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And in that corner… The Michigan Wolverines

Sep 19, 2012, 8:00 AM EDT

Denard Robinson, Perry McIntyre

If last Saturday’s victory was a “signature win for the Irish, this Saturday’s game is to settle a score. When No. 11 Notre Dame battles No. 18 Michigan, the Irish won’t just be looking to take down another ranked opponent and push their way into the country’s top ten, they’ll be looking to seek vengeance after one of the more heartbreaking losses in recent Irish memory, the third in a row of devastating defeats at the hands of Michigan.

Quite a bit has changed in the last three weeks. Before the Irish kicked off in Dublin and the Wolverines debuted in Dallas, most expected Brady Hoke’s squad to be the team on a collision course with the BCS. That was before Michigan was embarrassed by Alabama 41-14. They followed that loss up with a narrow escape against Air Force, where Michigan survived in spite of giving up 290 yards on the ground. Beating UMass hasn’t done much to sway the public opinion, and it appears that the Wolverines are a flawed team searching for answers, but lead by one superstar: quarterback Denard Robinson.

Of course, that’s been enough to beat the Irish the last two years, with Robinson taking over the game — on the ground in 2010, and through the air last year. As long as Shoelace is wearing a Michigan uniform, there’s always going to be fear in the hearts of Notre Dame nation.

Joining us to break down the big game is ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein, who writes for Wolverine Nation. Mike has covered both sides of this rivalry, working the Irish beat for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette before departing for Ann Arbor.

I asked, Mike answered. Here goes.

Inside the Irish: Most people expected Michigan to be 2-1 at this point. Yet most people are disappointed in how the Wolverines got there. Has it been a disappointing opening three games for Michigan?

Michael Rothstein: Tough to say, mostly because I think a lot of people around the Michigan proram thought the Wolverines would have a better showing against Alabama. What has been most concerning for Michigan has been its run game minus Denard Robinson and its play on both the offensive and defensive lines. Neither group has been particularly good, which could pose some major problems Saturday.

ITI: The Wolverines have had to replace some key contributors on both the offensive and defensive lines. Have their been some growing pains early?

MR: Yes. Michigan still appears to be searching for its most effective combination on the defensive line, having experimented with guys paying both inside at tackle and outside on the end. On offense, missing David Molk has been huge, but Elliott Mealer has been decent. While no linemen has been absolutely terrible in every game, as a unit they appear to have had some issues with chemistry and playing together.

ITI: This is Denard Robinson’s final year in Ann Arbor and his second year in Al Borges’ offense. Does he look more comfortable? Is he still a square peg in a round hole? He’s obviously one of the most dynamic runners in college football but is he getting better at quarterback?

MR: Yes, yes he does. Robinson is never going to be the dropback passer Borges covets for his offense to be most effective, but Robinson has improved as a passer and Borges has tweaked enough of his offense — Michigan has used more shotgun than ever, for instance — to suit Robinson’s unique skills. Robinson still makes some bad decisions but has still matured greatly in the role.

ITI: The Wolverines have found a way to crush the Irish’s hearts three years running. Outside of Robinson’s heroics, who are the likely suspects to do it this season?

MR: Robinson will still be the key to any Michigan victory but he’ll have help from two previously unknown sources if it happens — receiver Devin Gardner and tight end Devin Funchess. They have become the Wolverines’ top receiving threats and have a combined five touchdowns in five games. For Michigan to win, it’ll need one of those guys to have a huge game.

ITI: Michigan came into the season with a preseason top ten ranking and lofty expectations. They were exposed in the season opener, but was there a part of you that saw this coming? How good is this team? In a down year in the Big Ten, can they still fight their way to Pasadena?

MR: Remains to be seen. The Big Ten has no really good teams — at least not at this juncture — so the chance to win the league is certainly there, win or lose Saturday. Still think this team has the potential to be good as Michigan certainly got better as the season wore on last year. But the Wolverines are also a team that could very well be a better team than last season with a worse record.

  1. 9irish - Sep 19, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    College football is like predicting the damn stock market, especially with Notre Dame. I think the Irish are coming out of that, and I think that all will know how the game is going to end up by the end of the first quarter. They need to just manhandle that guy. Without him making plays, they don’t stand a chance.

