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Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Michigan State Spartans Free Pick 9/21/13

Michigan State Spartans (3-0) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-1)

College Football: Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm (Notre Dame Stadium)

The Line: Notre Dame Fighting Irish -7 See the Latest Odds


The Michigan State Spartans will have their hands full on Saturday as the Spartans head to South Bend to face the Irish.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish improved their record to 2-1 on the year this past Saturday as the Irish defeated the Purdue Boilermakers 31-24.  The Irish had a bit of a scare as the Boilermakers were able to hang around with the Irish a little better than most expected, but in the end the Irish’s talent came through.  Notre Dame Quarterback Tommy Rees has been solid all season long, and that was no different on Saturday night against the Boilermakers.  Rees completed 20/33 for 309 yards and two scores, finishing the night with a QBR of 85.6.  The Irish did have problems on the ground against the Boilermakers, only rushing for 91 yards as a team, on 37 attempts.  Defensively the Irish were stout, giving up just 294 yards to Purdue’s offense.  There was some definite question as the season got going as to whether or not Rees was the answer at the quarterback position, but the Irish signal caller has played solid all season long and looks to finish out his career at Notre Dame strong.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Michigan State Spartans Free Pick 9/21/13

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans are 3-0 at this point of the season, although the Spartans haven’t exactly played the toughest of schedules to this point.  Michigan State is ranked 50th in the nation in scoring offense, putting up an average of 34 points per game, while allowing just 12 points per outing this season.  Michigan State’s latest victory came at the hands of Youngstown State.  The Spartans defeated the Penguins 55-17 in East Lansing on Saturday.  The Spartans put up an impressive 547 yards of offense against the Penguins.  The Spartans were able to remain very balanced on the day against Youngstown State, moving the ball for 270 yards through the air, and 277 on the ground.  The Spartans quarterback Connor Cook had an excellent day, completing 15/22 for 202 yards and four scores, giving Cook a QBR of 96.4 for the day.  Leading the Spartans on the ground was Hill, who carried the ball nine times for 83 yards.  Defensively the Spartans did what you are supposed to do against inferior competition, and that is completely shut them down.  The Penguins managed just 172 yards on the day against the Spartans, turning it over twice.

The Spartans are 7-3 against the spread in their last ten games on the road, and in Michigan State’s last nine games as an underdog; the Spartans are 7-2 against the number.  In the past three seasons, the Irish are 2-0 against the spread as a home favorite of 3.5-7 points.  The Spartans are 1-2 against the spread this season, while the Irish are 0-3 against the number on the year.

I have to take the Irish here.  Michigan State has improved after changing out quarterbacks, but Tommy Rees is on fire lately.  I really like the Spartans defense, and Sparty should be able to make some stops against the Irish attack, but I just don’t trust this Michigan State offense.  The Spartans should hang around for awhile, keeping things interesting, but I expect the Irish to pull away late and win by about 10 points or so.

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