Notre Dame Football News and Notes: Pre-Michigan State Edition

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As we head into a pretty huge game for Notre Dame football under the lights on Saturday night, here are some ND news, notes, nuggets and tidbits. The Irish are ranked #18, while Michigan State is #12 in the latest AP poll, yet it’s the Spartans who are the underdogs, with most spreads around 7.5 points.

-Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio started 3-1 against Notre Dame.

He has since lost the last three meetings with the Fighting Irish. You can bet Dantonio will use the substantial underdog status as motivation for this one. 

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-Brian Kelly finally did the right thing and eventually made the right call with his quarterback situation. DeShone Kizer is the man, and he was superb as ND rolled right over group of 5 opponent Nevada. Having Kizer playing well and not looking over his shoulder, Kelly likes the chances of his Notre Dame football team.

“We have a really good quarterback; I don’t know if you guys know that. It’s a good thing to have when you go into a game like Michigan State. As long as we continue to evolve defensively, I think we’ve got a fighting shot at anybody we play,” said Kelly. 

-Pass defense is the weakness of this Notre Dame football team; that’s well known. The secondary is quite vulnerable and unfortunately for ND, the unit keeps getting thinner and thinner.

-Cornerback Shaun Crawford suffered a torn Achilles tendon early in the Nevada game. The sophomore, who was really expected to be a huge contributor and do big things this season, will now miss the rest of the year. Crawford missed all of last season with a torn ACL , so you can’t help but feel for the kid.

If you have a heart at all for college football players, your heart must bleed for this guy.

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-Another cornerback, Devin Butler remains suspended indefinitely, Kelly said Sunday night. Butler’s suspension stems from an August incident which resulted in Butler now facing two felony charges of resisting law enforcement and battering a police officer. Butler, who also has an injured left foot, has pleaded not guilty.

-Safety Max Redfield was dismissed from the team during preseason camp after his arrest on gun and drug charges the very same day as Butler’s incident. 

-Junior cornerback Nick Watkins is recovering from a fractured left arm that he suffered during spring workouts. Kelly said he will undergo an X-ray this week, which will determine whether or not Watkins will take a medical red-shirt this season.

-Basically the secondary is veterans Cole Luke and Drue Tranquill, and then a bunch of very inexperienced sophomores and true freshman seeing time. Safety Avery Sebastian is a veteran, but he’s not a guy who was expected to be this high on the depth chart entering the season.

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-It remains to be seen whether or not Michigan State has the passing game to exploit this holes or not. New starting quarterback Tyler O’Connor and company looked very unimpressive in their 23-13 season opening win over lowly FCS opponent Furman. Of course, Dantonio teams often start slowly and finish strong.

Also, the Spartans had a rare, odd bye in week two so they’ve had more time to prepare for this one than usual.

-Saturday night marks the 50th anniversary of the 1966 “Game of the Century;” the famed 10-10 tie between the two teams. The last ten MSU-ND match-ups have been decided by an average of 1.3 ppg.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.

He also consistently appears on numerous radio and television talk shows all across the country. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and Sound Cloud.

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