After Tonight: More Wary of ND or Less Wary of MSU?

Submitted by Son of Lloyd Brady on September 16th, 2012 at 3:46 AM

In this game ND's defensive line dominated MSU's and essentially shut down Lev'eon Bell. Considering the past few years against ND where the game could have gone either way (especially last year where we did not deserve to win based on the first 3 quarters), does this game lean more towards ND being a formittable opponent or MSU being much less of a threat?

It seems to me that MSU is very one dimensional and relies upon Bell too much (similar to us relying upon Denard) and shutting him down equals a much easier victory then previously assumed.

That being said, does this game imply more that we should be more wary of ND or less of MSU?



September 16th, 2012 at 4:11 AM ^

Yes to both. I think we will be able to pass better against ND than MSU but may not have as good of a defensive performance. Whether that passing will be enough for a win.... who knows?

And for MSU, this made me a little less scared of them, but still worried about them for sure.


September 16th, 2012 at 10:52 AM ^


Remember last year when Notre Dame manhandled State in South Bend?  ND was a better team than us and we somehow won the game?  Although we beat the team that handled State, the Spartans handled us, handily.  

The moral here is:

Be scared of ND.

Be scared of State.

They are both bigger, better and more experieinced up front than us right now.  Last year shows that we can bet them, but it also show that just because we beat one, doesn't mean the other can't kick our ass either.  Wins against ND and Sparty this year would be pretty sweet, though!


September 16th, 2012 at 1:35 PM ^

but respect both. UM has advantages at certain positions(QB,WR, TE,) and has a very good staff of their own. MSU's weakness at QB and WR and ND's at QB and in the secondary are equally as dangeorus to their chances as UM's weakness on the line are. Basically, there isn't a whole lot of difference between the three teams after you account for the strengths and weaknesses of both.


September 16th, 2012 at 7:06 PM ^

We may have a better QB, but with all due respect, MSU has dominated Denard every game they've played against him.  They have the recipe to shut him down, and they are arguably better on D this year than any of the previous Denard starts.


Not hating on Denard, I love him and hope he goes off on State, but history would point to something less exciting.

Blue since birth

September 16th, 2012 at 4:29 AM ^

A little of both.

I think MSU has been overrated and ND has been underrated (as hard as that is to believe). I would have said the same a month ago or 24 hours ago.

That may all be reversed after yesterday.


September 16th, 2012 at 4:16 AM ^

ND turned MSU one-dimensional with strong front seven. Unfortunately, even against UMass we did not look good up front. I don't think our D will be able to take away Bell and force Sparty to throw, although I did take heart by seeing the success ND had in the zone-running game towards the end of the game.

Flip side of that is I'm more wary of ND's front seven, and I don't think they'll be easy to stop (although our D matches up better against them than against Sparty). I'm nervous in turn about Purdue since they played ND so tough and I didn't get to see that game. Basically, this game managed to make me worry about 3 of our next 4 games. I'm not so worried about Illinois.


September 16th, 2012 at 5:06 AM ^

This probably doesn't make sense, but I'm slightly less wary of ND since this probably means we'll be the underdog. When was the last time a road favorite won the Michigan - ND game?


September 16th, 2012 at 5:23 AM ^

 I know if Michigan plays half as well as they are capable of we should win both games. We're all just waiting for the light to come on and the lines to gel. I like our chances loading the box and blitzing sparty with man coverage a lot more than I like our chances next Saturday tho. Notre Dame has been the favorite to beat us the past 3 years and always came up short. Denard just like to shine in that game , the more dramatic the better


September 16th, 2012 at 7:53 AM ^


I know if Michigan plays half as well as they are capable of we should win both games. We're all just waiting for the light to come on and the lines to gel.

The O-line is showing some progress.  The D-line is a concern.

I am more and more convinced the game of college football is, at this stage of things, all about the defensive line*.  A dominant D-line can tame the best offenses.  Michigan's D-line this year is less effective than last ... and the effects ripple through to the play of the linebackers and DBs.  I'll let those better at the X's and O's explain exactly why that is.

* I'm not so sure that's true in pro football at this point ... my sense is the pendulum has swung back to favor the offenses.  The ball is coming out of the backfield so quickly in the pros that even good defensive lines can't get there before the ball is already upfield.


September 16th, 2012 at 5:51 AM ^

That was the best D I have seen ND play in a while.  They were very quick to the ball and really exposed Sparty's passing game.  Hoke is telling it like it is every time he is interviewed where he says that our lines are a work in progress.  Very nervous about next week in South Bend.  They are going to load the box and dare us to throw.


