UPDATE: Michigan pulled off a huge upset over #4 Notre Dame today in South Bend for its first ever win over a top 5 team and its first ever win over their rivals the Irish. Brent Noseworthy had SIX (!) goals for Michigan, including a GREAT behind-the-back finish in the first half. Chase Young, Decker Curran and Kevin Mack also added some clutch 2nd half goals and Tommy Heidt was terrific in goal. Michigan never trailed.
This is the biggest win in program history for Michigan and could really set the tone for the second half of the season. GO BLUE!!!!!! AGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Conry's boys get their toughest test yet as they head into South Bend to take the #4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. It'll be on ESPN3/ACC Network this afternoon at 4. I hate that timing but I'm snowed in here in DC so it actually works out - I'll be watching!
This could actually be something of a trap game for ND (as much as ND-Michigan in anything can be considered a trap game) - they're coming off an emotional St. Patrick's Day win against Virginia and they are likely more worried about going into Columbus to play Ohio State this weekend. Michigan is of course not expected to win but I'm sure as hell rooting for an upset. This is probably the best Michigan team Notre Dame has ever faced.
I watched the Virginia game the other day so I actually have something of a scouting report to offer aside from their recent wins and losses and general guys to look out for.
So, ND is very good, but a bit overrated. They're not as good as in past years and I think they're vulnerable to an upset (they did struggle with Detroit and Richmond early on). Offensively, they can score quick and in bunches and Michigan has to be ready to stop the runs if they want to keep it close. Their dudes on attack, Garnsey and Wynne, are tiny but they are quick and they can score. Those are two huge matchups for Michigan's defense; they have to play great on-ball D and be ready to come with quick, strong slides.
ND's defense was pretty strong as well and they kept Virginia without scoring for several long stretches. Mack and Buckanavage will be relied upon to create and Michigan really needs Noseworthy to have a big game finishing on offense. ND also has an excellent long stick middie, Johnny Sexton, who made some clutch takeaways down the stretch against UVA. He'll likely be checking Curran and he'll be dangerous on faceoffs and in transition.
I was also struck by how sloppy the game was in general. Both teams threw the ball away a lot and there were a lot of loose ball scrums. Ground balls will be crucial in this one and Michigan better be ready to fight for them.
Michigan dropped close games to two good teams so far this year. But they had leads in both and couldn't close it out. If they can hang around today and finish strong they might be able to pull the upset. It would be the biggest win for this program to date. And it sure would be nice to stick it to the Irish. GO BLUE!!!