Halftime update: Michigan State 10, Notre Dame 0
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The good news is I'm still awake after watching one of the least exciting halves of this young football season. But Michigan State will make no apologies.
The Spartans are 30 minutes away from posting their second consecutive shutout. After struggling to stop Cal running backs Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen in the season opener, Michigan State has shored up its defensive front and is starting to reflect its defensive-minded head coach, Mark Dantonio. Michigan State's front seven has completely shut down the run, forcing Jimmy Clausen into pressure situations. The Notre Dame sophomore quarterback has thrown two interceptions and easily could have one or two more. Of Notre Dame's 111 first-half yards, 54 came on two plays.
I'm fairly convinced that for the second straight year, Notre Dame has no idea how to block. The Irish can't run the ball, screen passes take forever to develop and Clausen has been under pressure the entire game (sacked twice). Aside from deep passes to talented young wideouts Golden Tate and Michael Floyd, the Irish offense has very few options.
Spartans senior safety Otis Wiley is the obvious pick for first-half MVP. Anchoring a secondary missing two potential starters -- Kendell Davis-Clark and Roderick Jenrette -- Wiley has made plays all over the field, recording his third and fourth interceptions of the season. Defensive end Brandon Long also has come up big with 2.5 tackles for loss, and linebacker Greg Jones continues to impress.
The concern for Michigan State remains senior quarterback Brian Hoyer, who completed just 5 of 14 passes in the half. His receivers haven't helped him out a lot, but that percentage won't cut it against better teams. Aside from a fumble, running back Javon Ringer has been typically solid, racking up 82 yards on 18 carries. I still think the burnout factor could come into play for Ringer later in the season if Hoyer doesn't start playing better.
Both teams' struggles to move the ball was best illustrated on the game's only touchdown drive. Michigan State needed nine plays to go only 22 yards and scored as Ringer barely got the ball across the goal line.
At least Sparty the Spartan, who's wearing a sombrero for some reason, seems to be enjoying himself. Here's hoping for some more highlights after halftime.
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State