NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the second time this season, freshman forward Farai Mutatu has scored with less than four minutes left in regulation to guide No. 4 Michigan State past No. 8 Notre Dame, 1-0, on Monday night at Alumni Stadium.
With the win, MSU remains undefeated in its first eight games with a 6-0-2 record, while Notre Dame falls to 3-2-1 this season. Both of the Irish's losses have come against Big Ten teams, falling to No. 2 Indiana last week.
Michigan State has now won two-straight against Notre Dame both coming on the road. In 2016, The Spartans came up with another 1-0 win. Overall, MSU improves to 8-17-6 all-time against Notre Dame.
"Farai has been playing really well the last handful of games. He has scored big goals all through his youth career, so I think that he is comfortable in those moments and added another great goal today," MSU head coach Damon Rensing said.
How it happened
Notre Dame maintained possession much of the first half, out-shooting Michigan State 7-2. It was the Spartans who took the first shot in the third minute when junior midfielder Giuseppe's Barone was blocked. Senior forward Ryan Sierakowski also added a first-half shot.
Senior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague made the first of three saves in the first period in the 31st minute stopping a shot by Paul Rothrock, who had two shots in the half. The first 45 minutes ended without either team finding the back of the net.
In the 56th minute, senior forward DeJuan Jones had MSU's first chance of the second half with a blistering shot from the right that was hauled in by Irish goalkeeper Ryan Krutz. The second half remained even with both teams taking four shots.
Mutatu scored the lone goal of the match with time winding down in the 89th minute. Sophomore midfielder Michael Miller started the play with a ball up the left side. Mutatu cut from the left and delivered a curving shot from just inside the elbow 18-yard box, lofting it just past the out-stretched arms of Krutz.
"We talked about getting ahead on defense. We had given up four goals in the last two games, which is uncharacteristic for Michigan State soccer. I thought that it was important to try and get a shutout. Notre Dame put some pressure on us with some corner kicks, and I thought that we defended those well. Jimmy made some very good saves. I give to the guys credit for finding a way to win," Rensing said.
Once again, Hague was stellar in net, making a season-high six saves. He now has four shutouts this season. The senior has 22 career clean sheets in the Spartan Green and White, which puts him alone in fourth place in career MSU shutouts. He is one shutout shy of tying Avery Steinlage (2008-10) and John Spink (1984, 86-88) for second.
Overall, Notre Dame outshot Michigan State 11-6. This was the first time this season that the Spartans were out shot. The Irish also had the slight edge in corner kicks, 5-4.