    27-10
    Go Irish

    • ibleedirish - Sep 19, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      totally agree, even with your score prediction. Tuitt, nix and crew (and really hoping Ishaq can join the party this week) need to hit him brutally and as often as the law allows and then fall on him…hard. Maybe I’m crazy but I really like our lines versus theirs, and thats usually enough to win. I mean, they let Air Force run for 290?! I’d like to see Wood, Riddick, and Atkinson with a hundred a piece.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Sep 19, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      Scary …..

      Denard Robinson has accounted for 96.3% of all of MICH offense against ND last 2 games.

      There is no scouting/arguement/opinions/predictions/schemes ….

      CONTAIN DENARD AND HIT HIM EARLY AND RATTLE THE WR OFF THE LINE.

      ROBINSON IS MICH. 1 PLAYER TEAM.

  2. bernhtp - Sep 19, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    It’s time to take on and beat a good Michigan team. Kelly is right that you cannot be cocky and get caught up in the hype. While I am heartened by the 3-0 start and the dominant performance against MSU, the fact is that we’re 3-0 against teams we beat handily last year. This is the first game against a team that we lost to last year. This is our first real opportunity to right the wrong and prove that the team is different and better. It is a big game, maybe even a defining game.

    Michigan will be fighting for redemption on the national stage provided by Notre Dame after they were humiliated by Alabama. They are highly motivated. Denard is better this year; his passing is less anemic and is as dangerous as ever with his feet. They have a lot of young players that are growing into their roles. While Michigan had a lot of luck last year, there is a reason they were ranked in the top ten this preseason. They are a good team.

    Golson will need to have a great game and keep protecting the football. He will need to make some big plays as he did against MSU. The defensive front will need to maintain the pressure they showed at MSU while being careful to contain DR. The Irish secondary will need to somehow adjust for the loss of Jamoris and the freshmen need to continue to step up and grow.

    There’s a lot that needs to happen for Notre Dame to win. I’m sure that Kelly is reminding them of this.

  3. irish2011 - Sep 19, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    Why am I so worried about this game?.. Hell I’m always worried when it comes to ND. Slowly but surely coach K is starting to bring back my confidence in ND! Keep up the great work coach and keep recruiting Defense!!!!

  4. chisports14 - Sep 19, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Any chance we can get a list of the recruits coming in for the weekend. I know there are a bunch coming for official and unofficial, but I can’t remember all of the names

  5. mtndguy - Sep 19, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    I think this game is going to be a fun one. If the Notre Dame lines can dominate like they did against MSU, then Michigan will lose because Teo and the linebackers will fill the gaps, and shut Denard’s running game down. I’m hoping that ND’s offense can come to life and put 42 points on these guys. That will send a message to the SEC crowd that they’re not the only game in town.

    • dmac4real - Sep 19, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      We have one good win. Please dont put us even near the SEC category…

      • mtndguy - Sep 19, 2012 at 3:59 PM

        dmac4real I didn’t put them in the “SEC category”. Try reading the post, I said if ND puts 42 points on the board and shuts down Denard that will send the SEC a message. If we do those things ND will have equaled or bettered what Alabama did against Michigan. Lets all agree that the SEC has some good/great teams. They also have some less than stellar teams like Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State that nobody seems to talk about when they say SEC.

      • dmac4real - Sep 19, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        Ahhh. I misinterpreted it. Apologies.

  6. dmac4real - Sep 19, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    It shocks me that everyone is so confident about this game.

    Am i the only one who remembers what Denard has done to us the past 2 years…?

    • ibleedirish - Sep 19, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      No doubt he is the X factor. But I think people feel good about a few things:
      1. On paper our O and D lines are twice as good as theirs.
      2. Although inexperienced we have cornerbacks with more ability in their pinky fingers than our CBs did last year.
      3. Tommy Turnover is no longer taking snaps.
      4. We have three great running backs going against a defense that allowed freaking Air Force to run for 290.
      I’m not sure that people are all that confident, I just think we like our chances for a change.

      • dmac4real - Sep 19, 2012 at 2:21 PM

        Remember that on paper weve been the better team for the past three years, yet we lost.

        And if our corners have so much talent, then why wasnt Bennet Jackson playing over Gary Gray last year?

