Michigan State Football: Score predictions vs. Notre Dame

Sep 2, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Felton Davis III (18) makes a catch in front of Furman Paladins cornerback Nick Miller (1) to score a touchdown during the first half at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 2, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Felton Davis III (18) makes a catch in front of Furman Paladins cornerback Nick Miller (1) to score a touchdown during the first half at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports /

Let’s take a look at our staff’s Week 3 Michigan State football score predictions against Notre Dame in South Bend.

Michigan State football’s biggest game of the non-conference season is approaching as the Notre Dame matchup is looming. The Spartans, ranked 12th in the latest AP Poll, will face off against the No. 18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Must Read: Michigan State vs. Notre Dame: 5 bold predictions

The last time these two teams met was 2013 and the Fighting Irish escaped with a huge 17-13 home victory, turning out to be Michigan State’s only loss of the season. Mark Dantonio will hope his team has better luck in the rivalry game Saturday, but the same success to end the year as the Spartans did in 2013.

Take a look at our staff score predictions and let us know what you think will happen in the comment section below.

Connor Muldowney: Tyler O’Connor is going to have a breakout game against one of the Spartans’ top rivals. Passing for 275 yards and three touchdowns should be enough to pull out a win in South Bend, but when LJ Scott’s ground attack is shut down, the Spartans will find it difficult to confuse the Fighting Irish secondary late in the game. Playing catch-up on the road against the Fighting Irish is never a positive sign, but the Spartans will even it up before a late Notre Dame field goal to win it.

Prediction: Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 34 (1-0 on the season)

Michael Briggs: Can Tyler O’Connor succeed where both Kirk Cousins and Connor Cook failed? Michigan State sure hopes so as the fifth-year senior QB aims to win on the road at Notre Dame Saturday, a feat his superstar predecessors could not achieve.

Much has been made of the Spartans’ lackluster season opening win over FCS foe Furman, but there were enough encouraging signs on both sides of the ball to offer MSU fans hope ahead of this rivalry game. Michigan State has found its next bell cow running back in L.J. Scott, who stepped up following co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner’s pleas for one back to break the three-way tie atop the depth chart.

The Spartans’ inexperienced receiving corps also showed promise, with senior Monty Madaris filling in nicely as the team’s go-to receiver even after leading returning receiver R.J. Shelton and sophomore threat Felton Davis left the game with injuries. The offensive line, while not dominant, opened holes for Scott and kept O’Connor mostly upright.

The Notre Dame defense, meanwhile, has been ravaged by suspensions and injuries in the secondary, unable to record a single sack and been an open door in red zone thus far; which tends to make a competent offense look like a very good one.

Defensively, Michigan State is in for a challenge, but not one it is overmatched for. Irish QB Deshone Kizer is a constant threat and will undoubtedly make plays against the Spartans. However, if MSU can limit the defensive pass interference calls that haunted its 2013 loss to the Irish and limit the deep ball, this game tilts in its favor.

I picked the Irish to win this game in my season preview, but they have looked more vulnerable than I expected two games in. Kizer has been impressive, but a blowout win over Nevada does not mask Notre Dame’s weak secondary, which will be a major factor in this game.

Michigan State wins a close one and erases its three-game losing streak to the Irish, eliminating Notre Dame from playoff contention.

Prediction: Michigan State 24, Notre Dame 20 (1-0 on the season)

Stephen Robb: I’ll be cheering for MSU Saturday, however, Notre Dame is a tall order not only for the defense, but also for the offense to keep the pace.

Texas set the pace against the Irish with a dynamic passing game. If Michigan State has a chance, then it’s resting on the decision-making and arm of Tyler O’Connor. Also, the defense will go as Darian Hicks (or whoever ends up in his place) and the defensive line goes.

The defensive line was a disappointment against Furman, however, it will play with a fire in their belly in this one. There is a reason why Mark Dantonio is looking to play more freshmen because Dantonio is searching for playmakers. It’s the reason Andrew Dowell is starting Saturday and why Auston Robertson and Kenney Lyke will most likely see the field.  

If this game was played at the end of the season then I would suggest a different outcome with a MSU win. However, MSU is still finding it’s stride on both offense and defense.

Notre Dame’s Kizer leads an explosive Irish offense and, no, Torii Hunter Jr. may not play, but it’s still a dangerous team. Both teams have much to prove in this game. I have less questions about Notre Dame Dame than I do about MSU. The Spartans will have to play a flawless game in order to have a chance to win. There were many mental mistakes against Furman and it may take a loss for MSU to wake up and take charge of its season.

Prediction: Michigan State 20, Notre Dame 27 (1-0 on the season)

Next: Michigan State vs. Notre Dame: 5 bold predictions

Andrew Erdman: Coming off the bye week, the Spartans should be healthy and well-prepared for their matchup against the Irish. Monty Madaris emerged as a reliable receiver against Furman and expect O’Connor to put more trust in him. The secondary is going to be tested and how they respond and adjust is going to be the key in this matchup. In the end, Kizer will be too much for the Spartan defense and will lead the Irish to victory.

Prediction: Michigan State 27, Notre Dame 31 (1-0 on the season)

Daniel Gottschalk: Although I counted this game as a loss before the season started, Notre Dame showed several vulnerabilities in its opening week loss against Texas. Tyler O’Connor has already shown the ability to knock off highly ranked opponents on the road and he will get another shot this week. It won’t be pretty, but MSU will be able to do just enough to come out of South Bend with the W, giving O’Connor a notch on his belt that Cook nor Cousins can claim.

Prediction: Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 28 (1-0 on the season)