Crystal Ball Week 3

A year ago believed Michigan State was in for a special run during the 2010 college football season. We went out on a limb and predicted Mark Dantonio's team would go undefeated and took some ribbing from those who did not believe. In the end the Spartans went 11-1 during the regular season. How do we see Week Three working out against Notre Dame? We look into our Crystal Ball.

Notre Dame (Saturday September 17, 2011) Notre Dame Stadium

3:30 PM EST

ND 2010 Record: 8-5

Last Game Against Notre Dame: The 34-31 overtime victory over the Irish will be remembered for years to come and for many things.

On the field both teams played a tough and hard fought battle for four quarters only to see Mark Dantonio's gutsy "Little Giants" call give Michigan State a huge victory in front of 78,411 fans.

Little Giants
Pat Strang / Dave Berk,
Following the game things went from celebration to serious as Dantonio was taken to the hospital and word of him suffering a heart attack started to surface. The game was an instant classic in college football and the first battle between the former head coaches at Cincinnati went to Dantonio and the Spartans.

What We Expect This Year: Notre Dame will be well tested when the Spartans enter Notre Dame Stadium in week three of the season. While MSU will have battled Youngstown State and Florida Atlantic, Notre Dame will have faced South Florida and Michigan.

Brian Kelly's team in 2011 will be different than the one Spartan fans saw in 2010 as the defense and offense have continued their growth learning the system and showed growth during the final stages of the 2010 season. Now it will be time for them to show they have a full understanding of what is expected out of them as a whole.

The Irish were solid down the stretch last season and played the Spartans tough a year ago.

Look for this game to again be tough in the first two quarters. Last year's game saw both teams combine for 14 total points by halftime and then score a combined 51 points the rest of the way.

A year ago the Spartans used their running attack to gain 203 yards on the ground. If MSU can have their offensive line questions answered by week three, they could match this total and help Kirk Cousins find his receiving targets for some big plays.

However, Notre Dame showed down the stretch last season their defense is improving and with additional help along the front seven they should be even better this fall.

On offense the Irish enter the season with questions still remaining as to who will be their starting quarterback after they break camp. Most feel Dayne Crist will again be the starter by the time the Spartans travel to South Bend.

The Spartans did a great job in stopping the Irish from posting a rushing attack but did give up 369 yards in the air and with more weapons at his disposal look for Kelly to have his fast paced passing attack at full speed looking for any weakness in the Spartans back seven.

Notre Dame returns a solid veteran offensive line that will test the Spartans defensive front. If Jerel Worthy and company can apply pressure the Spartans will have a better chance of leaving South Bend with a victory.

Turnovers will be the key for both teams and while we do see another close game, we do not see another "Little Giants" play at the end.

This was one of the hardest games in our crystal ball predictions for this year. Crystal Ball Prediction: Spartans Lose 30-27 to the Irish

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