Notre Dame holds on to lead to beat Michigan State 17-13
BY LAMOND POPE September 21, 2013 5:13PM
Notre Dame running back George Atkinson III, center, cuts between Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough, left, and safety RJ Williamson, right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Updated: September 21, 2013 6:12PM
South Bend, Ind. – Notre Dame running back Cam McDaniel scored on a 7-yard run early in the fourth quarter and the Irish held on for a 17-13 victory against Michigan State on a flag-filled Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.
Penalties helped set up the go-ahead score. With the game tied at 10, Notre Dame’s Matthias Farley intercepted a pass by wide receiver R.J. Shelton. The Spartans were called for a personal foul at the end of the return, giving the Irish the ball at Michigan State’s 37.
The Spartans (3-1) were called for two pass interference calls in the ensuing drive. The second one placed the ball at Michigan State’s 7. McDaniel found a hole on second down and marched in for the touchdown as the Irish took a 17-10 lead.
A 42-yard field goal by Michael Geiger cut Notre Dame’s lead to 17-13 with 10:40 to go. The Spartans wouldn’t get any closer. The Spartans even turned to backup quarterback Andrew Maxwell with 2:11 remaining. He threw three incomplete passes. Following two more penalties, Maxwell decided to run on fourth-and-20. Notre Dame stopped him after he gained eight yards.
Penalties proved costly for the Spartans. Michigan State had 10 penalties for 115 yards. Notre Dame had eight penalties for 81 yards.
The first half was filled with miscues. Both teams missed field goals. Notre Dame also had a punt blocked for the first time since 2008.
Notre Dame took a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter. A holding penalty on the Spartans on third down extended the drive. Quarterback Tommy Rees completed a 37-yard pass to Will Fuller on the next play.
Notre Dame eventually reached Michigan State’s 23 before the drive stalled. Kyle Brindza made a 41-yard field goal for the game’s first points.
Michigan State took advantage of two personal fouls calls to pull ahead in the second quarter. Defensive linemen Louis Nix III and Kona Schwenke were hit with the penalties during the scoring drive.
Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to receiver Macgarrett Kings to give the Spartans a 7-3 lead with 7:43 left in the half.
Notre Dame capitalized on a Michigan State penalty, a pass interference call on fourth-and-1, to set up its go-ahead touchdown. The penalty gave placed the ball at 26. Later in the drive, Rees completed a 17-yard pass to Corey Robinson to the Spartans 2.
Rees then threw two incomplete passes. On third down, he found wide receiver TJ Jones in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Notre Dame led at halftime 10-7.
The Spartans used a long drive at the start of the third quarter to tie the game. Michigan State went 75 yards in 15 plays. Michael Geiger made a 25-yard field goal to make it 10-all. The drive took 8 minutes, 39 seconds.
Michigan State moved the ball well on its next drive, reaching its 47. That’s when the Spartans attempted the trick play, with Shelton taking a handoff from Cook. Farley intercepted the pass, setting in motion the game’s final touchdown.