Looking for their first signature win of the 2017 season, the Fighting Irish traveled to East Lansing for the back-end of a home-and-home with the Michigan St. Spartans, before the rivalry’s home-and-home series gets put on pause until the 2026-2027 seasons.
The Fighting Irish came out swinging, jumping to a 14-0 lead on an offensive and defensive touchdown early in the first quarter. The Spartans threatened to make a game of it midway through the second quarter, but another timely forced turnover stopped them in their tracks, and the Fighting Irish took a 28-7 lead into halftime. The Irish would only score 10 more points in the second half, but with the defense keeping the Spartan offense in check, it was more than enough to get the job done, and leave East Lansing with an impressive win, and the Megaphone Trophy.
Key Fighting Irish Plays
1st Quarter – Brandon Wimbush 16 yard TD run. Notre Dame starts off their opening drive with five straight passes, including a 40 yard completion to St. Brown, before Wimbush takes it in himself to give the Irish a 7-0 lead.
1st Quarter – Julian Love 59 yard interception return for TD. Love makes a great play on the ball, jumping in front of the receiver, and once he sprints past a diving Lewerke at the 20 yard line, it’s a straight shot to the end zone and a 14-0 Irish lead.
2nd Quarter – Brian Lewerke fumble, forced by Greer Martini, recovered by Daelin Hayes at the MSU 24 yard line. Lewerke gets chased out of the pocket and Martini drills him, knocking the ball loose, and Hayes jumps on the ball, setting the Irish up with excellent field possession. Six plays later, Dexter Williams gets his first touchdown reception, giving the Irish a 21-0 lead early in the 2nd Quarter.
2nd Quarter – LJ Scott fumble at the goal line, forced by Shaun Crawford, recovered by Crawford in the end zone. If you blinked, you missed Crawford punching the ball loose from Scott just inches before he crosses the goal line, and then follows the ball diving on it in the end zone for a touchback. The Irish once again capitalize on the turnover, and six plays later, Dexter Williams runs the ball in for the touchdown. The Irish now have a 28-7 lead, which they’ll take into halftime.
3rd Quarter – Deon McIntosh 9 yard TD run. It’s early in the 3rd Quarter, but the game’s already feeling out of reach for MSU, so Notre Dame’s 8 play 62 yard TD drive on their first possession of the second half, giving them a 35-10 lead, seems like the final nail in Sparty’s coffin, and it pretty much is. The Spartans would get a garbage time touchdown, but the Irish would go on to win 38-18.
Fighting Irish Top Performers
Brandon Wimbush – His numbers against MSU may not jump out at you, but Wimbush’s performance in the game was probably his most complete performance to date. The knock on Wimbush the last two weeks had been his sub par play in the passing game, but against MSU, he got the Irish passing game rolling early, completing four of his first five passes before capping off that first drive with a 16 yard TD run. Wimbush looked poised in the pocket, completing 14 of 20 for 173 yards and 1 TD, with 52 rushing yards and 1 TD on 8 carries, as well.
Julian Love/Shaun Crawford – Through just four games this season, the Irish defense has come up with 9 turnovers, but none more pivotal than Love’s pick 6 and Crawford’s goal line forced fumble and recovery in this game against MSU; Love’s touchdown would give the Irish an early 14-0 lead and early momentum, while Crawford’s forced fumble and recovery led to a 14 point swing in Notre Dame’s favor, killing any momentum MSU had built up on that drive. Love would finish the game with 6 total tackles (2 solo, 4 assisted), the 59 yard pick six, and 1 PBU, while Crawford finished the game with 4 total tackles (1 solo, 3 assisted) and 1 FF and FR.
Next Up: The Fighting Irish take on the Miami (of Ohio) Redhawks at Notre Dame Stadium at 5:00 pm (2:00 pm PST)