The Irish were thoroughly whipped 47-21 by a motivated, high-powered Michigan Wolverine team led by rising star Ron English's punishing defense.
Notre Dame was beaten so soundly that the word "exposed" is being used in some corners.
This is not what the Irish faithful were expecting from head coach Charlie Weis' squad in South Bend where anything less than a National Championship type season is met with calls for the coaches' dismissal.
Weis is trying to rally his troops for the meeting with Michigan State, knowing full well a loss in East Lansing will have the critics all over both his program and his job security.
"My confidence is not shaken one bit," said a defiant Weis to the media after the Michigan loss. "You've known me well enough by now that that's not a facade. I'm not a liar. I'm a very truthful person. 'Not shaken but stirred.' Remember that? I might be stirred, but it's not shaken," he laughed.
The coach says his team will have no problem getting its confidence back and will be ready for the prime time affair.
"Fortunately for us we have an opponent like Michigan State coming up. That really helps, to be honest with you. It helps having somebody of the caliber of Michigan State coming up because it gets their attention right off the bat."
Weis says his team understands the challenge that the Spartans pose.
"When you're playing with a team that just put a butt-kicking on Pittsburgh and they're riding high, they have a lot of confidence playing against us, they've had a little roll going against Notre Dame. There's a lot of factors that get the players' attention."
The Spartans have had plenty of success against the Irish sporting a 4-2 record in the last six meetings. State has won five straight at Notre Dame stadium and even planted the Spartan flag on the field in South Bend, an incident that infuriated the Irish faithful and fanned the flames of a bitter rivalry even further.
Weis even inferred that he will use the flag planting for motivation saying, "there's one incident" he'll use.
Still after a slow start, the Michigan State defense came up with a solid performance allowing the State offense to score 38 unanswered points against a good Pittsburgh team. The Spartans have the weapons on both sides of the ball to send the Irish to their second straight defeat and stamp themselves as a Big Ten upper division team.
A win over Notre Dame would bring MSU into the Big Ten opener against doormat Illinois 4-0 and set up a possible 5-0 showdown against crosstown rival Michigan, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Everything is set up for Michigan State to take advantage of a prime-time opportunity to show the nation it is a up-and-coming program. The only question is: Will they take advantage of it?