The victory was the 10th straight at home for the Irish (3-1), matching a run between Oct. 25, 1997, and Aug. 28, 1999. The Irish shut down two late Spartan drives, including a final effort that sputtered deep in Spartan territory after a fourth-and-20 scramble by quarterback Andrew Maxwell fell short. The Spartans (3-1) were plagued by ill-timed penalties, including a pair of pass interference calls on Notre Dame's go-ahead drive. Michigan State was penalized 10 times for 115 yards, including four interference calls. Michigan State entered the game leading the nation in total defense (177 yards per game) but gave up a season-high 221 yards. Irish quarterback Tommy Rees completed 14-of-34 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown while McDaniel rushed 16 times for 40 yards and a score. Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook was 16-of-32 for 135 yards and a touchdown. Jerry Langford rushed 14 times for a game-high 67 yards. Michigan State's initial drive opened deep in Notre Dame territory after freshman Matt Macksood blocked Kyle Brindza's punt. A high snap forced Brindza into a quick kick and the Spartans took over at the Irish 31. But Michigan State stalled at the Notre Dame 13 as Kevin Muma misfired on a 30-yard field goal try. The Irish took a 3-0 lead with 3:48 left in the quarter as Brindza capped a seven-play, 51-yard drive with a 41-yard field goal. Notre Dame was unable to push beyond the Michigan State 20 early in the second quarter and Brindza failed on a 37-yard field goal try, his second miss in seven attempts this season. The Spartans claimed their lone lead with 7:43 left in the half when Cook hit Macgarrett Kings on a 12-yard touchdown strike, Kings' second TD reception of the season. Michigan State took advantage of two 15-yard penalties to advance in a 14-play, 79-yard drive for a 7-3 lead. A fourth-down pass interference call with 1:30 left in the half gave Notre Dame a first down at the Spartan 26. Three plays later the Irish had a first-and-goal at the Spartan 2-yard line, and Rees connected with TJ Jones in the back of the end zone on third down as Notre Dame claimed a 10-7 lead with 17 seconds showing. Michigan State's first drive of the second half bogged down at the Notre Dame 8, leaving Michael Geiger to tie the game at 10-10 with a 25-yard field goal. A trick play backfired on the Spartans on their next possession when wide receiver R.J. Shelton lofted a long pass intended for wide receiver Bennie Fowler. The pass was picked off by safety Matthias Farley and returned 29 yards to midfield, greeted by two flags. One was a 15-yard personal foul against Michigan State that gave Notre Dame possession at the Spartan 37. Rees' pass was intercepted by cornerback Darqueze Denard in the end zone, but officials called the Spartans for pass interference. Another interference call gave Notre Dame a first-and-goal at the 7. Two plays later, McDaniel scampered in for his second touchdown of the season and a 17-10 lead with 14:44 to play. Geiger hit a 42-yard field goal with 10:40 left, trimming the deficit to 17-13. The Irish now holds a 48-28-1 series lead, 29-13 in South Bend. Notre Dame hosts No. 14 Oklahoma next Saturday while Michigan State is idle until its Oct. 5 Big Ten opener at Iowa. NOTES: Former Notre Dame assistant football coach Francis Peay, 69, died Saturday in St. Louis. He served as Irish junior varsity coach in 1976-77 and was coach at Northwestern (1986-91), where his teams went 13-51-2. ... Irish DE Sheldon Day missed Saturday's game with an ankle injury. ... Notre Dame's 1973 national championship football team was introduced prior to the game. That team went 11-0 and beat No. 1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. ... LT Zack Martin made his 43rd career start Saturday, now six away from all-time leader Sam Young (2006-09). ... The Irish have been ranked higher than the Spartans 33 times, with Michigan State pulling upsets 10 times, including eight while unranked. ... The Spartans entered the game ranked No. 1 among NCAA FBS programs in total defense (177.0 yards per game) and pass efficiency defense (68.14 rating). ... Michigan State is one of just five FBS schools to rank among the top 10 in total defense the past two seasons.
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