September 20, 2008

Weis: 'They won the line of scrimmage'

EAST LANSING - Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis thought heading into his team's game with Michigan State that the Fighting Irish would be able to establish the run against a Michigan State defense that does not overcrowd the box.

"It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that we came out in the first half and tried to win the line of scrimmage," explained Weis. "And that was not taking place. As we went through the first half and we started to make adjustments to the mentality we came in at halftime and we said, 'fellas if we sit there and keep going like this they are going to put us in a position where we don't have a chance to win.'"

Michigan State's defense held the Notre Dame running back tandem of James Aldridge and Robert Hughes to a combined 37 yards.

"They were winning the line of scrimmage," said Weis. "It wasn't like some exotic defense they were playing. It still comes down to winning the line of scrimmage and our defense held up well at the line of scrimmage but I think their defensive line got the best of our offense. It wasn't just our offensive line, it was our offense. I think they got the best of us."

Notre Dame's 16 yards rushing is the lowest number allowed by the Michigan State defense since the 2007 season opener against UAB.

Weis was impressed with Javon Ringer, who became the running back in Michigan State history to run for 200 yards or more in back-to-back games. Ringer 's 201 yards was the most ever by a Spartan running back against Notre Dame.

"What happens is they give him the ball 39 times in a game," said Weis. "And you can hit him and hit him and hit him and he just keeps coming. I think that I learned a long time ago that one attribute great players have is stamina. He obviously has great stamina."

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