic leader of the Irish football team has said and done the right things, writing of Kekua on Twitter, “I may not hear your voice anymore but I do feel your presence.”

There are obviously logistical challenges that go into getting Te’o back to Hawaii for memorial services or funerals and Kelly mentioned the bye week as a potential opportunity for Te’o to return home. But for now the linebacker stays with his support system in South Bend.

“He wants to be with his teammates, he wants to be with the people that care about him,” Kelly said. “He’s a strong man and he’s going through a tough time, but he’ll rise to the occasion.”

***

Brian Kelly is on the “coolest seat in America.”

Jack Swarbrick made more headlines this week with the Irish move to the ACC, a transition that’s energized just about every athletics program on campus. He also made headlines last night talking with Dan Wetzel and Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports when discussing the status of Brian Kelly the head coach and the state of the Irish football program.

“I couldn’t be more pleased. I like to say that my coach is on the coolest seat in America, as opposed to a hot seat. What we had to do was build a program. It’s not about changing whether you run the spread offense or something else, or if you run a 3-4 or 4-3. It was really for us, we had lost the elements of a really elite program over a course of time. Many years, not just a few. And that’s what we had to address.

“We had to focus on approach to strength and conditioning, and nutrition, and scheduling our athlete’s day, our approach to competitive scheduling, our facilities. We just had to take this thing down to ground zero and build all the elements back up so we had a foundation for success. And that’s what I see now.

“Now the AD built a crazy schedule this year, and we ought to fire him, but the foundation for success is there. I love the athleticism of this team and the quality of the student athletes. And I love what I think is coming in the next few years, so I couldn’t feel better about the program.”

The next two weeks will likely help define the 2012 season, but that should put an end to any discussions on minimum win total and other messageboard debates. Whether some fans like it or not, Swarbrick has decided to take the long view on the Notre Dame football program, and he’s setting the program up for success by realizing stability and a structured process are a good thing.

***

The focus might be on the Michigan State front seven, but the cornerbacks will challenge the Irish passing attack.

You might know the names Will Gholston and Max Bullough, but the back end of the Spartan defense will be a key to Saturday night. With Golson proving his can throw the football effectively last week, the Spartans might not want to load the box to take away the Irish running game and challenge Notre Dame to beat them through the air. But if they do, it’ll be because Mark Dantonio trusts his cornerbacks, the strength of his underrated secondary.

With Johnny Adams returning for a fifth season, he and Darqueze Dennard will be called upon to play big in the back end of the defense, often challenged with one-on-one match-ups in defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi‘s aggressive scheme.

“You just don’t have to worry about them, about things going wrong,” Bullough told the Detroit Free Press about his cornerbacking duo. “Sure, someone’s gonna make a play on them at times, that’s how football is. But for the most part we feel like we have better corners than a lot of the receivers we go against.”

With Tyler Eifert split wide to help create those match-ups, Bullough will get a chance to see if his theory is correct.

***

The time is right for the Irish to finally spring an upset at night.

It’s been quite some time since the Irish went out and made a primetime statement against a top ten opponent. As Tim Prister writes at Irish Illustrated, maybe it’s been way too long.

The Irish — 20-17 all-time against ranked opponents at night and 63-35-2 overall – have lost 10 straight night games against teams ranked in the top 10 with USC the most frequent perpetrator (three).

Notre Dame hasn’t won a road night game against a top 10 opponent since the Jan. 1, 1992 Sugar Bowl when Lou Holtz’s squad knocked off Steve Spurrier’s Florida Gators, 39-28, in the Superdome. Since then, the Irish have lost to:

  • No. 8 Florida State, 31-26, in the Jan. 1, 1996 Orange Bowl
  • No. 4 Tennessee, 38-14, on Nov. 6, 1999 in Knoxville
  • No. 5 Oregon State, 41-9, in the Jan. 1, 2001 Fiesta Bowl
  • No. 5 Nebraska, 27-10, on Sept. 8, 2001 in Lincoln
  • No. 6 USC, 44-13, on Nov. 30, 2002 in Los Angeles
  • No. 3 USC, 44-24, on Nov. 25, 2006 in Los Angeles
  • No. 4 LSU, 41-14, in the Jan. 3, 2007 Sugar Bowl
  • No. 5 USC, 38-3, on Nov. 29, 2008 in Los Angeles
  • No. 8 Pittsburgh, 27-22, on Nov. 14, 2009 in Pittsburgh
  • No. 4 Stanford, 28-14, on Nov. 26, 2011 in Palo Alto, Calif.

