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Michigan State-Notre Dame Preview Capsule

The Associated Press

No. 12 Michigan State (1-0) at No. 18 Notre Dame (1-1), 7:30 p.m. (NBC)

Line: Notre Dame by 8.

Series Record: Notre Dame leads 48-28-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

The last time these rivals met in 2013 Notre Dame won 17-13, the only loss of the season for Michigan State. The loss kept the Spartans out of the national title game, although they likely would have made it under the current playoff system. The Irish can’t afford a second loss if they want to keep their hopes for a playoff berth alive.

KEY MATCHUP

QB DeShone Kizer and Notre Dame’s receivers vs. the Michigan State secondary. Kizer is fifth in the NCAA in passing efficiency (195.9), sixth in TD passes with seven and 15th in completion rate at 71.4 percent. Michigan State likes to play press coverage and the last time the teams met the Irish went deep repeatedly, leading to four pass interference calls. Michigan State CB Darian Hicks was called for pass interference twice against Furman.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Michigan State: DL Malik McDowell. The 6-foot-6, 276-pound junior is listed as a nose tackle but moves around on the line. He had 4½ sacks last season and three tackles and a quarterback hurry in the opener against Furman.

Notre Dame: WR Equanimeous St. Brown. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound sophomore, who had just one catch last season, is Notre Dame’s leading receiver through two games with 11 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns and is showing signs of becoming a go-to receiver.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Spartans won six straight at Notre Dame Stadium from 1997-07, the longest streak ever for an opponent in South Bend. They are 0-3 in South Bend since. … The Irish have played Michigan State 77 times, making the Spartans their fourth most frequent opponent. The others are Navy (89 games), USC (87) and Purdue (86). … Notre Dame is the only team to beat Michigan State three straight games under coach Mark Dantonio. … It will be Notre Dame’s first game against a Big Ten opponent since losing 43-40 in overtime to Northwestern on Nov. 15, 2014. The last time Notre Dame went a season without facing a member of the current Big Ten was 1914.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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