September 16th, 2012 at 6:00 AM ^

Notre Dame was gonna be tough to beat regardless. The one thing i did realize, we would rather face gholson than rees. I believe that if rees woulda been playing vs sparty they score more points and the game is even more of a blowout.

Brown Bear

September 16th, 2012 at 9:50 AM ^

Oh Gene....

"Tell me a game the Irish can't win. I'll wait.

Michigan has recovered after its season-opening wedgie by Bama, but the Wolverines are beatable.

Miami has a 39-point loss this season.

Stanford, which has an upset against USC, is going to be a toughie. But the game is in South Bend.

BYU is no gimme, but Notre Dame should be favored at home.

I don't know what to make of the Sooners yet (they face Kansas State next week), but a win at Norman isn't out of the question.

Pittsburgh is capable of the upset (hello, Virginia Tech), but Notre Dame has beaten the Panthers in each of the last two seasons.

Boston College is 1-2 and looking like a team headed nowhere.

Wake Forest just got beat, 52-0, by Florida State.

USC has defeated Notre Dame nine of the last 10 times, but I think we can agree that the Trojans have some flaws. And Stanford just beat USC with a first-year starting quarterback.

So start booking those January flights to Miami, right?"


September 16th, 2012 at 7:44 AM ^


I don't waste my time playing the transitive property of CFB game. Each game each week is unique. One week a team looks unstoppable, the next week they play like mewling kittens.

I was already predicting a loss to ND before this game, so it really does nothing to change my opinion about next week's game but I will point out that ND shutting down MSU's offense isn't really all that remarkable: MSU has only looked good on offense against a bad MAC team. Oh, and Leveon Bell is one the most over-hyped players in the B1G.


September 16th, 2012 at 7:51 AM ^

I think Michigan is more than capable of beating them both.  I do worry a bit more about ND's offense though.  Their front 7 looked good against MSU, but I suspect that will be a theme for most teams playing MSU.  They did not look that strong against Purdue. 

If Denard is on and the play calling is not terrible, we could cause ND some serious problems.  Their front seven got after Maxwell tonight, but teams are not going to pin their ears back and come after Denard that way for fear of his legs.  He will have more time to pass and I don't think their DBs will be able to keep up with our WRs at this point.  Especially if we use Funchess more.

I suspect Michigan will beat both of them.


September 16th, 2012 at 7:55 AM ^

The MSU game didn't change my view as much as Penn State blowing out Navy did. I was impressed with ND's victory over Navy, but now not so much. I think our offensive speed will play into the game drastically.


September 16th, 2012 at 8:01 AM ^

ND looked like they were just playing way faster than they have in recent years. It will be an interesting game that is for sure. But our lines offensive and defensive are not good right now. 


September 16th, 2012 at 8:05 AM ^

I always thought MSU's offense would be garbage, and the defense played pretty well given the fact it didn't get a rest for most of the second half.  

ND surprised me because that front 7 was getting pressure on Maxwell and shutting down the running game virtually all night.  The offense is weaker than I expected, but with a young QB you figure it will only get better.  I definitely see the ND game being a tough out for UM, especially on the road.

But right now, MSU doesn't look like the class of the B1G.  That Boise win was unimpressive in hindsight, and ND thoroughly dismantled Sparty on the road, at night, in their biggest game of the year so far.  I know that Alabama is another level above everyone in CFB, but parts of that game yesterday looked like ND was just toying with MSU's offense.


September 16th, 2012 at 3:13 PM ^

Their corners and LBs are good if the front line can get some pressure, but overall I was not impressed.  I think last year's play by Worthy really sped up opponent's passing games, and that helped some of their DBs.  Dennard in particular looked like he had trouble all night staying with ND's WRs.


September 16th, 2012 at 8:05 AM ^

ND's offense could give us a lot of problems. MSU's defense could give us a lot of problems. I would expect some let down from ND's defense next week for a variety of reasons.

So, I'm not sure anything has changed. Michigan is capable of beating both and both teams are capable beating themselves. Just depends who shows up to play and that's coaching.


September 16th, 2012 at 8:51 AM ^

Concerned about ND's offense as well, but I was a little relieved when the BTN color commentator said UMass' head coach is running the same offense as ND.  

Apparently, it's the exact same offense.  Until this year, their HC worked with Kelly, going back to Kelly's days at CMU.  Hopefully this was a good tune-up for next week.  I know Michigan will see much better athletes running that offense next week, but a little tune-up can't hurt (seeing the same formations, same plays, etc.). 




