Friday, September 6, 2013

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Notre Dame


Game Day is in the Big House!

So last week went better than predicted. The Defense kept the Chips out of the end zone and we got a bonus score from special teams.  Excellent start by all accounts. But this week is Notre Dame. At night. On Game Day. Let’s Go Blue!

(14) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0) @ (17) Michigan Wolverines (1,0, 0-0 B1G)
Saturday 9/7, 8:00 pm ET, Michigan Stadium, ESPN

So this is the final scheduled installment of this “regional rivalry” and I think for the most part, Michigan fans are more bummed than Notre Dame fans. At least from what I’ve read, it seems that way. Which makes sense, I mean why would you want to continue a series you’re losing 23-16-1 against the team who taught you the game?




Offense
Can the offensive line get any push against the planetoid defense linemen of the Irish? That is question number one. Brian at MGoBlog mentioned several times this week that the Zone Stretch we saw last week was specifically designed to neutralize those tackles. If the offense can’t get Fitz going, Gardner is going to have a hard time finding open receivers. Aside from Gallon and to a lesser extend Dileo, our receivers aren’t likely to get a ton of separation if the secondary doesn’t have to freak out about the run. That said Gardner is a huge wild card. His improv is up there with Colin Mochrie and Ryan Styles



He’ll save broken down plays and force the Irish secondary to stick with their zones/man. He may not kill the Irish with his legs like Denard, but the combination of his legs and arm are just as deadly.

Defense
Is Tommy Rees for real? Who knows? He’s a senior now and in the third year of Kelly’s offense. The bigger question is can the D-line get the same pressure it did last week? If the front four (and the occasional linebacker) can cause Rees to get happy feet, there could be a turnover or two in the making. If Michigan is forced to bring pressure, here’s to hoping Gordon and Avery can be Kovacs-like enough to keep the big plays down.

Special Teams
THOMAS! How great was that last week?

I’m hoping last week means we no longer have to hide our eyes every time these units takes the field. Norfleet won’t make a mistake like he did last week. I think this is where Michigan has the advantage and at some point a special teams’ play will be the difference.

Prediction
Oh boy. I think Notre Dame over achieved last year and Michigan (*cough* Denard. I know its blasphemy) gift wrapped the game for them. I see Michigan as an improved team. I don’t see that from the Irish. Big game, under the lights and I think Hoke and Team 134 want to make a statement.


Michigan 31 - 23

Take it away Michigan Bloggers:

Big House Blog has a tale of the tape and predicts a Wolverine victory.

Burgeoning Wolverine Star says Devin is the key to victory.

Go Blue Michigan Wolverine has all kinds of stuff. I think there is a preview in there somewhere.

Maize and Blue Nation has some annoying blue blinky thing and a prediction much like mine.

Maize N Brew calls for a low scoring victory.

Maize and Go Blue sees Michigan improved and the Irish not so much and predicts a win.

Touch the Banner has chicks man and says Michigan covers the spread.

UM Go Blog doesn't make a prediction but has a lot of things to watch for.

MGoBlog has Tom Hammond and a furry kitty. Oh and says victory!

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