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Rees, who opened the season with three 300-yard passing games, was 14-of-34 passing.

“He just missed open receivers,” Kelly said. “I mean, we had guys open. He just didn’t hit them.”

Rees said the Irish needed to attempt some long passes because of what the Michigan State defense was giving them.

“We want to hit those, and we hit a few of the early, but we missed a couple big ones,” he said. “We found a way to get the ball in the end zone in the end, but we need to find a way to be more efficient.”

Despite the offensive struggles, the Irish have now won 10 straight at home for the first time since 1999, when Bob Davie was coach. Notre Dame won 19 straight under Lou Holtz 1987-90.

Dantonio said the difference was the Spartans only managed one touchdown in four trips inside the red zone and missed a field goal.

“When you get into the red zone, you have to score touchdowns,” he said. “You’ve got to score touchdowns in those situations.”

Of course, Notre Dame had something to do with that. And Kelly was pleased with the overall defensive effort.

“Both defenses,” he said, “really carried the day here today.”

His was better.