Sept. 20, 2008

Recap | Final Stats

Michigan State won the coin toss and elected to defer. The Irish will receive and the Spartans will defend the South end zone.

The game was sold out. It was the 66th sellout in the last 73 road games for the Irish. The only non-sellouts include the 2001-07 games at Stanford, the 2004 game vs. Navy (The Meadowlands), the 2005 game at Washington and the 2006 game at Air Force.


  • Drop the Irish to 2-1 on the season.
  • Deny Notre Dame its first 3-0 start since 2002 and just its second over the last 12 years.
  • Deny the Irish a five-game winning streak dating back to last season.
  • Deny Notre Dame its third winning streak of five games or longer under Weis.
  • Deny the Irish their ninth all-time season sweep of Michigan and Michigan State.
  • Mark the 10th time in school history the Irish has split the two meetings with the Spartans and Wolverines.
  • Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record to 8-3 (.727) against the Spartans the week following a victory over Michigan.
  • Drop Notre Dame to 44-27-1 (.618) in the all-time series with Michigan State.
  • Drop the Irish to 18-14-1 (.561) in the all-time series with the Spartans in East Lansing.
  • Drop an unranked Irish squad (post 1932) to 7-10 (.412) all-time against Michigan State (would be just the fourth loss in the last 11 such meetings).
  • Drop an unranked Notre Dame squad to 3-3 (.500) all-time against Michigan State in Spartan Stadium.
  • Snap the three-game winning streak for the Irish in Spartan Stadium.
  • Drop Notre Dame to 6-5 (.545) all-time against Michigan State when both teams are unranked.
  • Drop Notre Dame to 3-2 (.600) all-time against Michigan State in Spartan Stadium when both teams are unranked.
  • Drop Notre Dame to 217-112-15 (.653) all-time against the Big Ten Conference.
  • Drop the Irish to 95-71-9 (.597) all-time on the road against the Big 10 Conference.
  • Drop Notre Dame to 82-48-4 (.627) all-time against schools from the state of Michigan.
  • Drop Weis’ record to 24-16 overall (.600), 1-3 (.250) against Michigan State and 6-8 (.429) against the Big Ten Conference.
  • Drop Weis’ overall road record to 10-5 (.667) and his road record against the Big Ten Conference to 3-4 (.429).
  • Drop Weis’ record to 9-8 (.529) in September games.
  • Drop Weis’ record to 17-13 (.567) in afternoon games.
  • Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record to 826-279-42 (.738).
  • Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record on the road to 289-138-22 (.690).


  • Freshman LB Steve Filer made his Notre Dame debut on the opening kickoff. Filer is the eighth true freshman to play for the Irish through the first three games. Filer joins OC Braxston Cave, WR Michael Floyd, DE Ethan Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph, DB Robert Blanton, LB Darius Fleming and OG Trevor Robinson.
  • Michael Floyd’s touchdown reception in the fourth quarter was the ninth TD for the Irish this season. Eight of the nine Notre Dame scores have come from either freshmen or sophomores.
  • Freshman WR Michael Floyd (seven receptions for 86 yards) and sophomore WR Golden Tate (five receptions for 83 yards) combined for 12 receptions, 149 yards and one touchdown. Add in sophomore HB Armando Allen (five receptions for 20 yards) and freshman TE Kyle Rudolph (two catches for 29 yards), Irish freshmen and sophomores combined for 19 catches and 198 yards on the afternoon.

Sophomore DS Harrison Smith picked up his first career start. Smith, who made his Irish debut in the season opening victory over San Diego State, did not start either of the first two games (Notre Dame opened in nickel each game), but saw significant playing time.

Michigan State scored 10 points in the opening half to grab a 10-0 lead thanks to a poor Notre Dame punt and an Irish turnover. The Spartans’ two scoring drives were 24 and 22 yards, respectively. The 22-yard touchdown scoring drive, which took nine plays, started following a Jimmy Clausen interception.

Michigan State RB Javon Ringer entered today’s game against Notre Dame averaging 4.8 yards per carry and 166.0 yards per game. The Irish defense kept him in check, allowing just 124 yards on 32 carries (just 3.9 per rush) before Ringer ripped off a 63-yard burst and capped the long run with a one-yard scoring plunge late in the fourth quarter. On that game-sealing drive, Ringer rushed seven times for 77 yards.

Notre Dame entered the game ranked eighth in the NCAA allowing just 0.60 yards per punt return. The Irish, which allowed 7.44 yards per return in 2007, continued its stellar coverage against Michigan State. Notre Dame punted five times in the game and allowed just 10 total yards of returns.