The Irish have been building to this moment ever since they laid an egg last year at home against USC. And while we’ve mentioned they aren’t the betting favorite and they’ll be playing in front of one of the more hostile environments that they’ll see all year, there’s reason to believe this could be the end of a long string of bad football.

“Our guys are confident and they prepared well and they should be (confident),” Kelly said. “They’re looking forward to the challenge of playing at Michigan State in what will be a great atmosphere.”

  1. Jennifer - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    wow. Talk about “life and death” situations marking “the measure of the man.” From the moment of his arrival at Notre Dame, Manti has been the mature, quintessential player and leader both on and off the field. There aren’t enough superlatives to adequately describe the residual effect that his character and leadership have had on this team, coaches and fans. God bless him and his family as they navigate the troubled waters of their loss.

    • oldestguard - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      …the residual effect that his character and leadership have had….

      Very well put, Jennifer !

      • booner1415 - Sep 15, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        eloquent and succinct….. Manti is a student athlete who embodies all that is good in college football today. We should be incredibly proud that he represents the University of Notre Dame in such an exemplary manner. God bless you, Manti!

  2. mimefrog - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Good article, Keith. I keep thinking about the USC game last year and I’m glad you mentioned it. Sitting in the stands, I literally felt the air go out of the stadium after some adversity. It seemed the same for the team – all around demoralized. I think a mature, championship team overcomes such setbacks. I hope we are on our way.

    My heart goes out to Manti Teo and his loved ones. One thing I’ve learned is that grief is an individual process – no one can tell you how to do it. If Teo wants to stay with his team (and the support system at ND) and play on Saturday, no one should question him or judge him for it. Not much more to say other than I’m truly sorry, Manti.

    • nudeman - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      Well … I am not one for linking personal grieving with stuff on the football field or ball diamond. Very tired of inane announcers screaming accolades at a player who makes a tackle or catches a TD pass or drives in a run “with a heavy heart”.

      I feel very bad for Manti, who I think is a class act and a great representative for ND. But now we’re going to be subjected to Brent sensationalizing this sh**.

      “You’ve really got to admire BIG #5, coming out here, all he’s going through; and you’d never know it from his play tonight”

      PUUUUUKE

      • mimefrog - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:22 PM

        I didn’t intend to link his personal tragedy with my comments about overcoming game adversity. I don’t think I have any business analyzing it that way. I really intended it as two separate points, but re-reading my post, I see how it might come off like that. This shouldn’t have to be said, but death is way bigger than football. I too hope that the media doesn’t sensationalize it.

      • zorichmidriff - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:26 PM

        I turn the sound down so I can savor my drunken, belligerent out-loud comments for three hours+.

      • 808raiderinparadise - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:16 PM

        nude … interesting … those are obvious points made. Although this is life, media, sports and the passion that makes us even bother to set-up in front of TVs and in stadiums during our free time is to be a fan … be a part of something you have ZERO control over. The highs-the lows and although i show up to my desk job after a family death gets zero publicity, if I were followed by cameras you can bet your balls it would be brought up.

        Brett Favre plays 2 days after his fathers death, has one of his career best games.

        Jordan decided to retire.

        The Haiti womens soccer team in the olympic trials, had zero chance but assembled a team to play their best to honor their country without pity.

        The storylines are lifelines …. thats all ….. the positive ones and negative ones.

        Manti’s story should be talked about by the commentators, for if it inspires any young kid to push through his own troubles in life its a success in my opinion.

        God bless Manti’s gf and gm and himself for vowing to play with his teamates and for his losses.

        go irish.

      • don74 - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:53 PM

        will you be at the game watch?

      • nudeman - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:40 PM

        don
        If you’re going to be there I will
        Will you?

      • don74 - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:45 PM

        I am in, walking cast and all.

      • nudeman - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        808
        Very well written and said
        I think my comments about Manti might have been slightly misconstrued
        I feel very badly for Manti, and I say that with complete respect
        He’s a class act, 100%

        All I’m saying is that the media will beat this thing to death to the point that if you didn’t know better, you’d think Manti himself had died

        There was a comedian who used to do a very funny routine mocking Howard Cosell during the 1971 World Series for his non stop blather over 7 games about the passing of Chuck Tanner’s mother. It was unnecessary Cosell hyperbole to the most ridiculous extent.

