Notre Dame had another rough day with turnovers. Fortunately for them, Michigan State returned the favor.
The Irish turned the ball over three times, but the Spartans had two of their own to even things out as Notre Dame looked much better in picking up a 31-13 win.
No. 15 MSU (2-1) had a chance with four minutes left to cut the game to a one-score affair, but quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a costly interception at the goal line to effectively seal the win.
Cierre Wood punched in two rushing scores for Notre Dame and Tommy Rees threw for another despite throwing an interception and fumbling once. Notre Dame also muffed a punt late in the fourth quarter that was recovered by MSU, but got timely stops on defense to overcome their turnover woes.
MSU also shot itself in the foot with penalties, committing 12 infractions for 86 yards. The running game never got going either, as MSU compiled just 29 total yards on the ground.
Wood opened things off on the game’s opening possession by scampering for a 22-yard touchdown, and Notre Dame would have had more if not for turnover woes. The teams went back and forth in the turnover department in the first quarter, with Rees squeezing a fumble and pick around a Cousins fumble.
Cousins got MSU back within 14-10 on a 6-yard strike to Dion Sims in the second, but Wood restored the 11-point advantage with his second score near the end of the half.
MSU then tried to get cute, faking a field goal just before halftime inside the Notre Dame 5-yard line, much like they did in last year’s thrilling overtime win. However, this time the Irish sniffed it out and took a 21-10 lead into the locker room.
Things didn’t get better after the break. Rees hit T.J. Jones on a 26-yard score to increase the lead to 28-10 as Michigan State’s offense never got going after halftime.