This is the only time Rich Rod and Kelly have faced each other.
Items of note:
- Rushing yards: West Virginia 295, Cincinnati 84
- Passing yards: Cincinnati 323, West Virginia 140
- Total yards: West Virginia 435, Cincinnati 407
- Time of Possession: West Virginia 36:21, Cincinnati 22:59
- Turnovers lost: West Virginia 3, Cincinnati 2
Pat White had some familiar looking numbers: 13-19 passing, 140 yards, 0 sacks, 155 rushing yards on 27 carries. Slaton added 103 yards on 23 carries. For Cincinnati, Ben Mauk completed just over 50% of his passes (19 of 34), but the 19 completions were for 323 yards, with Marcus Barnett having a huge game, 10 catches for 210 yards (!!!). Cincinnati's running game was quiet, although that's skewed a bit by five WVU sacks on Mauk.
West Virginia dominated the TOP, particular in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Their two lost fumbles were both by White in the 4th quarter.
Overall, some reasonable assumptions (IMO) can be made:
- The talent on Notre Dame's 2010 roster is greater than Cincinnati's 2007 roster. This is offset, at least somewhat, by the 2007 matchup coming in Game 11 instead of Game 2, and Cincinnati's QB, while still being in Year 1 under Kelly, still had extensive playing time at Wake Forest, much more than Dayne Crist.
- West Virginia's 2007 defense, while not necessarily as "star-powered", was more than likely better than this year's Michigan defense is or will be. If not in pure talent, then definitely in terms of understanding the scheme.
- Even with the TOP lopsided, Cincinnati still threw for 300+ yards and put up 400 total yards. Despite this, Michigan's best chance on Saturday lies in controlling the ball, eating the clock and keeping Kelly's offense on the sideline.
- Mauk was Cincinnati's leading rusher. This scenario repeating itself on Saturday with Crist can almost be completely ruled out because they're still protecting his knee, and ND has running backs better than Cincinnati did, anyway.
- While ND's defense is certainly more talented than Cincinnati's was and probably improved from last year (based on a one game sample size against a skittish Purdue team), there is a difference between "improved" and being good enough to stop an offense that put 31 (Stonum's KR TD doesn't count) points on them last year.
Last year I thought we played over our heads in the ND game and got an assist from Weis's stupidity, something Kelly definitely won't do. However, this year, I think this is definitely a game within our grasp. Assuming we reveal more of the offense (and execute, obviously), I don't see Notre Dame slowing us down very often on Saturday. If we take care of the football, we will put plenty of yards and points on the board (...just like we would've in South Bend two years ago if we had protected the ball). On the other side of the ball, well...I'm less confident. Even assuming that Crist is not an all-world QB in his second real game action ever and still a smidge tenative with his knee, I would expect him to hit open receivers that Frazer missed, and I would expect ND's wideouts to catch them unlike UConn's.
Throw it all together in a pot, mix it up, and I think the end result is a similar one as last year's game. Last year I picked ND to win, so I'll keep up the reverse jinx. ND 35, Michigan 31.