Saturday, September 17, 2011
Halftime: Notre Dame 21, Michigan State 10
By Matt Fortuna
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Here's a look at the first half, which closes with the Fighting Irish leading the Spartans 21-10 after a fake field goal try that this time didn't go MSU's way.
Stat of the half: 13. Notre Dame has held MSU to 13 yards on the ground on 14 carries, bottling up Edwin Baker and getting pressure on Kirk Cousins. The problem, of course, has been stopping the intermediate throws.
Best player in the half: Cierre Wood. The running back has set the tone on offense for the Irish, carrying the ball nine times for 64 yards and two scores. The Irish will rely more on him and Jonas Gray playing with a lead in the second half.
What Notre Dame needs to do: The Irish need to continue to pressure Cousins, who has taken some nasty hits in the first half. Aaron Lynch has gotten through MSU's offensive line several times and delivered a few blows himself.
What team Michigan State needs to do: The Spartans have done a solid job on Michael Floyd so far, limiting him to three catches and 45 yards, with one catch accounting for 33 of those yards. But MSU needs to keep getting the ball to its main threat, B.J. Cunningham. He has four catches for 64 yards so far and has been all over the field, causing problems for the Irish defense. He'll become a more important weapon with MSU playing from behind.