        People have liked out chances for the past 3 years, and that has gotten us three losses.

      • ibleedirish - Sep 19, 2012 at 4:12 PM

        To answer your question Gray was playing because of experience. Actually Jackson was getting close to the same number of snaps towards the end of the year. You don’t think there is more speed and ball awareness at corner right now? Because between Russel, Jackson and Shumate I swear we’ve seen more pass breakups in three games this year than all of last year combined.

      • dmac4real - Sep 19, 2012 at 4:30 PM

        The only reason Jackson was getting reps at the end of last year was looking forward to this year.

        I do agree with you to some extent, but Robert Blanton played pretty damn well last year. Also, Gary Gray was a solid cover corner, he just couldnt get his head around for some odd reason. Combine that with the fact that both those guys were superior in run support, i just dont see a giant step forward.

        My point isnt that the young guys are bad, quite the opposite actually. Right now they are just young, and that will lead to mistakes. So i think its hard to say they will play better than the guys last year just because we assume they have more talent. In the future thought, yes, they will defiently be better than Blanton and Gray.

        If were just being real, its mostly me being skeptical of our 11th rank because my ND lifetime has brought nothing but disappointment, especially in the Michigan series….

    • audomer - Sep 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      **Newsflash** “Gary Gray graduated”

      • ibleedirish - Sep 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM

        Is the newsflash for me or dmac? Because believe me, I’m blissfully aware. Go Irish.

      • dietskunkbears - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:14 PM

        all for the better

      • chisports14 - Sep 19, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        Our secondary might be young and suspect, but at the same time…. they can’t be much worse. Mix that with our team getting better. Irish victory.

    • mtndguy - Sep 19, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      You should watch that game again. Denard didn’t do it to ND. ND did it to themselves, particularly the Irish secondary who for some reason didn’t feel the need to turnaround to look for balls that were woefully under thrown. That wasn’t good play from Denard, those passes sucked.

      • 9irish - Sep 19, 2012 at 10:03 PM

        spot on. They were jump balls….only the Irish didn’t realize it! Everytime he chucked one up, I thought, “Well, that’s going nowhere”. Call it luck or skill…but they won…which is the aggravating part.

  7. barnesaintnoble - Sep 19, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Although Michigan was embarrassed by Alabama in the opener, they did score 14 points on them, which is more than any other opponent has scored in them in their past 5 games combined (including NC game against LSU). And from looking at their schedule, it could be the most points scored against them the entire season!

    I think the utter destruction of MSU last weekend was actually MSU choking more than ND being that much better, but they did look very good. Like USC, MSU always has a few games where they just…don’t show up. Maybe Kelly knows this and that’s why he’s telling his team to remain humble (and praying that they aren’t reading any form of national media that are all just jumping the gun on this team).

    This is going to be a great, close game. Maxwell couldn’t outrun the rush and escape the pocket when ND’s ridiculous defensive line destroyed MSU’s OL, but I have a feeling Michigan’s QB can. It comes down to the LBs (Te’o) being able to wrap up and get Denard tackled and the DBs being able to…turn around and see the ball!

    • onebigloadofcrap - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      utter destruction of MSU is a huge overstatement. in order to utterly destroy someone the score should be like 42-3. i’d call it a solid win, maybe a beat down. don’t get carried away

    • mtndguy - Sep 19, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      MSU showed up for the game. ND just dominated the line play. If you watched MSU’s previous games you would have realized that ND had a good chance of dominating at the line of scrimmage. Their offensive and defensive lines just aren’t as good, and that’s not just a one game occurrence.

      • nudeman - Sep 19, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        funny because the pre game outlook talked about how tough their line play is, now you and others say their lines aren’t that good? which is it?

      • mtndguy - Sep 19, 2012 at 5:02 PM

        Same tune from me Nude. I pointed out earlier that MSU played Boise State with an entirely new Defensive Line and Central Michigan whose defense held Le’veon Bell to 70 yards. MSU’s offensive and defensive lines weren’t impressive against either team. The pregame outlook may have talked about their tough line play, but I certainly wasn’t.

