- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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On Sept. 21, Notre Dame will be looking to notch its first three-game winning streak against Michigan State since the Lou Holtz days (1987-94). The two will take a two-year break before meeting in East Lansing, Mich., on Sept. 24, 2016. Who are the biggest Sparty threats to another Irish win?
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Offense: Travis Jackson, C. The junior was hampered by injuries last season, starting just five games before going down with a broken leg and a knee injury. Now healthy, Jackson is on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy and will look to pave the way for a backfield that is without Le'Veon Bell. He had 10 knockdowns in five contests last year and started 10 games as a freshman in 2011, earning freshman All-America honors from Phil Steele and conference all-freshman honors from three different publications.
Defense: Max Bullough, LB. The three-year starter in the middle for the always-stout Spartan D has amassed 223 total tackles in 40 career games, including 21 for loss and 6.5 sacks. The Big Ten coaches named Bullough a first-team all-conference selection last season, with the media placing him on the second team. Bullough had a team-best 111 total tackles last season, including 12.5 for loss, to go with 2.5 sacks, one pick, four pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and one forced fumble. He led the team in tackles (89) in 2011, too, getting named second-team all-conference by the coaches and honorable mention by the media. Bullough's grandfather, Jim Morse, played halfback at Notre Dame under Terry Brennan from 1954-56. His uncle, also named Jim Morse, was a cornerback for the Irish under Dan Devine from 1976-77.