Friday, September 9, 2011

Notre Dame-Michigan Will Come Down To Battle Of Quarterbacks

In a week with precious few ranked teams playing each other, there are very few games of national interest on tv this week.  I do plan on watching UGA-South Carolina, as that does impact the SEC East.

However, the game of the week is Notre Dame at Michigan: 8 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN.  There are many reasons for this:
  • This is the first night game at the Big House, Michigan's stadium. Lights were added during renovations in the off-season
  • They are expecting this to be the largest attendance ever for a college football game - 115,000!
  • Notre Dame and Michigan will both be unveiling new throwback uniforms specially made for this occasion

Notre Dame comes into the game 0-1 after an upset loss to South Florida last week, and losing to Michigan would put Coach Brian Kelly on the proverbial hot seat extremely early in the season (not by me, but by the most rabid Irish fans and critics).  Tommy Rees will be making his first start for the Irish this season, and he has proven to be able to win big games away from home at night (Yankee Stadium, USC last year).

Michigan is 1-0 and comes in with multi-talented Denard Robinson at quarterback again.  The junior accumulated 144 total yards of offense last week in a storm-shortened game.  Last year in the game against Notre Dame, Robinson accumulated over 500 yards of offense BY HIMSELF in Michigan's 28-24 last minute win.  

However, Michigan's defense will have to find a way to stop Notre Dame's offense, which put up 508 yards last week in their loss.  Wide receiver Michael Floyd looks virtually unstoppable (12 catches, 154 yards) with Rees at the helm.  The Irish also seemed to have found a running game in Cierre Wood (104 yards rushing), giving them a more balanced offense than that under former coach Charlie Weis.

Despite Michigan's dismal record under Rich Rodriguez, the Wolverines come in having won four of the last five games with Notre Dame.  

This game will come down to who makes the most plays at quarterback, and whose defense can make the final stop.

My prediction:  Notre Dame: 42 Michigan 35  Final Score Was Michigan 35  Notre Dame 31
**Update 9/12: The game did indeed come down to who made more plays at quarterback, and that QB was Denard Robinson.

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