      • nudeman - Sep 19, 2012 at 10:10 PM

        mthndguy
        You’ll have to excuse me
        I don’t have all your posts neatly tracked

  8. canadianndfan - Sep 19, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    No dmac4real…I remember very well what Denard has done the last two years. I get a sick feeling in my stomach everytime I think about it! I am convinced that without Robinson there is no way Michigan would have beat ND the last two games. That being said I really like our chances Saturday. I just feel like this years team has an edge and an aggression that we haven’t see in previous years. Alabama gave everyone the blueprint on how to beat Michigan….contain Denard (easier said than done) and force him to beat you as a pocket passer. IF we can manage to do that for 60mins….not 58 or 59….then we will prevail!

  9. seadomer - Sep 19, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    I am stressing out on Wed, we need the team that showed up in the MSU game again. All else equal, throw in a few runs and we can do this.

    Best case: 42-13 (previous post 2 days ago)
    Likely: 27-10

    Most importantly, no scoring by opponent in 4th quarter.

  10. mtflsmitty - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    IRISH FAITHFUL SLOWLY RECOVER FROM BATTERED FAN SYNDROME

    I appreciate why some fans still find themselves cautious in their optimism. But I am so glad to see that folks here have stopped flinching every time an opponent raises their hand to ND.

    Our team has given us reason in past seasons to expect the next unprovoked slap in the face. But I’m glad to see us beginning to recover, and beginning to trust once again.

    I remain a believer that college football teams develop and mature as the season unfolds. Analysts and fans who think the are analysts (you know who you are) don’t know as much about teams as they think they do. So I trust Michigan will be a better team this week than they were in the previous three. But so will we.

    I don’t think we’re an elite team yet. We have so many young guys who, despite their continued development, are likely to be taken to the woodshed a couple times this season. But I believe in this team, and the ability for different squads to step up and cover for one another. I love the fact that so many of you are gaining confidence as well.

    Feels good to not live in fear.

    Go Irish

    • irish4006 - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      “We have so many young guys who, despite their continued development, are likely to be taken to the woodshed a couple times this season.” Very true.

      I just want to see one thing from this team – not think too much about the opponents, rankings, W-L record press etc. and just focus on the game plan. Weis era was a nightmare with too much talking and all that he was doing for “motivation”; every good game was followed by a ridiculous bust. If playing for Notre Dame on a national stage is not enough and you need to put up a UM 3 – 0 ND type banner in your locker room for motivation, you are dumber than you look.

      This team needs to play with pride, hunger and focus; and not get caught up in the hype. It’s ND, hype, trash talking, unreasonable fans, bashing in the media etc. are something these young men will have to learn to live with and show some maturity on the field beyond their years.

  11. onebigloadofcrap - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    32-17 final

  12. dietskunkbears - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    What do you say about going out their and beating Michigan on a last minute touchdown drive to win by 4? Would you prefer that or 40.

    • onebigloadofcrap - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:53 PM

      40
      trick question?

  13. ndgoldandblue - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    I still think the final score is going to be 31-24, or something close to that. I think that Michigan is going to be able to do more things against the Irish defense than Michigan State was able to do just because of Robinson and the dynamic that he brings to the field. However, the Irish are going to be able to do more against Michigan than they did against MSU because of the Wolverine’s relatively poor line play (both offense and defense).

    I see more opportunities for the Irish to be creative and switch things up with their play calling. They’ll be able to run more, and that will open up some things in the pass. I don’t have the same anxiety or trepidation that many of the other posters here have about this game. I was more worried before the MSU game. If the game last Saturday was a close victory, I would be more nervous now. But that convincing victory over MSU gave me a lot of faith in this Irish defense, even sans Slaughter. I think the Irish win by 7, but the score will never be closer than 3 in the second half.

    • seadomer - Sep 19, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      NONONONO …… hopefully we enter 4th quarter at 24-7 THEN total UM shut out with us kicking a field goal and another TD for good measure for total jubilation.

      I have said this 5 times now so it must be true. wink

  14. NotreDan - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    It’s sure nice to see a guest sportswriter that has some perspective.

    Living where I do (near Ann Arbor) I know for a fact that a lot of UM faithful are very uneasy about their season, including this game.

    There are just too many holes on either side of the ball for them. I can say thought that after watching UM three times, Funchess (a true Freshman I believe) is absolutely gifted and should make an impact.