September 16th, 2012 at 8:11 AM ^

More wary of Notre Dame for sure. They have improved every year under Kelly. Their front seven on D looks good and Golson looks competent.

Howeva... Our O-line should give Denard time to throw. If he is halfway accurate with his throws it should open the flood gates for the run. 


September 16th, 2012 at 8:23 AM ^

It really helps you look good when you are playing a new starting QB. Maxwell is okay he is not gonna be a all big ten guy.

ND isnt a power team there not going to run the ball down our throats. Even though they should they going to spread us out and the secondary will have the better day. They are playing into the strength of our D. Also ND's first TD is an insane catch and not a routine play that game coulda been 13-3 as a final or 16-3. Michigans D-line will be fine. Denard can easily have more yards than the entire ND offense. (178Pass 122Rush) Will it be enough though? Golston was 14/32 last night I mean make him beat you with his arm please...ND's D is built to stuff the run they have awful DB's. Te'o is a top run stuffing LB. I like Michigans chances.


September 16th, 2012 at 9:52 AM ^

We're a qualitatively different team in several important respects, particularly on offense. It would be difficult to predict certaintly, though the front seven of ND looked really good once they neutralized Bell. I would dare say we have a more diverse rushing game than MSU, so we should still be something of a headache for ND ideally. Going by ND's performance last night, we still have a tough game ahead though.  

That being said, if I am wary of anything, ND showed some bright spots in the rushing game, I thought, in Cierre Wood and George Atkinson. Golson was 14-32 for 178 total passing yards, but it seemed like MSU had trouble stopping the run once in a while (that might have something to do with the fact that ND kept them out there forever on  defense sometimes). It's not mind-blowingly impressive and ND will not run it all day or even  well  enough to get past us necessarily, but it is better than I thought when it is allowed to develop.

I am somewhat less wary of MSU only because they sort of telegraphed the road to potential victory in their own way - clearly, if you can stop Bell (which would be a must, I think, or this is a difficult game for us), you can really bog them down on offense, and it seems like they try to control the parameters of the passing game rather meticulously because Maxwell is trying to take three years of learning into games now. On defense, it seemed like you could throw all day on MSU in that game, but they have a month to work on that before we seem them. Still, the MSU defense seems exploitable in the air. 


Cold War

September 16th, 2012 at 8:30 AM ^

I considered us a moderate underdog against ND and State. After last night, ND is a pretty solid favorite, State a slight favorite. We just aren't quite with those teams right now.


September 16th, 2012 at 8:41 AM ^

I am going with both. ND looked good but MSU's offense did not look good at all. If our corners do not play 10 yards off the reciever (see Greg Robinson D) we will be fine against their O but who knows how our defense will play. Before this season I really thought we were a one loss team, even with the gaps on the D-line. That may be crazy but I really believe in our coaching staff but now we seem to be at the 8-4 or 9-3 range. Go Blue!


September 16th, 2012 at 8:44 AM ^

Their offense looks geared to do the things that our defense has had some trouble with so far; however, Kelly looks quick to back off the gas so i assume that he has some fear of youthful mistakes. ND never had to score because MSU's offense was pitiful. A good offense next week might be our best defense.

In the first half i was fearing ND. By the second half i couldn't tell if i was watching two really good teams or two teams that weren't very good at all.

I'm less concerned about MSU at this point because there's time for the D line to gel and our inexperience to get some. The only thing that will change that is if MSU's O line improves drastically, Maxwell learns how to throw, and the MSU receivers learn how to catch. Two out of the three would be cause for concern.

Shakey Jake

September 16th, 2012 at 8:44 AM ^

ND and MSU will be ready to play. The question is if Michigan will be ready. With the O line not up to snuff and Denard's unpredictabe passing, ND and MSU can easily take out Michigan. We will see what Michigan is really made of next week.


And ND now has a QB. Golson has the tools to do some serious damage. Mich's D is going to be busy trying to contain him.


September 16th, 2012 at 8:56 AM ^

much much more wary of ND.  I will be really surprised if we win.

Our D-line continues to unimpress.  Campbell and Roh in particular.  I anticipated so much more from these seniors.  I think the O-line is slightly better but they will be WAY overmatched by NDs front 7.  IMO the only way we win is if Borges develops a new plan and our WRs come up BIG.


September 16th, 2012 at 8:52 AM ^

Honestly, I am a little surprised by Maxwell's discipline. When you are told you aren't allowed to throw the ball over 7 yards in the air, usually at some point you get frustrated and do it anyway. I have to give it up to him. I thought he would lose this game by himself. He obviously isn't good, but he didn't totally self destruct like I thought he would.