Editors Note: Sorry for the lack of pictures and videos but the computer I post from is in Atlanta, while I’m in Ann Arbor this weekend. Go Blue!
By Senior Writer Todd Male:
Last weeks games really didn’t show us anything. WMU looked good at times, and moved the ball well in the first half. But Carder is one heck of a signal caller, and has great experience. The saving grace is the defense did quite well at preventing the big play, even with a top WR facing them.
The real question is how vanilla was Michigan’s gameplan? My suspicion is it was very much so.
Notre Dame on the other hand didn’t show us a whole lot. Golden Domers will point to 500+ yard of offense, while giving up under 300 in their loss, and scream that if they hadn’t turned the ball over 5 times, they would have walked away with it. While I only got to watch the 4th quarter, from what I read, it appears that USF played much less aggressively on defense with a 16-0 halftime lead, and tried to run the ball quite a bit to milk the clock. Sometimes numbers don’t tell the whole story. How many times the last couple of years was UM on the wrong side of a big score, yet had 500 yards of offense? More than we’d like to admit.
So many things could happen Saturday, that this is an incredibly difficult game to gauge. Michigan would be smart to test the edges while on offense. Inexperience at the ND Defensive end position could and should be exploited. I’d love to see some Denard roll outs, with run/pass options (like the old QB waggle of Griese/Brady/Henson/Navarre days, but with Denard given the option to run). From what I saw, ND linebackers had a hard time with over-pursuing, and could prove to be huge. Off tackle runs, and the same Denard type runs of last year should also prove successful, as should the seam route that Roundtree scored with last year.
Defensively, ND’s Offensive Tackles are their weakness on that side of the ball, and it wouldn’t surprise me for many of the blitzes to come from the edge, however Michigan needs to do a much better job of creating pressure with its front 4 this week. It just opens up so many possibilities for things DC Greg Mattison can dial up. Corners can play closer to the line of scrimmage, additional help can be given to cover all world WR Michael Floyd, and so many looks can be given Tommy Rees, the newly anointed future Heisman trophy winning QB, that his head will spin.
Before last week, I had this one penciled in as a loss. My heart says Michigan has potential to dominate this game. My brain says it will be a last drive game, similar to the last two years.
Somewhere in between will turn out to be reality. Michigan scores a mid 4th quarter TD to make the final Michigan 34, Notre Dame 24, in front of 114,201 (predicted) fans, for its 3rd consecutive victory against ND, the first time since the series was continued in 1978.