    The other thing I think about is the totally ELECTRIC atmosphere in AA last year. I think that kept UM in that game. I’m hoping we can create some of our own in SB this year.

    My gut is still with ND, and I have to tell you, after watching the video of BK before, during and after the MSU game in the locker room… I have an entirely new perspective on the guy and our team’s level of mental preparedness. That was REAL passion boys, and a coach that knows how to put together the right words, with the right push at the right time.

    GO IRISH!!! Beat Michigan!

  15. fw190wuerger - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Police: Nude man was disorderly

    http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/sbt-police-nude-man-was-disorderly-20120914,0,1286607.story

    The cops are only finding out now? Readers of Inside the Irish comments have long known that.

    • nudeman - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      Was not me, regrettably
      Sounds like he was having a good time though

  16. fitz79 - Sep 19, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Nothin would be finer than a win against Michigan Saturday night. We should’ve won last year. The last 3 years really. But this year… we’re gonna cream em!

  17. irishdodger - Sep 19, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Based on the past 15 years of failed “Return to Glory” moments, this has built up into another. Beat a top10 team as an underdog on the road. Then listen to the lavish praise that even naysayers are heaping on ND. Then play a team that ND is obviously athletically superior to but has somehow snatched victory away from ND the last three years. Add the fact that we haven’t had a pick six or fumble recovery for a TD or a given up a ST score yet & it has the makings of another shitting of the bed by ND. Let’s hope BK & boys can erase that & the corner is finally turning on this program.

    • NotreDan - Sep 19, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      *walks quietly up behind dodger and blows a massive fart*

      Cheer up dude

  18. ndgoldandblue - Sep 19, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    This is way off topic, but I was just thinking that a cool promo for this game would be Manti and Golson sitting in the steam room, Any Given Sunday style. Manti says to Everett, “For every Notre Dame legend. For every Rocket Ismail, for every Tony Rice, there’s a hundred Irish players you never even heard of.” Then, Manti continues and ends his speech with “When a man looks back at his time at Notre Dame, he should be proud of all of it, not just the night he went on the road to beat Michigan State. You gotta’ learn how to beat Michigan. If you don’t, you’re just another quarterback to come through Notre Dame.”

    • seadomer - Sep 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM

      Like it … forget rankings … we beat them for 3 quarters last, this time we must do for all 4.

    • mmanor01 - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      That would be totally awesome!

      I take it that you saw last week’s promo where Golson stated that the team has started calling him Willie Beamen.

      Too fing cool!

      “He’s changing the plays!”

  19. runners00 - Sep 19, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    I’m not in practice every day and so I have no idea how things are or aren’t going. I know this: Michigan is coming into our house as a highly motivated group of kids who was embarrassed against Alabama three weeks ago and who hardly beat Air Force two weeks ago. They are dying to light us up.

    That said, once again I think that this game comes down to our offensive line. I think our defensive front seven will be okay. We’re quick and we’re consistent and, well, Michigan doesn’t exactly run an offense that is vertical. So the weakest part of our defense — the inexperience we have in the secondary — is not likely to be repeatedly tested against this Michigan team because they’re not a drop-back kind of offense. This is not say that Robinson cannot throw the ball downfield. But on the whole, Michigan’s offense is a bit more of a running offense, than, say a Peyton Manning offense. They rely on a very fast Denard Robinson who sits behind a very large offensive line. Incidentally, of the five starting linemen, four were rated four-stars by the recruiting services and the fifth, Patrick Omameh, was a two-star recruit who has gained 60 pounds in his three-plus years in Ann Arbor.

    All of that said, our front seven is strong and will be very difficult to score on, even with Robinson. Tuitt, Nix, Shel Day, Shembo in particular are very talented, quick, big. They’ll manage just fine. Our linebackers (particularly Manti), are just so tough in coverage and are bright and willing to cheat up a bit as needed that it will cause problems for Michigan.

    So, it seems to come down to whether our offense — and in particular our offensive line — can move people and, if so, when it moves people, will it continue to hold onto the football and punch it in when needed? I think that we’ll be solid in this regard but I still worry about whether we’ll score enough points. I think that we’re quicker and stronger than Michigan. It’ll be close, but provided we stay healthy I think we’ll win.

