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By: Connor Wilton
What just happened? I think that's the phrase a lot of Michigan State fans were saying after their dreadful performance against Notre Dame last night. Notre Dame dominated in every aspect of the game, defeating the Spartans 20-3. The loss was the first home defeat for the Spartans since 2009 where they fell to Iowa on the final play.
There are several people/aspects of the game you could criticize for that performance last night, but I think Notre Dame is just a better football team, plain and simple. This was the first true test for either team of the year. They both beat up on terrible teams in Navy and CMU, and then squeaked by against decent teams in Boise State and Purdue at home. With all the talk about MSU's fantastic front 7, no mentioned anything about Notre Dame's which is just as good if not better, than the Spartans. Manti Te'o is the best ILB in college football and proved it again yesterday. They prevented big gains from the MSU running game and constantly harassed Maxwell, sacking him 4 times.
The one thing that really confused/annoyed me this game was the play-calling from OC Dan Roushar. I thought he gave Maxwell no chance to spread the field in any way. The play-calling consisted of dump offs to Bell and quick slants to the receivers. They never took any shots down field or deep over the middle. Now, this might not necessarily be Roushar's fault, it could result from a lack of confidence from Maxwell. There were drops from the WRs again as well which certainty did not help Maxwell, but to throw the ball 45 times in a game and only gain 187 yards is horrendous.
Unfortunately, I could go on and on about how terrible MSU played, but there is no point. After the way the schedule was setting up, you could hear some MSU fans begin to whisper talks about a potential undefeated season. I, for one, thought it was possible but was worried about this ND game. It was pretty clear last night that Michigan State is by no means that good of a football team. Once again, give credit to Notre Dame. ND have tons of talent and could be in a the midst of a special season.
As disappointing and terrible the Spartan performance was last night, the Spartans need to realize what's still at stake. The goal is to win the Big Ten Championship and play in the Rose Bowl, and that goal was not affected one bit last night.