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IrishR#1
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Notre Dame versus Michigan State is a bigger rivalry than Michigan-Notre Dame, Boston College-Notre Dame, or Navy-Notre Dame.  For those who haven't memorized the Notre Dame history books, let me let you in on an incovienient truth.  The Big Ten in the early 20th century did not allow its teams to play Notre Dame.  There wasn't a big difference between the teams.  They were both Midwestern.  They were all pretty successful.  Why not play?  The only differences I can think of is Notre Dame is a private school, and Notre Dame is an Irish Catholic school.  I will go with the latter.  This racism blocked Notre Dame from joining the Western Conference.  Now you know why allumni and fans don't want ND to join the Big Ten Conference.  Bigotry.  That wasn't hard.

The first team from the now Big Ten Conference to play Notre Dame was Michigan State.  That game was in 1916 after a five year block from Notre Dame playing a team.  This occured when Notre Dame got some recognition as giant killers after they beat Army twice.  That first game was a 14-0 Irish win, kicking off a fantastic rivalry.

The rivalry is honored by the Megaphone Trophy.  The original one is in the Joyce Center at Notre Dame, which stopped in 1966.  Some of you may know that game.  That was the Game of the Century that had no winner.  Irish coach Ara Parseghian took a conservative approach by running out the clock when the game was tied 10-10 to result in a sister-kissing score.  This was one of many fantastic games in this series.

The last time the difference of the score in this game was over ten: 1998 when Michigan State won 45-23.  These games always provide in high scoring, exciting games.  Neither of these historic programs have been great recently, but this game should be looked forward to by both fan bases.  Now let's get on with the prediction.

Notre Dame Passing Offense versus Michigan State Pass Defense: This should be pretty close.  The Michigan State safeties like to play close to the line to stop the run, but will they do that this game?  Will they rush the passers?  Probably.  Remember, most of the yards Notre Dame has lost in the running game has been because of sacks.  Jimmy Clausen and Evan Sharpley have combined for an outstanding -162 rushing yards!  Take that off and the Notre Dame running game has only been a minor embarrassment.  I still like Michigan State.  Clausen has only completed 58.2% of his passes.

Notre Dame Rushing Offense versus Michigan State Run Defense:  Hmmm.  Let's see.  Notre Dame has had about 200 rushing yards.  They have no back over 100 yards rushing.  Their best running back averages 3.9 yards a touch.  I will just go with Michigan State and keep it simple.

Notre Dame Run Defense versus Michigan State Rushing Offense: Another obvious one.  Notre Dame has the nation's 100th best run defense.  Michigan State has averaged 194.7 rushing ypg over the duration of this season.  Let's just go with the Spartans and make my blog a bit shorter.

Notre Dame Pass Defense versus Michigan State Passing Offense: Hey, Notre Dame has an advantage in something!  The Notre Dame pass defense is not bad at all.  The Irish have outpassed their opponent this season.  This seems to be the only bright spot on Notre Dame.  They are returning two starters.

I say that Michigan State wins 20-10.  Jimmy Clausen will throw for a touchdown to Robby Parris.  Javon Ringer will run in two for Michigan State.

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