In what seemed like déjà-vu all over again for No. 20 Notre Dame in East Lansing last night, quarterback Tommy Rees was called upon to relieve starter Everett Golson late in the fourth quarter against No. 10 Michigan State. This time, however, Rees was only needed for mop up duty as the Fighting Irish rolled to a 20-3 victory.
Notre Dame’s (3-0) Golson played the role of hero against the vaunted No.7 ranked Spartan defense (2-1) with precise passing (14 of 32, 178 YDs,1 TD)) and deft rushing (6 yard rushing TD). His blue and gold sidekicks, recently re-activated running back Cierre Wood (56 yards on 12 carries) and receivers TJ Jones (4 Recs, 59 Yds) and John Goodman (36 Yds, 1 TD), helped ensure the Fighting Irish of becoming the first team to score a touchdown on the green and white this season.
Michigan State (2-1) quarterback Andrew Maxwell was sacked four times and Heisman-hopeful running back Le’Veon Bell could not penetrate a Notre Dame defense that held the Spartans touchdownless. Notre Dame linebacker extraordinaire Manti T’eo carried not only his team on his back with 12 tackles and two broken-up passes but did so with a nagging sternum injury and a heart heavy with the recent losses of both his grandmother and girlfriend.
In a statement game in front of 75,000 green-and-white clad faithful to establish themselves as the King of the Big Ten Mountain this year, the Spartan’s effort was surprisingly futile.Their frustration could be summed up in a desperate backwards pass in the fourth quarter heaved by MSU running back Bell that was caught by a leaping T’eo for an interception.
The Fighting Irish hope to continue flying towards a BCS championship next week by taming the No.17 Wolverines of Michigan next Saturday in South Bend.