there would have to be some to wash away
After last week's win over WMU, Michigan has garnered some early respect from various locations. 2 of the 4 "experts" for Yahoo! pick Michigan to beat ND this weekend. Pat Forde graded Michigan's effort by the two-headed monster of Forcier and Robinson an "A" saying, "They produced 197 passing yards (three TDs by Forcier) and 111 rushing yards (one TD run of 43 yards by Robinson), combining to create the statistical body of work Pat White used to turn in by himself." Which brings me to this; after a convincing win Michigan has created some expectations for themselves. I know that I have them, I know that some "experts" have them, and I know that some of you have them now that we have seen the product on the field. In 1969 Bo beat OSU in what would become his "Michigan Moment." ND is not OSU, but I know I hate them, and after all that has gone on the past two weeks this weekend could be Rich Rod's "Michgan Moment." With that being said, here is some "fan opposition research" to prepare you for this weekends game.
Notre Dame Vital Stats
- Coaches- HC- Charlie Weis, DC- Jon Tunuta and Corwin Brown (Tunuta calls the plays starting this year), OC- Weiss calls the play, his assistant offensive coach is Ron Ianello
- Record (Last 4 yrs. under Weis)
- 2005: 9-3 (4-2 H, 5-0 A) @ #3 Mich (ND ranked #20) won 17-10
- 2006: 10-3 (6-1 H, 3-1 A) vs. #11 Mich (ND ranked #2) lost 47-21
- 2007: 3-9 (1-6 H, 2-3 A) @ Mich (both not ranked) lost 38-0
- 2008: 7-6 (4-2 H, 2-4 A) vs Mich (both not ranked) won 35-17
- Total: 29-21 (15-11 H, 12-8 A) 2-2 vs Mich
- 14-2 vs. Army, Navy, Air Force, Stanford, Syracuse, Washington, Duke, San Diego St.
- ND vs. Michigan Facts
- There have been 5 up-sets in the last 7 games
- ND is 3-9 in road openers since 1997
- Home team is 8-2 in the last 10
- Last 3 have been decided by 27 ppg (Mich 2-1 in those games)
- 185 combined pts. scored since Weis took over as coach
We all know what happened in last year's game. Michigan turned the ball over 6 times, and trailed 21-0 just over 10 minutes into the game. This led to a final score of 35-17 on a nasty, rainy day that would only be rivaled by the Northwestern game as the worst playing conditions of last year. Now we all agree it was nasty, but lets break it down a little and look for some positives. After the first 10 mins., Michigan out scored ND 17-14 the rest of the way. Michigan out gained ND on the ground 159-113 (3.8 to 3.3 ypc), and in the air 229-147. The more telling stat though is the completion percentage, Michigan was 19 of 28 (68%) ND was 10 of 21 (48%). This was the second best passing day of the year for Michigan, and one of the best for the OL as ND did not register a sack against Michigan. Michigan also held the edge in first downs 21-14, which was the highest Michigan had all year as they only had at least 20 first downs only twice last year (the other time was Minnesota, which they won 29-6). So while we can all agree that the ND game was a complete nightmare to watch, it can be said that there are some positives to take from the game.
Notre Dame vs. Nevada
People all week have been talking about how great the Notre Dame win was against Nevada, because they shut down such a prolific offense, while scoring 35. First of all Nevada, playing out of the run and shoot WAC, are not known for shutting down the opposition. They have given up under 20 pts only 6 times in there last 26 games. Now I understand that they did drop 35 pts on them, but it may have been more lucky than good. Clausen connected on 4 TD passes, but the shortest was from 19 yds out. The others were 24, 70, and 88. All of these to Michael Floyd (which begs the question how do you not cover this guy.) These TDs combine for 201 of the 500 total yards of offense ND had. Also, lets look at the situations for these TDs. The first 19 yd TD came on a 3rd&16. The 24 yd TD came on 3rd&9. Then the other 2 of 70 and 88 were bombs from the beginning of the drive. What I am trying to illustrate here, is that ND had only one TD from in the Red Zone. I know you have to execute on the field, but if Nevada executes two 3rd and long stops, or decides to cover Floyd on the go route, then ND does not score a TD, or maybe any points, on 4 of their 5 scoring drives. Michigan's secondary is vulnerable, but I feel confident that they are better than Nevada's.
Now for the fact that ND shutout the prolific offense of Nevada. The mistake here is that Nevada moved the football against ND. First Nevada missed a 38 yd FG on their first drive after driving 52 yds on 8 plays. Then while trailing 21-0 in the 2nd quarter, Nevada failed to convert on a 4th and 1 from the ND 19. This was their 2nd to the Red Zone in 4 possession. On their next possession Nevada took the ball down the the ND 35, before the half ended. In the 3rd Q, Nevada moved the ball down to the ND 5 before fumbling and turning it over. The 4th Q was basically run out by 2 ND possessions. For the day Nevada was 0 for 3 in the Red Zone with a missed FG, TO on downs, and a fumble. Again, I know Nevada has a great offense, but this is crazy. If they make a FG, convert a 4th and 1, and don't fumble on the 5 then they put up some points.
I am in no way calling this victory tainted by these stats, but I think that if you were to look deeper, like we did here, it shows that there are some positives going into this weeks game.
I know that ND is ranked now, and I know that all Michigan did last week was beat WMU. However, finding the holes in the opponent that you are playing, and making yourself believe that your team can win is what "fan opposition research" is all about.
By the way after this research I do believe Michigan will win this week, and that it will be Rich Rod's "Michigan Moment."