Mich. St. 23, No. 24 Notre Dame 13
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) _ Michigan State didn’t need a last-minute stand this time to beat Notre Dame.
Bill Burke hit Gari Scott for an 80-yard fourth-quarter touchdown as the Spartans beat 24th-ranked Notre Dame 23-13 on Saturday, dropping the Irish to their second 1-3 start in the last three seasons.
After entering the final period tied 7-7, the Irish and Spartans traded field goals, and the Irish seemed poised for yet another last-minute finish after dropping games to Michigan and Purdue in the final moments.
But Burke ended any hope of last-minute heroics.
His first pass was batted into the air and dropped by Notre Dame linebacker Anthony Denman at the 25. His next pass over the middle to Plaxico Burress was dropped.
Then Burke hit Scott near the first-down marker on the left sideline. Scott eluded Notre Dame free safety Deke Cooper and broke free for the score.
Notre Dame quarterback Jarious Jackson, who came up 1 yard shot against Purdue and 10 yards short against Michigan in close losses, got the Irish to midfield before the drive stalled. Amp Campbell broke up Jackson’s third-down pass, and the Irish elected to kick with 3:16 left rather than go for it.
Michigan State then put an exclamation point on its victory, as Lloyd Clemons ripped off a 42-yard run to the Irish 15 to set up Paul Edinger’s third field goal of the quarter.
Burke finished 21-of-37 for 292 yards with two touchdowns and one interception as Michigan State beat the Irish for the third year in a row, its longest winning streak in the series since winning eight straight from 1955-63.
While Burke flourished, Jackson once again was inconsistent. He was 15-of-26 for 245 yards, but he often underthrew receivers, forcing them to jump over defenders to haul in the ball.
The loss dropped Notre Dame to 0-3 vs. the Big Ten this season after the school spurned the conference’s offer to join in February. Irish coach Bob Davie is 2-7 against the conference in his three seasons.
Until the final period, both teams did their best to stay out of the end zone.
Midway through the second quarter, Notre Dame walk-on Johnathan Hebert blocked Craig Jarrett’s punt at the 28, but Jackson coughed up the ball when sacked on third-and-6 at the 19.
Notre Dame had another opportunity to score about two minutes before halftime after taking over on its 48 and Jackson hit Javin Hunter for 39 yards to the 9. But after Hunter came down with the ball, Renaldo Hunter stripped it away and caught the fumble before it hit the ground.
It was a Michigan State gaffe that finally helped Notre Dame get on the board.
The Spartans had the ball at their 10 and seemed to be trying to run out the clock with 2:28 left. But the Spartans called a timeout after Clemons ran up the middle for 2 yards to the 25 with 40 seconds left.
He was stripped of the ball on the next play, and Jackson then hit Bobby Brown for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 9 seconds left in the half.