First Notre Dame Drive/3rd Quarter
Breakdown: The Irish began from their own 26-yard line following a 56-yard touchdown burst by Spartans running back Edwin Baker. Skill position starters for the half include Michael Floyd, Theo Riddick, T.J. Jones, Kyle Rudolph and Armando Allen. The offensive line (from left to right): Zack Martin, Chris Stewart, Braxston Cave, Trevor Robinson and Taylor Dever. Dayne Crist remained at quarterback throughout the contest.
- (1st and 10 at the ND 26-yard line): Crist eludes a delayed blitz by Spartans MLB Greg Jones but bounces a pass in the left flat t an open Armando Allen. Crist struggled to throw rolling to his left throughout the contest.
- (2nd and 10 at the ND 26-yard line): Crist completes his pet play: a short out to a slotted Kyle Rudolph, this time for 14 yards to the ND 40-yard line.
- (1st and 10 at the ND 40): Crist hits Allen for 8 yards on another out from the right slot. Allen fumbles at the end of the run but recovered on a fortunate bounce into his body.
- (2nd and 2 from the ND 48)): A bubble screen to Theo Riddick on the far side (left) gains 19 yards. Riddick made one man miss downfield for an extra 7 yards on the play.
- (1st and 10 from the MSU 34-yard line): Riddick records his best career catch: a leaping, one-handed stab of a Crist seam route for 24 yards. Riddick froze the underneath zone with a hard step inside before running uncovered down the right seam.
- (1st and G from the MSU 10-yard line): The Irish take advantage of a brutal one-on-one mismatch: strong safety Marcus Hyde vs. Kyle Rudolph running a fade to the wide side. The rolling pitch-and-catch goes for a tying touchdown with relative ease as both outside Irish receivers ran decoy short slants underneath man coverage. That's a touchdown 9 out of 10 times for Crist and Rudolph.
Drive Summary: Crist responded to his worst throw of the day on the opening play with his best drive: connecting on five straight passes for 76 yards and the tying score. Riddick continues his breakout effort. When the former running back becomes more comfortable with ball adjustments, he'll be a nightmare to cover.
Second Notre Dame Drive/3rd Quarter
Breakdown: Trailing 21-14 after an 11-play, 73-yard scoring drive by the Spartans, the Irish began the drive from their own 23-yard line, but a false start penalty on LT Zack Martin backed the offense to the 18, facing 1st and 15 with 5:45 remaining in the 3rd. Cierre Wood entered the game for Armando Allen at tailback
- (1st and 15 from the ND 18-yard line): Riddick catches a well-timed slant in stride from Crist, running through tackles for a 16-yard gain and an Irish first down. Riddick in space, with confidence = improvement for the Irish offense.
- (1st and 10 from the 34-yard line ): Cierre Wood gains the minimum two yards on a sweep to the left side as and Chris Stewart (pancake) executes his pulling block in space though Braxston Cave missed in tandem with Kyle Rudolph, who lost his seal vs. DE Colin Neely on the outside and an unblocked Marcus Hyde helped finish off Wood for the short gain. Wood might have had a cutback inside
- (2nd and 8 from the 36-yard line ): Crist hits Riddick on a quick square out two yards beyond the line of the scrimmage to the far sideline. The sophomore then deked the first would-be tackler with a ridiculous double-move in space before gaining 9 extra yards down the right sideline.
- (1st and 10 from the ND 47-yard line): Floyd secures a perfect slant pass front Crist, in stride, for 11 more yards. Reminiscent of last year's tosses from Clausen on the same pattern to Golden Tate.
- (1st and 10 from the MSU 42-yard line ): Wood gains nothing on a stretch run to the wide (left side). LT Zack Martin abandoned Wood on the edge, neglecting to block the only defender (Johnny Adams) between the Irish runner and 40 yards of greenery. Martin instead chose to double-team linebacker Chris Norman whom Michael Floyd had already secured with a crack back.
- (2nd and 10 from the MSU 42-yard line): Another Crist to Rudolph completion, this time for a simple hook route inside. Rudolph's momentum and strength allows four yards after the catch on the 11-yard play.
- (1st and 10 from the MSU 31-yard line): Crist bounces another pass on a roll to the left, this time intended for T.J. Jones. The incompletion broke a 9 for 9 streak for Crist in the 3rd Quarter.
- (2nd and 10): Crist is dropped for a 6-yard loss on an up-the-gut blitz from Greg Jones. Braxston Cave whiffed badly in a late attempt to get to Jones.
- (3rd and 16 from the MSU 37-yard line): A sideline toss to Michael Floyd in one-on-one coverage sails deep but Spartans coverman Johnny Adams is called for an obvious hold, giving the Irish 10 yards and an automatic first down.
- (1st and 10 from the MSU 27-yard line): Allen gains 9 yards on a flair to the right side, gaining an extra 3 yards with a shake and foray into four defenders.
- (2nd and 1 from the 18-yard line): The Irish (waste) an advantageous down-and-distance situation, throwing a two-yard bubble screen to Rudolph to ensure a new set of downs.
- (1st and 10 from the 16-yard line): Crist drills a 15-yard touchdown strike to Riddick on a quick post for the sophomore's first career touchdown. Perfect timing on the pass as Spartans safety Marcus Hyde was late (and tentative) helping across the hash.
Drive Summary: Crist completed 7 of 8 for 75 yards and a score, hitting Riddick three times for 42 yards in the set.
Third Quarter Observations:
- Crist was 12-14 for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the third quarter, missing only on two rolling throws to the left flat.
- If the Irish ever get Riddick, Floyd and Tai-ler Jones to show up on the same Saturday, look out (Jones played well vs. PU and UM while Riddick broke through Saturday). Floyd has played below his lofty standards to date this season.