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Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan
Notre Dame is after its first 3-0 start since 2002 but will have to snap a nine-game losing streak against Top 10 teams to achieve it when it visits No. 10 Michigan State on Saturday. The No. 19 Fighting Irish haven’t defeated a Top 10 team since toppling Michigan in 2005 and are 2-11 on the road against Top 10 foes over the past 16 seasons. Michigan State has won 10 of the last 15 meetings but didn’t fare well last season when it lost 31-13 in South Bend. The Spartans figure to ride bell-cow back Le’Veon Bell against the Irish, but the Michigan State star had only 27 rushing yards against Notre Dame last season.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (2-0): Sophomore quarterback Everett Golson will start despite the fact junior Tommy Rees came off the bench to lead Notre Dame to a game-winning field goal – sophomore Kyle Brindza’s 27-yarder with 7 seconds left – in a lackluster 20-17 victory over Purdue last Saturday. Golson completed 67.3 percent of his passes in the first two games. Senior Cierre Wood is back in the mix at running back after missing the first two games because of a suspension. Wood rushed for 1,186 yards and nine touchdowns last season and will share carries with senior Theo Riddick (160 yards, 4.7 average). Senior inside linebacker Manti Te’o is off to a terrific start with a team-best 18 tackles to go with an interception and fumble recovery. Sophomore defensive end Stephon Tuitt already has four sacks.
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (2-0): Bell has 280 rushing yards and opened the season with a career-high 210 yards against Boise State. Junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell got going in last Saturday’s 41-7 rout of Central Michigan by passing for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted three times against Boise State in his first career start. The highly regarded defense ranks eighth in total defense (225.5 yards per game), 11th in rushing defense (54.5) and tied for 12th in scoring defense (10.0). Junior middle linebacker Max Bullough has a team-leading 11 tackles and junior defensive end William Gholston has the team’s lone sack.
1. Notre Dame leads the series 46-28-1 and has an 18-15-1 edge in games played in East Lansing.
2. Michigan State has won 15 consecutive home games – the fourth-longest active streak in the country.
3. The series traditionally features close games with nine of the last 12 encounters being decided by seven or fewer points.