        Brent won’t do that, but really other than a respectful couple sentences upfront in the telecast, leave it out of the game

      • nudeman - Sep 15, 2012 at 1:02 PM

        Here’s the routine
        He changes the name form Chuck Tanner to Buck Jackson
        Skip to the 5:18 part

  3. zorichmidriff - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    We knew we had something different with Te’o when he first stepped on the field. Good luck to him and the rest of the boys as we try to shock Mark May.

  4. mmanor01 - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    I am very happy for ND to be going into this match-up as the under dog. I think we are going to come out leaner and meaner than anyone (outside of this board) expects.

    Go Irish!

    Smack’em in the mouth!

  5. oldestguard - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Yeah, I see momentum trending to a good outcome on Sat night as well.

    Not sure if this would be a “signature” win, but certainly a ‘significant” one.

    They cannot cover all our options – just give Golson some time to work.

    D will rally around their Captain.

    • papadec - Sep 15, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      og – A Saturday night, road game Win against a top-10 ranked team, to start the season 3-0, would qualify as a “signature win” for me. But, hell – that’s me.

  6. seadomer - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Felt some pain regarding the Manti situation whilst most boards already said everything that needs to be said, I kept thinking about Manti’s version of “unfinished business” – a certain Trojan QB. I will keenly anticipate the venting of loss on the field.
    My prayers goes out to Manti and the entire MSU Oline

  7. fnc111 - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Kelly will not have his guys ready for this game. Doesnt really matter if he did because we saw him piss away the MSU game in 2010 when ND was the better team.

    How will Kelly handle the pressure next week then? Lose that game and sit at 2-2 means Kelly is nearing the exit of his tenure here.

    I for one hope Kelly will get out of the way and let these fellas play ball. He is holding back a lot of talent.

    • papadec - Sep 15, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      fnc – how about you get out of the way, and go to another site if Kelly & the ND team go 4-0 this year?

      • ndfaithful - Sep 15, 2012 at 2:55 PM

        I think we need to quit replying to complete ars’s and bonheads.

    • irish4006 - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:33 PM

      @papadec, based on the comments he has been posting lately, I don’t think he has the good sense to do so… passing judgment on a successful coach from mom’s basement has become too easy these days. I blame the internet.

  8. runners00 - Sep 14, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    I’ve noticed that just about everyone is picking Michigan State here. I thought I’d research why — and share it with the group.

    This game will be decided by our offensive line. I think, defensively, we should be okay. We have a strong defensive front and we have a great linebacker in T’eo and other very strong linebackers who can drop into coverage or get to the quarterback. But our offensive line did not play well against Purdue. And to know how they will play against Michigan State, it helps to see State’s defensive front. Who are these guys?

    Well, William Gholston is a beast. He’s a second year starter and a preseason front-runner for national defensive player of the year. He led the team against Central Michigan with 7 tackles and two tackles for losses. Senior Anthony White is the nosetackle. While he is starting at nosetackle for the first time, he’s seen a lot of action and has 42 career tackles for Michigan State. Junior Micajah Reynolds is a defensive end who is fairly new to the line. He played in some games last year but, to date, is not a huge threat. Of course, he was one of the best offensive tackles coming out of high school but to date he has not obtained enough playing time to really make a significant impact.

    So, that’s some detail on the defensive front that our big guys are going to play. How about the linebackers? The player to watch is third year starter Chris Norman. The senior is ranked among the best outside linebackers in the country and in the two games he’s had eight tackles. Denicos Allen, a junior starting linebacker is one of the best linebackers in the country. Of course, to date, he hasn’t performed for Sparty and Notre Dame will be the best team they’ve played.

    Michigan State has some flash on defense. There is a reason for the brash and cockiness that’s being displayed by Spartan fans and the sports media.

    Our offensive line has to answer this. We have some very strong guys — Braxton Cave, Christian Lombard and Zach Martin — who are solid offensive linemen. But they have to play their best on Saturday night. And Mike Golic (make NWC proud) has to play the best he’s ever played. This is not just to establish a running game for Atkinson, Riddick and Wood. I mean, Golson has to be given some time to throw the football, too.

