Both teams in the Michigan-Notre Dame game are coming off of close victories against shall we say, less than sterling, competition. Michigan beating MAC east champ Miami (Ohio) by ten with only two really solid drives throughout the game without much of a passing attack. Notre Dame beat San Diego St by eight in a game where they got a little luck and a lot of help from the referees.
One of the things that Notre Dame will have going for them in this game, aside from home field advantage, is the revenge factor. Michigan has outscored the Domers 85-21 in the last two seasons, they are ticked off and hungry for vengeance. Their offensive line, virtually all freshmen last season, now have a year of experience under their belt, and they will undoubtedly want to destroy the Wolverines.
The Maize and Blue on the other hand come into this game with a chip on their shoulder. A loss to Utah by two, a win against Miami by ten. Not impressive to the media or the fans, they have something to prove, and that is, they are better than this they can be a solid winning team with a good offense and a suffocating strangling defense. One of the advantages for the Wolverines this year will be up in the trenches, every one of the starting front four, which made the Domer front five see wings in their sleep a year ago, has returned. Not only that the conditioning program they've dealt with over the summer have made it look like their helmets actually give them wings.
Both teams come in with some changes, Michigan arguably comes in with the bigger one with a new coach and a new offensive system that runs the ball out of a different formation. Notre Dame on the other hand, their biggest change is the amount of hair on Jimmy "sunshine" Clausen's head. A major distraction to be certain for the Irish, his hair should be ample motivation for the Wolverines. Seeing as that he would like a kiss from a defensive tackle, something i'm sure Terrance Taylor, Will Johnson or Mike Martin will be obliged to do. A helmet to helmet kiss that is.
I don't see much to scare me from Notre Dame's passing game, their receivers are decent, but unless they figure out a way to throw the ball to whoever Charlie Stewart or Stevie Brown is covering, i don't see Clausen having a great game. The biggest threat i see on the Notre Dame offensive front is running back Damon Allen, the first opponent whom our defense has faced who can legitimately break tackles. Our defense, which hasn't missed a tackle so far this season, will be severely tested, as the Irish will try to do the old three yards and a cloud of dust attack against a team that's seen the spread set two in a row.
The Domers do not have a spectacular defense but they have experience on their side, not to mention the idea that they want to pound the heck out of Michigan for what happened the past two years. They will try to blitz Michigan every down and force Steven Threet to make quick decisions, his ability to make the zone read will be tested as will our offensive line. My idea, control the ball, avoid turnovers at any cost, run draw plays, maybe even an old school single wing fullback trap. But above all else, DO NOT TURN THE BALL OVER. Let the defense do their job, they're faster than they were a year ago against virtually the same guys they faced last year.
Anybody who says this is going to be an ugly game should remember that ugly is just beauty in disguise.