Both Spartans, Irish hope for better this fall

By NOAH TRISTER AP Sports Writer Last year’s Michigan State-Notre Dame game had all the trappings of a huge early matchup. Both teams were ranked, the game came down the wire and the victorious Spartans moved into the top 10 in the AP Top 25. Then Michigan State didn’t win another game for nearly two months. Notre Dame finished with a losing record as well. The teams will meet again tonight, and both are hoping to make 2016 an aberration. Expectations are a bit more modest this year — especially for the Spartans — but don’t try to tell these coaches that this game has lost any of its luster. “It’s the battle for the megaphone,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said, referring to the trophy the teams play for. “I think clearly Michigan and Michigan State in terms of proximity, Midwest, we recruit a lot of the same players. There’s been such great history and tradition going back to the ’66 game. I just think that history, tradition, proximity, all of those things make for rivalry games.” The 1966 game between Notre Dame and Michigan State — when the teams were ranked No. 1 and 2 in the country — ended in a 10-10 tie. A more recent highlight was the 2010 matchup, which the Spartans won on a fake field goal in overtime. Michigan State (2-0) has beaten the Irish only once since then — that was last year’s 36-28 victory at Notre Dame. The Irish (2-1) will try to avenge that defeat this weekend at Spartan Stadium.