Special teams provide spark for Irish
An efficient ground game on the opening drive. A tough performance early from a hungry defense. And yes, turnovers. Two of them, giving the Fighting Irish a dozen on the year.
But freshman George Atkinson III gave the Irish a spark late in the first quarter, returning a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to go up 14-3.
The return was much needed after Michigan State got on the board with a 40-yard field goal, which the Spartans -- naturally -- were in position to do because of Tommy Rees' interception, which came one drive after a Rees fumble.
Rees has seven turnovers in seven quarters of football and must do a better job of protecting the ball if Notre Dame wants to escape with a victory. Fortunately for him, Cierre Wood has done a great job on the ground so far, going 57 yards on seven carries, including a touchdown on the opening drive.
ABOUT THIS BLOG
Powers is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997. He joined ESPNChicago in May 2009 and lives in Chicago.
Rittenberg joined ESPN.com in 2008 after four years at the Daily Herald, where he covered sports at Notre Dame, Northwestern, DePaul and several other colleges. He lives in Chicago and writes for the Big Ten blog.
Bennett joined ESPN.com in August 2008 after nine years at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., where he covered college sports and the University of Louisville beat. He lives in Louisville and writes for the Big Ten blog.
Fortuna joined ESPN.com in 2011 after working for MLB.com and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where he covered college sports. He grew up in New York and is a Penn State graduate. Fortuna's Notre Dame blog is here.
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