  20. ndfaithful - Sep 19, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Lou Holtz frequently says that “you get a different team every week”. He knows that you have a combination of kids and young men on your football team. This week will show us a lot about the Irish. I hope some champions show up, because I think they’ve got more than a few on this roster.

    I think they will, so my score prediction is 42-17. I figure we can run for 3, pass for 2, and the defense will score. I really think we’ll move the ball on the ground and I still think we’ll be aggressive and go deep like we did against MSU. I think Michigan will try to stuff the box at first like everyone else has done. I expect play action passes to hit some big plays for ND.

    I get so worried about Denard because, well, uh, history. I think he’ll have some big plays, but I think we can win the game handily if we just play up to our ability and don’t panic like we did last year in the 4th quarter. I think the biggest challenge for the ND defense for the LB’s. I keep hearing how our DL will rule, but I don’t see it that way. They have some big boys up front and I’m not sure any of our linement can actually collar DR single-handedly. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see tons of solo tackles for loss coming from our DL. He’s just too slippery. Where he’s hurt us the most is with that dang, fake run and quick pass. If our secondary can cover long enough for us to gang-tackle, we’ll win.

    I’m already anxious.

    GO IRISH!!!

  21. zorichmidriff - Sep 19, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Did anyone hear Herbie on Mike & Mike this a.m.? Interesting stuff. He thinks Diaco is going to try and mimic the “build-a-fence” the Bama front did v. UMich. He said if the Irish send everybody after Denard, it’s going to create seams and space and whatever, and the guy will be off like a cracked-up jackrabbit.

    Denard’s a threat. Sure. But brother, I have faith in this Irish D. I have faith in Diaco. I have not felt like this since Holtz era. And I feel we can beat this UMich team if play good D and let Golson continue to grown out there on the field. Play careful, hard ball. Win the game.

    • bernhtp - Sep 19, 2012 at 5:36 PM

      I didn’t hear the interview. I think we will see a lot of Denard fencing, but ND will also need to mix up the defensive calls to keep him off balance. I think that our D will shut down most of the traditional running game and will cause Denard to scramble for his life, but that’s also where he’s often most dangerous. In particular, safeties have the uncomfortable choice of staying in coverage or coming up.

      While our CBs are inexperienced, they have shown tremendous athleticism and a strong instinct for the ball. They will be picked on and will have the opportunity to be goat or hero. I would love to see Russell and Shepherd grab and return a couple of picks.

      • seadomer - Sep 19, 2012 at 6:00 PM

        Who’s Shepherd?

      • bernhtp - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:27 PM

        Sorry, unpurged wistfulness leaked through the finger from the brain. I meant *Shumate*, Russell and Jackson.

  22. nateprez4irish - Sep 19, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    I thought ND had to do 3 things against MSU and I think similar for Michigan.
    1. Win the field position battle (I believe MSU only had 1 possession in the red zone all night and missed the field goal)
    2. No Turnovers (Didn’t mind Golson throwing the ball a couple rows deep)
    3. Stretch the field early to open up the run game (I actually wouldn’t have minded seeing some Weis-like screens early in that game)

    I think a similar plan against Michigan will lead to a similar margin of victory. Even minus Aaron Lynch, the D-Line has put significant pressure on the QB from the edges either 1-on-1 or by running stunts and the linebackers are obviously sick by stuffing the middle. I fear lots of play action and roll outs in an attempt to freeze the linebackers, minimize the rush, and work on our inexperienced secondary. Robinson poses more of a threat to do that than MSU but I still think our defense is up to the challenge.

    I’m also pre-calling our first kick return for a TD this week!

    Notre Dame 23 Michigan 6

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOO IRISH!!!

    • seadomer - Sep 19, 2012 at 8:53 PM

      Love the excitement and although I’m newer here, we do not talk about guys that do NOT impact ND anymore.

  23. cpfirish - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    37-17… Irish.

    Shut down DR. Don’t turn the ball over. This will be EG best game out of his first four. Then come November WATCH out.. He will be lights down. Not worried at all about Mich beating us through the air. And I also did mention TOMA back in spring practices that he will make clutch catches this season!! Haha.. Go Irish!!

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