    We have more talent at key positions like quarterback, wide receiver and running back (yes, running back. Bell is a machine but we’ve got more depth). They seem to have defense that can overwhelm our offensive line, making it very difficult for Golson to get the ball downfield.

    In the end, if Lombard, Cave, Martin, Watt and Golic get it done — and if our talented defense forces some turnovers — ND wins. I think they will but it’s not going to be a walk in the park.

    • irishfb05 - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:59 PM

      I agree with this. I think Manti’s teammates are going to play a great game for their leader. Our Oline should play well they played well for the most part all last season and this season against Navy so I suspect the Purdue game was just a bad game. Also Purdue played all man and loaded the box and that is hard to run against no matter who you are. When Everett lined up under center as opposed to shotgun and they ran the stretch play we ran the ball pretty decent.

      I agree our RBs are better. Bell is a beast but his strength is power and we know our linebackers have some problems in coverage, Calabrese, but we also know Calabrese hits like a ton of bricks so stopping the power run is our strength.

      Should be a good game but everyone is saying Sparty is legit but they beat a bad CM team and an overrated Boise team that literally replaced their entire defense barring one player.

      GO IRISH

      • wisner74 - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:01 PM

        fnc111 – I’ve only recently started to participate here, but I’ve got to say that I find myself disagreeing frequently with what you post. Would you rather have Davie, TW or Charlie? Don’t you think it’s pretty clear that BK is a major improvement over any of those guys? I’m not saying he’s a Holtz or Parseghian, but there’s a chance at least he’ll get there.

    • standingdomer - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:17 PM

      NWC! much Wampanoag love

      • runners00 - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:47 PM

        29 Wamp! Funny stuff. Me: 1990. You?

    • papadec - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:29 PM

      runners – thanks for the time & effort you put into this analysis. BUT, if the msu d-line is so damn good – why weren’t they more productive against two less than stellar teams, than the numbers you posted? It seems to me that everyone keeps downplaying how good Purdue’s d-line was – and ND found a way to beat Purdue. It seems to me that the Purdue & msu d-lines are about the same, in that they both have a beast that ND will have to contend with.

      • runners00 - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:46 PM

        They surrendered seven points last week and Boise couldn’t move the ball against them. That’s fairly impressive.

  9. seadomer - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Good stuff runners. I know a lot of us watch ND giving away matches that we were supposed to win and not putting in the fight on those “even” situations. I am speaking since the Davie era.

    The good news, we saw both situations addressed in Navy and Purdue respectively.

    On the games where odds are against us, I rarely see the underdog attitude of fighting every inch.

    Alas, for me, the season starts here if the team shows up and play mistake free (relatively, I give Manti a free pass as long as its worth it) I will really really really truly breathe after holding everything in for a looongg time.

    • 1historian - Sep 15, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      Gotta disagree with your last paragraph. I DON’T give the man a free pass and infinitely more important – HE doesn’t either.

      • nudeman - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:42 PM

        1histy
        Exactly

  10. chisports14 - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    I’m ready

    http://yetthir.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/lets-play/

    • seadomer - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:29 PM

      quick one on the marketing aspect of you “The shirt” comment. If its all green, there is little incentive to buy it every year. Alums like to show off their “aged to perfection”, not available to purchase NOW, ND clothing so that argument is not going to fly, trust me Hammes knows what they are doing

      • chisports14 - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:18 PM

        I understand why Hammes sells “The Shirt” like they do, but I think we need to evaluate the priorities. We are using the shirt as an object to raise funds for charity (no problem with that) but at the expense of a home field advantage of having the entire stadium in one color year after year.

        It’s discouraging when you see other schools able to pull this off every week yet ND just looks like an eclectic collection of people watching the game.

        I have friends who start for teams against Notre Dame. From their words, “Notre Dame Stadium is probably the 5th or 6th hardest place we have played in a true road game.”

  11. don74 - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    All of you on the east coast most likely have seen the exchange between Holtz and May. First Lou tells him in life, marriage and finance one always makes mistakes one can regret if you don’t use common sense. He then tells May he is simply bitter because he didn’t go to Notre Dame.

    Lou finishes up by saying there are two things he knows. Chalk up Navy as a win and chalk up MSU as a win.

