Diamond Leung at Mlive.com was kind enough to answer some questions about No. 10 Michigan State, which plays No. 20 Notre Dame in Spartan Stadium on Saturday night:
1. Would Michigan State be willing to play Notre Dame later in the season and during the Big Ten portion of its schedule if that would mean keeping the rivalry game going every year?
If it meant preserving a rivalry game that is very important to MichiganState, then it's possible. The Spartans wouldn't necessarily want to give up a bye week in the Big Ten season and as of right now expect Notre Dame to fulfill its scheduling commitments through 2031. But athletic director Mark Hollis, the mastermind of all kinds of unique college events including the Carrier Classic, is someone who tends to be flexible when it means putting together a big-time event.
2. Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert has been moved around a lot, how do the Spartans plan to cover him?
MichiganStatehas outside linebackers in Denicos Allen and Chris Norman who could drop back in coverage, and their safeties could get some work as well. Strong safety Isaiah Lewis is a returning starter who had an interception against last week against Central Michigan, while free safety Jairus Jones is a new starter.
3. The Irish's cornerbacks (Bennett Jackson and KeiVarae Russell) are still learning on the job, would the Spartans try to attack them early even though Michigan State's passing game is still a work in progress?
I think early in the game, Michigan State will be focused on giving running back Le'Veon Bell the ball. He had 44 carries for 210 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener against BoiseState, and since then, coach Mark Dantonio has spoken of riding the hot back. The Spartans then spent the game last week against Central Michigan resting Bellin the fourth quarter and establishing new starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell with his receivers. Loading up the ball to stop Bell could force the issue with the Spartans picking on those corners, but early on, I expect a big dose of the run.