Irish take advantage of 2 pass-interference calls on key drive
September 21, 2013 10:23PM
Spartans cornerback Trae Waynes was called for pass interference on this play in the fourth quarter against Irish wide receiver Corey Robinson. | Michael Conroy/AP
NOTRE DAME 17,
MICHIGAN STATE 13
Michigan State 0 7 3 3 — 13
Notre Dame 3 7 0 7 — 17
ND—FG Brindza 41, 3:48.
MSU—Kings 12 pass from Cook (Geiger kick), 7:43.
ND—T.Jones 2 pass from Rees (Brindza kick), :17.
MSU—FG Geiger 25, 6:21.
ND—McDaniel 7 run (Brindza kick), 14:44.
MSU—FG Geiger 42, 10:40.
TEAM STATS MSU ND
First downs 19 14
Rushes-yards 35-119 32-82
Passing 135 142
Comp-Att-Int 16-36-1 14-34-0
Return Yards 6 31
Punts-Avg. 5-41.4 6-39.2
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 10-115 8-86
Time of Possession 30:38 29:22
RUSHING—MSU, Langford 14-68, Hill 13-34, Maxwell 1-8, Fowler 1-6, Cook 4-4, R.Bullough 1-1, Team 1-(minus 2). Notre Dame, McDaniel 16-44, G.Atkinson 6-23, Folston 4-12, Carlisle 3-9, Team 3-(-6).
PASSING—MSU Cook 16-32-0-135, Maxwell 0-3-0-0, Shelton 0-1-1-0. Notre Dame, Rees 14-34-0-142.
RECEIVING—MSU, Kings 4-33, Burbridge 4-20, Fowler 3-39, Lyles 1-16, Langford 1-12, Mumphery 1-7, Price 1-4, Sadler 1-4. Notre Dame, Robinson 3-54, Daniels 3-6, G.Atkinson 2-17, T.Jones 2-15, Fuller 1-37, D.Smith 1-9, Niklas 1-7, Prosise 1-(minus 3).
NOTRE DAME (3-1)
Aug. 31 Temple W, 28-6 Sept. 7 at Michigan L, 41-30 Sept. 14 at Purdue W, 31-24 Sept. 21 Mich. State W, 17-13 Sept. 28 Oklahoma 2:30 p.m. Oct. 5 Ariz. State 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19 USC 6:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at Air Force 4 p.m. Nov. 2 Navy 2:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at Pittsburgh TBA Nov. 23 BYU 2:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at Stanford TBA
Sept. 7 at Michigan L, 41-30
Sept. 14 at Purdue W, 31-24
Sept. 21 Mich. State W, 17-13
Sept. 28 Oklahoma 2:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 Ariz. State 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 USC 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 at Air Force 4 p.m.
Nov. 2 Navy 2:30 p.m.
Nov. 9 at Pittsburgh TBA
Nov. 23 BYU 2:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 at Stanford TBA
Updated: October 23, 2013 6:48AM
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees lofted a pass in Corey Robinson’s direction down the right near the front corner of the end zone.
Robinson tried to outleap Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes, but he couldn’t come down with the ball. And then a flag came.
Waynes was called for pass interference, the second time the Spartans were hit with the penalty in perhaps the most important drive of the game. The infraction, which took place on the first play of the fourth quarter of a tied game, placed the ball at Michigan State’s 7. Two plays later, Cam McDaniel scored the go-ahead touchdown on a seven-yard run, and the Irish held on for a 17-13 victory Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.
“We knew it was going to be tough and physical,” Rees said. “If we could’ve thought about it, we probably want to hit some of those deep balls early. For us, finding a way to win, we’re comfortable grinding games out like that.
“A win’s a win. It’s hard to win games at this level, especially against a good opponent like that.”
The physical nature included several penalties. Michigan State had 10 penalties for 115 yards. Notre Dame had eight for 86 yards. The Spartans were flagged for four pass-interference calls.
“We did what we had to do defensively,’’ Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. ‘‘I felt we played the ball the way we teach them to play the ball. That’s how they played the ball.’’
Irish coach Brian Kelly said the intent wasn’t to draw penalties.
“We want to complete [passes],” Kelly said. “We were getting pulled and tugged.”
Not only pass-interference calls made a difference.
The game was tied at 10 late in the third quarter, and Michigan State was on the move. The Spartans tried a trick play, with wide receiver R.J. Shelton attempting a pass, but Matthias Farley picked it off. The Spartans also were called for a personal-foul penalty at the end of the play, giving the Irish the ball at the Michigan State 37.
“Anytime you pick off a pass, it’s a definite momentum-builder for your football team,” Kelly said.
The interception — and the two interference calls — set up McDaniel’s seven-yard run.
“We have an extremely smart quarterback who knows how to get us in good plays and good situations,’’ McDaniel said. ‘‘He made a critical check, and we were able to pin the edge, got fantastic edge blocking. All I had to do was run through the hole that was there. My job was pretty easy.’’
Michigan State closed the deficit to four, but a late drive fizzled.
“We knew it was going to be this kind of game,” Kelly said. “Somebody was going to have to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter. We were able to get the touchdown and hold them from scoring one.”