Notre Dame running back Travis Thomas scores a touchdown against Michigan State during the first quarter. This was Notre Dame's first touchdown of the season. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Irish Defeated By Spartans, 31-14

Sept. 22, 2007

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Brian Hoyer threw four touchdown passes and Javon Ringer rushed for 144 yards to lead Michigan State to a 31-14 victory over Notre Dame.

Michigan State (4-0) became the first opponent to win six in a row at Notre Dame Stadium, and got some revenge for last year’s stunning Fighting Irish comeback in East Lansing.

The Spartans blew the game open with a pair of third-quarter TDs, a 16-yard catch by Mark Dell and a 30-yard catch by Kellen Davis on a fourth-and-2 play to make it 31-14. Davis also had a 3-yard TD catch and Devin Thomas had a 7-yard scoring catch.

Notre Dame finally found some offense, scoring two TDs and finishing in the black in yards rushing for the first time this season, but the Irish defense was woeful.

Notre Dame finally scored its first offensive touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run by Travis Thomas to cap a 9-yard drive in the first quarter. The score was setup by a Michigan State fumble.

Notre Dame later added an 80-yard scoring drive highlighted by a 43-yard run by James Aldridge.

The Irish offense, which was the worst in the country through three games, was led by James Aldridge, who ran for 104 yards on 18 carries. The Irish ran for 117 yards; Michigan State 219 yards.

Last season, Brady Quinn led the Irish back from a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter and Notre Dame pulled out a 40-37 victory.

This season it was the Michigan State quarterback who was the star.

Hoyer was 11-of-24 passing for 135 yards as the Spartans amassed 354 yards total offense. Jehuu Caulcrick added 83 yards rushing for the Spartans.

Freshman Jimmy Clausen was 7 of 13 passing for 53 yards for Notre Dame. Evan Sharpley, who played the fourth quarter, was 4-of-7 passing for 33 yards. The Irish, who had given up 23 sacks through their first three games, were sacked four times by the Spartans. MSU defensive end Jonal Saint-Dic sacked Clausen for a 17-yard loss and stripped the ball from the quarterback.

The Spartans took command in the second half, sparked by a 52-yard kickoff return by Thomas after intermission. After Hoyer kept the drive alive on a 19-yard completion to Thomas on third-and-17, he threw his third TD pass of the game. The Spartans scored again two possessions later to put the game away.

The Irish played their best game of the season, but just couldn’t keep up. They have now scored 27 points through four games – the third fewest ever in school history. The 1933 team managed just 12 points and the 1928 team coached by Knute Rockne scored 25.

Notre Dame scored both of its touchdowns in the first half and trailed 17-14 at halftime. The first came on a short drive after Hoyer fumbled the snap and Irish defensive end Trevor Laws recovered. The second touchdown came on a 3-yard run by Robert Hughes.