Saturday, September 17, 2011
Notre Dame helmet stickers: Week 3
By Matt Fortuna
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A Fighting Irish win means more helmet stickers to go around. And there were several key contributors who stood out for Notre Dame in its 31-13 win over Michigan State.
Robert Blanton: His fourth-quarter interception and ensuing return sealed the deal for the Irish. Just as importantly, he had three big tackles for loss, and six overall, helping the Irish secondary respond from a dismal fourth-quarter performance a week ago.
Manti Te'o: The linebacker finished with a game-high 12 tackles, moving all over the field and helping the Irish limit MSU's ground game to 29 measly yards on 23 carries.
George Atkinson III: The Irish finally got a big special teams play, and it was the freshman who stepped up to deliver it. Right after Sparty cut the lead to 7-3 early, Atkinson returned the kickoff 89 yards for the score, helping the Irish keep their distance throughout the rest of the game.
Michael Floyd: The numbers aren't what they were in Weeks 1 and 2, but Floyd's 84 yards on six catches -- including the 200th of his career -- led the Irish. Often drawing two men on him, Floyd opened things up for the rest of the Irish offense, as Tommy Rees spread the ball around much more efficiently his third time around.
Harrison Smith: Eight tackles, a near-pick at the end of the game and setting the tone for the defense throughout the week as the team's lone season captain earns Smith this sticker. Smith seemed to dictate the mentality of the unit in getting Notre Dame its first win of the season.