Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 19, 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 38 of 55 SEPT. 19, 2016 39 ell — is a dominant defender. McDowell is one of the best defensive linemen Notre Dame will face all season. Furman rushed for only 87 yards on 33 attempts against the Michigan State defense, averaging just 2.6 yards per attempt. Advantage: Notre Dame NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. MICHIGAN STATE PASS DEFENSE With Kizer at the helm, Notre Dame's pass of- fense is set for a big year. Kizer passed for 2,884 yards and 21 touchdowns in his first season as a starter. In his first start of the 2016 campaign, he tied a career high with five touchdown passes. The major question mark coming into the season was who would be the primary weapons in the pass game. Senior wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. established himself as a leader on offense and was named a team captain. A pair of sophomore receivers have quickly emerged as legitimate weapons for Notre Dame. Equanimeous St. Brown hauled in five receptions for 75 yards and two touchdowns in the opener against Texas, all career highs. Classmate C.J. Sand- ers caught just three passes, but each went for either a first down or a touchdown. Hunter Jr. suffered a concussion in the third quar- ter of Notre Dame's loss to Texas, and his status for the Michigan State game could still be in doubt. Michigan State returns a veteran pair of safeties that were highly productive last season. Senior Demetrious Cox finished second on the defense with 10 passes broken up last season, and he be- gan the 2016 season with seven tackles and one pass broken up against Furman. Junior Montae Nicholson was third on the team in tackles in 2015 with 83 stops. He had six tackles and two passes broken up against Furman. Senior cornerback Darian Hicks started six games last season, and in his first start of the 2016 season he had three passes broken up as the Spartans held Furman to just 139 yards on 16-of-31 passing. He is joined in the lineup by sophomore Tyson Smith. Advantage: Notre Dame SPECIAL TEAMS Notre Dame enters the game with a significant special teams advantage. According to the Fremeau Efficiency Index, Notre Dame was the 19th best team in the country on special teams in 2015. Sophomore Justin Yoon is poised to be one of the nation's most accu- rate placekickers, and junior Tyler Newsome could stake a claim as one of the best punters if he can become more consistent. Sanders doubles as the team's primary return man, and he picked up this season where he left off in 2015. After becoming the first player since 2002 to return a punt and kick for a score in the same season, Sanders ripped off a 40-yard punt return to set up a touchdown against Texas. Michigan State returns senior kicker Michael Geiger and sophomore punter Jake Hartbarger. Geiger kicked the game-winner in Michigan State's win over Ohio State, but he was just 12 of 19 on the season. He missed his only field goal attempt against Furman. Advantage: Notre Dame COACHING Dantonio began his head coaching career at Cin- cinnati (2004-06), posting an 18-17 record. He was replaced by current Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, who led the Bearcats to unprecedented heights while posting a 30-6 record in his three seasons in the Queen City. Now in his 10th season at Michigan State, Danto- nio has built a dominant Big Ten program, notching an 89-33 record. Michigan State has won at least 11 games in each of the past six seasons, and the Spartans are 65-16 during that stretch, winning three Big Ten championships. Kelly has not been able to match Dantonio's con- sistency, with Notre Dame posting just two 10-plus win seasons in his previous six years in South Bend. Despite the ups and downs, Notre Dame has gone 3-1 against Dantonio and Michigan State during Kelly's tenure. Advantage: Even INTANGIBLES Notre Dame desperately needs a home win over the Spartans. Only that will give the Irish the mo- mentum it lost after its loss to Texas. The Irish have home-field advantage working for them, and its success against Michigan State under Kelly should give the Irish players confidence it can win this matchup. Michigan State's overall success has created a confident group of players. The Spartans over- achieved in 2015, beating Ohio State and Iowa to end the season, capturing the Big Ten crown and earning a berth to the College Football Playoff. The team that turns its confidence into consis- tent execution will have the best chance at coming out on top. Advantage: Even GAME PREVIEW: MICHIGAN STATE Offense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. X 18 Felton Davis III 6-4 192 So. 25 Darrell Stewart Jr. 6-1 207 R-Fr. LT 59 David Beedle 6-5 314 So. 61 Cole Chewins 6-8 273 R-Fr. LG 65 Brian Allen 6-2 304 Jr. 70 Tyler Higby 6-4 302 R-Fr. C 79 Kodi Kieler 6-6 319 5th-Sr. 75 Benny McGowan 6-3 333 5th-Sr. RG 64 Brandon Clemons 6-3 302 6th-Sr. or 75 Benny McGowan 6-3 333 5th-Sr. RT 55 Miguel Machado 6-6 315 5th-Sr. 73 Dennis Finley 6-7 271 Jr. TE 82 Josiah Price 6-4 248 Sr.-5 or 11 Jamal Lyles 6-3 257 Sr.-5 Z 88 Monty Madaris 6-1 207 Sr.-5 9 Donnie Corley 6-2 186 Fr. F 12 R.J. Shelton 5-11 202 Sr. 15 Brandon Sowards 6-0 189 So. QB 7 Tyler O'Connor 6-3 228 Sr.-5 6 Damion Terry 6-3 232 Jr. FB 22 Delton Williams 6-1 228 Sr. or 45 Prescott Line 6-0 253 5th-Sr. TB 3 LJ Scott 6-1 230 So. or 28 Madre London 6-1 206 So. or 24 Gerald Holmes 6-0 222 Jr. Defense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. DE 98 Demetrius Cooper 6-5 253 Jr. 89 Gabe Sherrod 6-3 250 5th-Sr. DT 92 Kevin Williams 6-2 281 6th-Sr. 99 Raequan Williams 6-4 295 R-Fr. NT 4 Malik McDowell 6-6 276 Jr. 99 Raequan Williams 6-4 295 R-Fr. DE 85 Evan Jones 6-5 251 5th-Sr. 91 Robert Bowers 6-4 244 So. STAR 23 Chris Frey 6-2 227 Jr. or 5 Andrew Dowell 6-1 218 So. MIKE 30 Riley Bullough 6-2 227 5th-Sr. 38 Byron Bullough 6-1 228 So. SAM 33 Jon Reschke 6-2 227 Jr. 49 Shane Jones 6-1 221 Jr. FC 2 Darian Hicks 5-11 184 Sr. 15 Tyson Smith 5-11 170 So. FS 7 Demetrious Cox 6-1 197 5th-Sr. 44 Grayson Miller 6-3 208 So. BS 9 Montae Nicholson 6-2 219 Jr. 27 Khari Willis 5-11 211 So. BC 13 Vayante Copeland 5-11 190 So. 19 Josh Butler 5-11 180 R-Fr. or 28 David Dowell 6-0 195 R-Fr. MICHIGAN STATE DEPTH CHART Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. KO 99 Kevin Cronin 6-2 220 5th-Sr. 97 Brett Scanlon 5-11 210 R-Jr. PK 4 Michael Geiger 5-9 185 Sr. 99 Kevin Cronin 6-2 220 5th-Sr. P 25 Jake Hartbarger 6-4 206 So. 97 Brett Scanlon 5-11 210 R-Jr. SN 57 Collin Caflisch 6-4 288 R-Fr. 47 Ryan Armour 6-0 214 Fr. Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. H 86 Matt Macksood 5-11 195 Jr. 14 Brian Lewerke 6-3 202 R-Fr. KR 12 R.J. Shelton 5-11 195 Jr. 25 Darrell Stewart Jr. 6-1 207 R-Fr. PR 12 R.J. Shelton 5-11 202 Sr. 15 Brandon Sowards 6-0 189 So. Special Teams

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Sept. 19, 2016