SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 17: Cierre Wood #20 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rushes past William Gholston #2 of the Michigan State Spartans to score a touchdown during the first half September 17, 2011at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)

Notre Dame Vs. Michigan State Final Score: Irish Finally Hang On, 31-13

After a pair of teeth-gnashing losses, Notre Dame managed a comfortable victory against rival Sparty.

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Michigan State Vs. Notre Dame Final Score: Irish Get A Win, Beat Michigan State 31-13

At some point in the fourth quarter, even Notre Dame fans had to start feeling comfortable. After all, they had watched the Irish cough up a late lead last week against Michigan, so they were probably a bit more cautious than usual about assuming that the game had been won. But at some point -- maybe when they took a 31-13 lead? -- even the most nervous of fans had to think the Irish had it won.

A statistically dominating win, it wasn't. The best player on the field numerically was Kirk Cousins, who carved up the Notre Dame secondary as part of a 34-for-53, 329-yard day. Cousins had a touchdown and an interception on the day. His favorite target was B.J. Cunningham, who caught 12 balls for 158 yards. But it wasn't enough to overcome Notre Dame's shutting down of the running game; the Spartans managed only 29 yards on 23 carries, a 1.3 yard average.

Notre Dame's numbers on offense were more modest. Tommy Rees was 18-of-26 for 161 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Irish ran for 114 yards on 32 carries. But it was enough for a win, which is all that really matters for Notre Dame after a rough couple of weeks.

For more on this game, head to Notre Dame blog One Foot Down and Michigan State blog The Only Colors, plus SB Nation Detroit.

 


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Notre Dame Vs. Michigan State Halftime Score: Cierre Wood Gives Irish The Edge

I don't know how to put this, so let's just come out and say it. For the second week in a row, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a Michigan team on the ropes. I don't mean to make certain implications about what might happen in the second half against the Michigan St. Spartans, but a 21-10 lead feels pretty good against a team that lacks Denard Robinson, doesn't it?

Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood has a pair of touchdowns and 64 yards, making him Notre Dame's most effective weapon so far. Tommy Rees has been picked off, but otherwise has missed only thrice in his 11 attempts.

Sparty is struggling on third down, converting only two of seven and failing on a fourth-down try. Neither team has been explosive on offense, but MSU's difficulties have them averaging more than a yard less per play than Notre Dame is. 

For more on this game, head to Notre Dame blog One Foot Down and Michigan State blog The Only Colors, plus SB Nation Detroit.

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Michigan State Vs. Notre Dame Score: Irish Lead 14-10 Despite Early Turnovers

It looked like Notre Dame isn't going to take any chances of an interesting game this week. Despite some early hiccups, the Fighting Irish took an early 14-3 lead against Michigan State as the first quarter drew to a close. But then they let the Spartans back in the game.

Notre Dame has already turned over the football twice, but Michigan State struggled to capitalize. All but 11 of their 36 yards of total offense in the first quarter came on a catch by B.J. Cunningham at the end of the frame. The Spartans had minus-1 yards rushing on eight attempts in the first fifteen minutes.

The Fighting Irish have spent their time scoring on big plays. Cierre Wood has a 22-yard touchdown run, part of his 57 yards so far. The other Notre Dame touchdown came on an 89-yard kickoff return by Kevin Muma following Michigan State's 40-yard field goal by Dan Conroy.


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But Michigan State showed signs of life on its last drive, going 80 yards on 11 plays to cut the deficit to 14-10 early in the second quarter.

For more on this game from the Notre Dame side, visit One Foot Down. The Michigan State perspective is at The Only Colors. And stay here at our college football Saturday stream for all the scores and news.

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Michigan State Vs. Notre Dame Game Time, TV Schedule, Spread And More

In serious jeopardy of starting the season 0-3, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish welcome the 15th-ranked Michigan State Spartans to South Bend on Saturday.

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