    Too bad it hasn’t been that way in years but maybe, just maybe if we get the both of them in the same year the stars start to align. (or perhaps, the program really is getting better)

    Only 2 beers and I see 24-13 IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • mimefrog - Sep 15, 2012 at 8:10 AM

      When it comes to ND, May plays the grumpy old man and Holtz plays the eternal optimist. I kind of enjoy it …

      … I still hate May though.

  12. jimbasil - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    I’m sticking to my Irish and hope for an upset over MSU, but what sticks in my memory is ND not meeting the challenge of a big game against a tough opponent – USC, Stanford, FSU, UM last year.

    GO IRISH

  13. ndmsu2006 - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    The game tomorrow is going to define the rest of the season for Notre Dame. I’m ready to return to glory, this can be a great season if we play our best.

  14. yaketyyacc - Sep 15, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    posters, you all have well defined all the aspects of tonights game. the Notre Dame Football team will do us proud.
    T’eo may I add my prayers for the loss of your girlfriend and grandmother. Our Lady of Notre, Dame.
    if Jesus asks them why they should be admitted to heaven, all they have to say is Manti T’eo.

  15. 1historian - Sep 15, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    Have Masses said for the two people Manti lost.

    I’ve said many times over the last 2 years that we need a signature win. We need a good solid win over a team that we are

    • nudeman - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      1histy
      Exactly, #2

  16. 1historian - Sep 15, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    We need a good solid win over a team that we are NOT supposed to beat, preferably on the road in THEIR house so we can shut up THEIR fans.

    Listening to Brett Musburger makes my teeth itch, my nose run and gives me halitosis even thought I brush my teeth two or three times per quarter, but we all have to make sacrifices. I will try to find the game on the radio so I can spare myself those experiences but if it must be done – it must be done.

    Last week we won a game that we would have lost in 2011. There is a toughness about this team that the previous two didn’t have. It’s a very young team and many of the starters or first guys in are Kelly’s guys. If we win tonight I will think briefly back to the comment Kelly made last year about the guys he inherited from CW.

    This team is a work in progress.

  17. 1historian - Sep 15, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    Keith – do you hjave any idea when the pictures of

  18. 1historian - Sep 15, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Keith – do you have any idea when the pictures of THIS YEAR’S team are going to be posted in the roster section?

    • irish4006 - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      Give it a rest, dude! It has already surpassed the “does anyone know when fall practice starts” posts. What is this picture fetish you have?

  19. ndfaithful - Sep 15, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Game day is finally here! I can’t wait for what promises to be a great battle and showdown. Nice to have a top 20 game featuring the IRISH again!

    Can anyone on MSU slow down Tyler Eifert? I think he and Louis Nix are going to come up big today. God Bless Manti Te’o. God bless him. Golson comes out strong today under pressure. Helmets will crack today!

    GO GO GO GO GO GO GO IRISH!

    • mimefrog - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      Pumped me UP! Nice vid.

    • runners00 - Sep 15, 2012 at 4:02 PM

      Awesome!

  20. mbutch6 - Sep 15, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    How about this theory…
    We borrowed the Red Sox curse for a while. They can have it back.
    Keys to the game is our o-line and secondary. If Martin and Lombard contain Gholston and Golic doesn’t get abused again against a potential 1st round d-lineman (Cave had his fair share of abuse as well), I like our chances. Michigan State’s d-line may very well be better than Purdue’s. However, in my opinion, our o-line matches up better with Sparty’s d-line. I like our front 7 on defense to stop the run. Sparty will have to throw it. If our guys get a pick or 2 then watch out. Go Irish!

  21. halfwhitey - Sep 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    I’m predicting a huge Davonte Neal play.

    • halfwhitey - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      A positive one. For Notre Dame. Whew, that was close.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Sep 15, 2012 at 2:14 PM

        I will say it again Irish by 10. Teo will play like a man possessed tonight and his D will follow. We will ring Bell’s bell. Cierre will come back in a big way, you’ll see. You’ll all see.

      • nudeman - Sep 15, 2012 at 2:41 PM

        half and jersey
        Like the confidence and hope you’re both right.

  22. agoodmedium - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    At the 3:07 mark a man was born again!

    • ndfaithful - Sep 15, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      Sweet!

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