On Saturday September 7, the Michigan Wolverines come in as a four point favorite over the hated Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This is Michigan’s last home game in the rivalry for the foreseeable future. Even though Brian Kelly doesn’t think it’s one of the biggest rivalry’s in Notre Dame history, he backtracked off of his comments from earlier in the week. According to ESPN.com, offensive lineman Michael Schofield stated that playing a night game under the lights is “going to add to the atmosphere.” This will be Michigan’s fist night game since the 35-31 late game victory two years ago. The game starts at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
Talent wise, this game appears to be even, and by all of the close games in recent years, we should expect something close to an instant classic. That is unless Michigan coughs up another six turnover performance like they did last year. Even with all of those miscues, Notre Dame only managed a 13-6 win. It was truly an ugly game on both ends.
One year later, both teams have a revamped offense with new quarterbacks running the show. Tommy Rees is back at the starting spot with the Irish and had a big day in his first game. He threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns, but Notre Dame only managed 28 points vs. Temple. On Saturday, they must capitalize on more opportunities against Michigan.
The Wolverines were very balanced in their first game between run and pass. They got the running game going and complemented it with the passing game of Devin Gardner. Still, he has to be better this Saturday against much stiffer competition.
As most games, the outcome will be determined by turnovers or the lack thereof. If Notre Dame’s offense struggles to hold onto the ball, they won’t be able to overcome the atmosphere nor the Michigan team.
The battle to watch up front is between Michigan’s offensive line and Notre Dame’s defensive line. Against Temple, Notre Dame gave up 134 yards. The Fighting Irish need to keep Michigan under 200 yards.
The Verdict: We’ve seen all types of games in this series and it’s sad that this is the last Michigan home game. They will not let Notre Dame come into the “Big House” and steal a second straight victory. The Notre Dame regular season ride should end Saturday night.
Notre Dame 23