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Michigan State vs. Notre Dame 2016: Start time, live stream, TV schedule and 3 things to know

The Spartans visit Notre Dame Stadium.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 Michigan State and No. 18 Notre Dame play in South Bend on Saturday. It's the 78th all-time meeting between the two schools, coming as the Irish ride a three-game series winning streak. MSU hasn't beaten them since a 34-31 win in East Lansing in 2010, and the series paused for two years after 2013. Now it's back, and it should be good.

The Spartans are still figuring out how to best navigate a post-Connor Cook world. Beyond their former quarterback, most of the biggest pieces from last year's Big Ten champion are still in place, but things were rocky in their only game so far. They beat Furman 28-13 but allowed the Paladins, an FCS team, to stay sort of close well into the second half.

Notre Dame lost a heartbreaker at Texas in Week 1, then crushed Nevada at home last weekend. The Irish struggled with a two-quarterback system in their opener, but DeShone Kizer has now emerged as Brian Kelly's guy.

A College Football Playoff trip isn't out of the question for either of these teams, but both need to pile up some quality wins. Here's as good a chance as any, for either.

How to watch, stream and listen

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC. The broadcasters are Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Doug Flutie (analyst) and Kathryn Tappen (sideline).

Radio: MSU and Notre Dame

Online streaming: NBC Sports

Spread: Notre Dame opened as a 7-point favorite.

Make friends: Get to SB Nation’s team blog chats for this game at The Only Colors (for Spartans fans) and One Foot Down (for Irish fans).

Three big things to know

1. A big moment for Tyler O'Connor. Michigan State's new starting quarterback has big shoes to fill after Cook's excellent three-year run in that job. O'Connor did fine against Furman, but Notre Dame's a completely different beast. Some good news, maybe: The Irish have struggled in pass defense through two weeks. They're allowing successful plays on 44 percent of opposing pass plays (97th in the country) and 9.1 yards per attempt (9.1). Even in defeat, Nevada averaged a decent 7.7 yards per attempt against them.

2. Michigan State might've settled on one runner. Notre Dame's got a tricky defensive front to crack, even if Texas' Tyrone Swoopes did it with apparent ease two weeks ago. Michigan State spent last season rotating between three feature backs: LJ Scott, Madre London and Gerald Holmes. One of the noteworthy things about the Spartans' opener was that Scott took 20 carries, London took five and Holmes didn't get any. For now, it looks like Scott's set himself well apart, but it's worth watching whether Mark Dantonio shifts back toward a more committee-oriented attack.

3. The coaching circle of life. One coach wouldn't be here without the other, arguably. Dantonio was the head coach at Cincinnati from 2004-06, before he left for East Lansing. Kelly replaced him at Cincinnati and went on a really good three-year run, at which point Notre Dame hired him away. So this is a Bearcats Bowl, of sorts.

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