After a lackluster performance against Furman in week one of the season. The Michigan State Spartans looked to find their identity and show if they had what it took to be considered a team to watch in the Big Ten for 2016.
After holding on as the Notre Dame offense found a wave to ride in the fourth quarter, the Spartans proved they had the right stuff to be watched going forward despite what happened on the opening kickoff.
After winning the toss, Michigan State deferred until the second half. A decision Spartan fans quickly questioned as Irish return specialist C.J. Sanders raced 65-yards for an apparent touchdown. But hold on….the Irish were called for holding and the return quickly restored the game back to 0-0.
But the Irish would still strike first when DeShone Kizer would run it in for a 14 yard score giving the Irish a 7-0 lead they would soon see fade.
Following an Irish turnover, Michigan State quarterback Tyler O'Connor would hit freshman standout Donnie Corley for a 38 yard scoring strike that resembled the catch the Kings High School product made last season in the state championship game to help his team win.
The Spartans would go for two and convert taking an 8-7 lead and never giving the Irish an advantage on the scoreboard the rest of the way.
Kizer would finish with 344 yards passing and two touchdowns in the air and on the ground before the game was over, but was rattled in the third quarter before working to bring the Irish back in the fourth quarter.
But the offensive stars of the night for the Spartans were O’Connor and Gerald Holmes.
Holmes, whose grandmother passed away on Friday, saw his first action of the season and responded with a 13 carry 100 yard game adding two rushing scores.
O’Connor would finish with 241 yards on 19 of 26 passing and two scores with solid protection provided by the Spartans offensive line not letting the Irish post a sack.
On defense Jon Reschke also made his first performance of the season count as he posted eight total tackles (6 unassisted) and caused one of the Irish turnovers.
After posting 15 points in the second quarter and coming out in the third with another 21 points the Spartans looked to be in the driver seat. However, the Irish responded the rest of the way scoring once late in the third quarter and twice in the fourth before giving the Spartans the ball back with 3:30 left in the game. The Irish could not stop the Spartans and time expired with the scoreboard showing the Spartans as victors 36-28 over the No. 18 ranked team in the country.