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What You Need To Know: MSU

No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 10 Michigan Sate

Site: Spartan Stadium (75,005)
Kickoff: Today at 8 p.m. ET
Television: ABC
Radio: This broadcast can be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (channel 129).

Coaches: Notre Dame — Brian Kelly (18-10, third season), Michigan State — Mark Dantonio (46-22, sixth season).
Series Facts: This will be the 76th meeting between Notre Dame and Michigan State, with the Fighting Irish boasting a 46-28-1 record against the Spartans dating back to 1897. Notre Dame bested MSU 31-13 in South Bend last season. The Spartans have won three of the last five contests (2007, 2008 and 2010).

Prime Personnel: Offense — Junior running back Le’Veon Bell took over starting duties midway through 2011 and finished with 948 yards and 13 touchdowns en route to All-Big Ten honorable mention accolades. The 6-2, 244-pounder had 44 carries for 210 yards and two scores against Boise State in the season opener. He added 70 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-7 romp at Central Michigan last weekend. Senior running back Larry Caper added 66 yards on nine carries against the Chippewas. First-year starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell is coming off a 20-for-31 passing effort Saturday for 275 yards and a pair of scores.
Defense — Junior defensive end William Gholston is looking to pick up where he left off in, when he was is the anchor of the defensive line 2011 (70 tackles, 16 stops for loss and five sacks). He tied a program record with five tackles for loss in an overtime victory against Georgia in the Outback Bowl.

For The Record: Michigan State’s offense may have a number of question marks in 2012, but the defense is primed to dominate. The Spartans return nearly the same group that ranked 10th nationally in scoring allowed (18.4 points per game), ninth in rushing yards allowed (100.5), 11th in passing yards surrendered (176.9) and sixth in total defense (277.4) … Graduated quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 723 of 1,128 passing attempts for 9,131 yards with 66 touchdowns in his four-year career in East Lansing. He owns nearly every one of the program’s major passing records. It’s a tough act to follow for junior Andrew Maxwell, who completed 29‑of‑51 passes for 294 yards with one TD over the past two years as a reserve.

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