The Irish pass defense limited their first two opponents to just over 55% completion percentage entering. Notre Dame improved upon that average after holding Michigan State starting quarterback Brian Hoyer to just 46.2% (12-for-26) on the afternoon.

While Notre Dame took advantage of six Michigan turnovers in last week’s victory, the Irish were victimized by three of their own against Michigan State. Notre Dame threw a pair of interceptions, one in the Spartans’ end zone and another inside the Irish 25-yard line, and also fumbled at the MSU 25-yard line after marching down the field. Michigan State turned those three turnovers into 10 points.

Notre Dame entered the game just 6-for-24 (25.0%) on third down, but managed to convert nearly 50% (6-for-13) on the day.


  • The seven points are the fourth-fewest for an Irish team under Weis.
  • The 16 rushing yards were the fifth-fewest in the Weis era.
  • The 16 first downs by Michigan State were the ninth-fewest under Weis.


  • Michigan State is the first home team in the series to win since Michigan State in 2000.
  • The three combined first quarter points between the two rivals were the fewest in an opening quarter since the Spartans held a 3-0 lead after the first quarter of the 2001 meeting (the teams combined to average 16.0 points the previous five meetings in the opening quarter)
  • Notre Dame was the first team to be held scoreless in the opening half of the series since Michigan State was blanked in the first half of the 1987 meeting (Irish lead 24-0)
  • The Irish had not been held scoreless in the opening half by Michigan State since the 1975 meeting (when the Spartans and Notre Dame were scoreless at intermission)
  • Notre Dame was blanked by the Spartans through the first three quarters, also a first in the all-time series since that 1975 meeting
  • The seven points scored by the Irish are the fewest against Michigan State since a 23-7 loss in 1997.

Armando Allen, So., TB

  • Registered a career-best 53-yard kickoff return late in the fourth quarter (the longest in the Weis era)
  • It is the longest kickoff return for a Notre Dame player since Vontez Duff returned one 92 yards for a touchdown against Navy on Nov. 9, 2002.
  • Jimmy Clausen, So., QB

  • The touchdown pass from Clausen to Floyd gave him six on the season, 12 in the last six games and 13 for his career
  • Maurice Crum, Jr., Sr., LB

  • Recorded the 40th consecutive start of his career
  • Just one of eight players in the NCAA FBS to own a starting streak of at least 40 games
  • Steve Filer, Fr., LB

  • Became the eighth different Irish true freshman to see the field over the first three games
  • Michael Floyd, Fr., WR

  • Recorded career-highs in both receptions (7) and receiving yards (86)
  • Added his second career touchdown reception (a 26-yard pass play from Clausen with 14:51 to go in the fourth quarter)
  • The 26-yard reception was a career-long for Floyd
  • Ethan Johnson, Fr., DE

  • Picked up a pair of pass breakups (the first two of his career) in the opening quarter
  • Eric Maust, Jr., P

  • Recorded his fifth punt of the season that was downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line
  • Has now dropped 15 career punts inside the 20-yard line (on just 38 career punts)
  • Robby Paris, Jr., WR

  • Registered a season-long 12-yard reception on 3rd down and 10 late in the first quarter
  • Recorded a season-high four receptions and 22 receiving yards
  • Kyle Rudolph, Fr., TE

  • Registered career-highs in both receptions (two) and receiving yards (29)
  • Also added a career-long 18-yard reception
  • Brian Smith, So., LB

  • Registered a career-high 10 tackles, including one for loss (tying a career-high)
  • Recorded his first career forced fumble
  • Has been involved in three turnovers (two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble) already this season
  • Harrison Smith, So., DS

  • With Notre Dame not opening in a nickel defense for the first time in 2008, Smith picked up his first career start
  • Recorded a career-high six tackles, including one for loss (tied a career-high)
  • Golden Tate, So., WR

  • Recorded Notre Dame’s longest rush of the season with his 24-yard scamper on a reverse midway through the first quarter (also gave the Irish their initial first down of the afternoon)
  • On the same drive, Tate registered a 30-yard reception on 3rd down and eight
  • The reception for Tate was his fourth of the season that exceeded 30 yards (Notre Dame had just six passing plays of 30 yards or longer in all of 2007)
  • Finished the afternoon with five receptions for 83 yards – marking the third straight game with at least 80 yards receiving
  • Sam Young, Jr., OT

  • Registered his 25 career start (every Notre Dame game the past three seasons)
  • The 25 consecutive starts are the second longest on the squad