Spartans Key To Victory

Today is the day Spartan fans learn if the Spartans are ready for prime-time as they'll battle Notre Dame in South Bend. brings you the things we feel are key for the Spartans to bring back a victory over the Irish.

Last year's epic battle between Notre Dame and Michigan State will not soon be forgotten. However, it's a new season and a new set of teams that will take the field later today.

Michigan State has seen a steady start with two victories, while Notre Dame has been tested by a higher level of competition and seen mistakes place them at 0-2.

Here are our keys to a Spartan victory against Notre Dame.

CONTROL THE CROWD Irish fans know this game could be one that breaks the season for an upper tier bowl game. They'll be out and ready to support a team that has played well only to see mistakes derail the outcome. The faster the Spartans get out of the gate the more they'll take the crowd out of the game.

PRESURE THE QUARTERBACK Tommy Rees has shown the ability to be a cool but has also shown he's capable of making major mistakes in the red zone. If the Spartans front four can apply pressure on Rees and force him from the pocket they disrupt his rhythm and improve their chances of him making mistakes.

KNOW WHERE Michael Floyd IS AT ALL TIMES The senior wide receiver is playing his best football of his career and if not controlled he'll be a major reason the Spartans leave South Bend unhappy.

SLOW DOWN THE RUN GAME Over the years Brian Kelly coached teams have been considered pass-happy teams lighting up the scoreboard. Nevertheless, Kelly has used the run in the first two games and has seen Cierre Wood hit for over 100-yards in each game.

PROTECT Kirk Cousins The more time Cousins has in the pocket means the better chances the Spartans passing game will be a major factor in the outcome of the game. The Spartans have the weapons, but only if Cousins can set his feet and deliver a quality ball to his tight end and receivers.

SURPRISE THE IRISH After two games the Spartans have not shown much of what the new offensive attack presents. This will give them an element of surprise and they must be smart using it.

PLAY SMART Mistakes must be limited against the Irish if the Spartans are to be in position to win the game.

FLAWLESS SPECIAL TEAMS As fans know from last year's game, special teams can play a major role in the final outcome. Michigan State must be solid in all areas of the special teams game and not leave yards or points on the field.

RUN STRAIGHT AT THE IRISH DEFENSE The Spartans power running attack against the Irish 3-4 defensive scheme favors the Spartans. However, if Edwin Baker and company get too fancy trying to bounce everything outside, the Irish have the team speed to stop the Spartans run game.

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