Sep 14, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Nick Hill (20) runs the ball during the first half in a game against the Youngstown State Penguins at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Mighigan State at Notre Dame: Key Matchup


Sep 7, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive lineman Louis Nix III (1) warms up prior to the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State is hitting the road for the first time this season after 3 home victories to start off the season. The trip to South Bend will be a telling trip as to where this Michigan State team can go this season. The offense finally exploded for 55 points, granted it was against Youngstown State, but it could give the offense the confidence it needed.

Notre Dame is a different monster than any opponent that the Spartans have faced this year. The perennial top 25 team is coming off a tough fought victory against lowly Purdue. The Irish boast a very stout defensive line and a balanced offensive attack led by quarterback Tommy Rees who to me looked impressive against Michigan. The stout defensive line is led by star defensive tackle Luis Nix and star defensive end Stephon Tuitt, the line is loaded with talent and will be a force to be reckoned with.

The key matchup for this game will the offensive line for Michigan State against the defensive line for Notre Dame. Its no secret that Michigan State likes to run the ball. The Spartans are averaging 209 rushing yards a game this season from 3 different running backs with different running styles. Jeremy Langford is the speed back who can break a run anytime he touches the ball. Riley Bullough is the big physical back who gets the tough yards. Nick Hill is a mix of the two, he has game breaking speed and the toughness to get the few extra yards. The offensive line for Michigan State hasn’t been at full strength yet this season. Fou Fonoti and Jack Allen, both are starters, have played sparingly while trying to get back from injuries. Even without these two starters, the offensive line has been pretty good so far this season, but they will be facing a big challenge this Saturday. The battle up front will be key for Michigan State. If the Spartans can’t establish the running game against the Irish, they could be in for a long game. The passing game for Michigan State has been inconsistent so far this season and opposing defenses will not be playing for the passing game. Early on in the game I expect Notre Dame to load up the box with 8 guys and try to force Michigan State to throw the ball. If the Spartans can’t find the consistent passing game, Notre Dame will be bringing blitzes all game long shutting down the running game. The offensive line is going to need to get a good push and open up some holes. The tight ends will also need to help block and allow the running backs to break a run outside into open space and get to the next level.

Looking to make the trek to South Bend? Michigan St. vs. Notre Dame tickets are still available for as low as $76. You can buy the “cheap seats, or you can spend $189 and in Section 8 right behind the Spartan bench.

Tags: Michigan State Football Notre Dame Football