Notre Dame football: Kelly, Irish return home to face Michigan State
The last two weeks for Notre Dame have included a loss at Michigan followed by an escape at Purdue. Notre Dame's third battle with a Big Ten school comes Saturday when the 2-1 Irish host 3-0 Michigan State at Notre Dame Stadium.
"It's going to be one of those typical Big Ten games," fourth-year ND coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday, "where the last man standing comes out victorious."
The Irish have won two in a row in the series after losing three of four from 2007-10.
"You've got to play tough, physical football for four quarters," Kelly said. "All the little things matter in matchups like this."
The Irish depth chart released Tuesday remains the same as it was last weekend. Starting defensive end Sheldon Day is wearing a protective boot on an ankle he sprained in the Purdue game, and Kelly said the plan is to remove it Wednesday with the hope that Day will practice later in the day.
Notre Dame is ranked 22nd in the Associated Press poll and 21st in the USA Today Coaches' poll. MSU is receiving votes in the AP poll and ranked 24th by the coaches.
Michigan State ranks No. 1 nationally in total defense, first in passing-efficiency defense and fourth in rush defense. The Spartans lost some key players up front from last year, but coach Mark Dantonio's team has responded well.
"It looks like they've reloaded up front with the same kind of guys," Kelly said.
Because Notre Dame plays MSU annually, Kelly believes his players know it will be a physical matchup.
"They know what kind of fight it's going to be," Kelly said.
ND leads the series 47-28-1, including a 28-13 record in South Bend. Kickoff for Saturday's game is set for 3:41 p.m. (Eastern) and the game will air on NBC.