Why Michigan will win under the lights

Submitted by Wolverman on August 29th, 2011 at 8:20 PM

  Notre Dame invades the Big House in a couple weeks and most experts as well as some fans are prematurely marking this up as a win for Notre Dame. The last three years have been terrible for Michigan football , possibly the worst in school history. In each of those 3 years Notre Dame has been favored to win , because of a late season collapse by the Wolverine and a supposed surge by the Irish. Things have'nt really worked out the way the "experts" have called it, with the Irish going 1-2 against 3 of the worst teams in Michigan history.

 What makes people so sure Notre Dame will beat Michigan this year? Notre Dame finished the season by slipping by USC and stomping Miami (yea that Miami), but those are'nt the games we need to be looking at. When evaluating Michigan vs. Notre Dame you should instead look at Notre Dames 2 late season losses. The reason why is simple , Miami and Usc run a pro style offense where the QB is a pocket passer with little to no chance for him to tuck the ball and bolt downfield for 70 yards. If you look at Navy and Tulsa who had semi mobile QB's ( NOTHING like Denard) The opposing QB both averaged about 4 yards a carry and more importantly they both won their games. This just shows that even tho the Irish's defense might have improved they did not improve where they need to in order stop Michigan.

 My final reason is the defense, even our 2 worst defensive units EVER played well enough to pull out a win versus notre the last two years. I'm not saying next year we'll look like LSU on the defensive side of the ball, but we won't look like RR's vision of a Michigan defense either. Notre Dame is a pass first offense, throwing the ball 481 times last year while they ran the 414 time for less yards as a team then Denard did by himself.  They lit up our secondary last year  , that consisted of J.t Floyd, Kovacs and a few freshman, but who did'nt. They played good enough to win the game and nothing has happend this offseason to make me think they won't do the same this year.

 I could leave out the fact this is the first night game in Michigan stadium history and the crowd and player will be crazy pumped or the fact that Notre Dame has'nt won at Michigan stadium since 1993 or something ridiculous like that as other reasons Notre dame won't win , but this game could be played in Notre Dame stadium, The Vatican or the moon and Michigan wins this game. 31-24



August 29th, 2011 at 8:29 PM ^

We can't just look at the 1-2 record and look at that blindly. The win last year was definitely different than what it could have been with Crist out for a large portion of the game. Also the 09 game was very close it's not like either of those wins were dominating performances. With that being said I see no reason to completely write the ND game off as a loss. Let's wait until we see something from both teams this weekend to see if it's that big of a mismatch.


August 29th, 2011 at 8:36 PM ^

Is really flawed.  Tulsa, besides their opening drive, couldn't move the ball and only had one offensive TD in the whole game.  They got their points off of a blocked XP, int return for a TD, punt return for a TD, etc.  Navy runs a completely and utterly different offense than Michigan.  

I think Michigan wins but it has nothing to do with Navy or Tulsa or anything that happened last year.  It has everything to do with the environment that the Irish will walk into at the Big House and the fact that Michigan will be much better on defense.  I just don't see Notre Dame scoring many points and I see Denard going Superman at least a couple times.


August 29th, 2011 at 8:55 PM ^

 it's not flawed... it's TULSA for god sake, they're a step up from the NAIA. Yea navy runs a different offesne than Michigan does , but the point still stand that both teams ran all over the Notre Dame defense. The simularities between the teams was when the QB took off on a designed run or a scramble they where all extremely succesful. You last sentence really prooves my point , of course Denard will go Superman a few times because Notre Dame has done nothing through out last season to prove they stop a QB when he decides to tuck the ball and take off.


August 29th, 2011 at 8:57 PM ^

400 yards total, 200 passing, 200 rushing. ND had a difficult time getting off the field, and any time a team puts 200 yards rushing on you, the Defense had problems. Tulsa also had 12 penalties for 133 yards, many of them drive killers.

ND should have won that game, but Tulsa moved the ball very effectively all day.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:08 PM ^

Irish, you know better than to come on here and bring up last years ( or the year before that, or the year before that...) defense. The Michigan defense we "saw" last year really didn't exist. It was a construct of the matrix or something like that. Last years defense was in Zion winning National Championships.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:40 PM ^

Run the ball to the left coach, and kick the fucking field goal.  Instead he called a time out and then a pass play to the end zone. 

If you have a modicum of sense, you don't make that decision when you're a head coach, especially when you are playing a true freshman QB.

In his first start ever, the kid threw for 334 yards and 4 TD's - Crist threw for 178 yards and 2 interceptions the week before at Navy.  No, I doubt Crist would have done any better.


August 30th, 2011 at 10:11 AM ^

I was going to say you were incorrect, but I think you might be correct. If the ball is fumbled into, then out of the endzone, then the defense is awarded possession... Here's the rules:


Hi Phil,

This was a challenging question and I had to research it to find the answer. There are different rules in play depending on into which end zone the ball is fumbled. If the offense fumbles the ball into its own end zone the ball is live and all standard rules apply. The defense can recover for a touchdown or the offense can recover and either advance the ball or be tackled in the end zone for a safety.

I believe that your question actually related to the offense fumbling into the defense's end zone. In that case, their are a couple of different options. The defense can recover the ball and either advance it or they can down it in the end zone and start with the ball at their own 20 yard line. It gets really tricky if the offense recovers the ball. Here are the options.

1. If the ball is fumbled on 1st, 2nd or 3rd down and with more than two minutes left in either half, any offensive player can recover the ball for a touchdown.

2. If the ball is fumbled on 4th down or with less than two minutes in the half, only the offensive player who fumbled the ball can recover it for a touchdown.

3. If, in situation two, a different offensive player recovers the ball, the ball goes back to the original line of scrimmage and the offense keeps the ball.

However, none of these happened because play was blown dead when it shouldn't have. So I think we have an inadvertant whistle, meaning the offense has the choice of replaying the down or taking the ball at the time of the whistle (or in this case, where they last possessed the ball which is now loose). So, yeah, I guess this was a waste of time, but these deep rule book situations are always interesting to me.


August 30th, 2011 at 2:14 AM ^

 honestly if you throw the ball 60 times in a game 3 int's is'nt all that bad... If ND could have ran the ball at all last year maybe they would'nt have had to throw so much. Seriously tho don't act like there was a huge drop off from ND's 2 QB's. There was a reason a lot of ND fans did'nt want Crist to start this year.


August 30th, 2011 at 2:29 PM ^

I guess 5% doesn't sound that bad but situationally they were poor decisions, especially since everyone in the stadium knw the position the offense was in on that final drive. It was hs first season. I havent seen anything on fans NOT wanting Crist. Some certainly preferred Rees because they thought he was better as long as they win they wont care. But I think I will go with the staff who saw them in camp everyday

Blue since birth

August 30th, 2011 at 3:11 AM ^

"did you miss the 3 ints? not to metion the game losing one.  He played like a true freshman qb, but I dont know that I would qualify that as very, very well."



But ND only threw 3 ints that game. Rees, Montana, and Crist each had one.

Montana's numbers were very close to Crist that game sans one pass from Crist that went for crazy YAC (to Rudolph for 90-some yards?). Crist also put points on the board... But Montana's lack of doing so on one (arguably two) occasions were little fault of his own. IIRC one drive he led down the field ended in a FG because the sideline couldn't manage the clock before the half. He was moving the ball as effectively as Crist according to the numbers.

But I guess if enough people say the same thing ("if Crist had been in") enough times it becomes reality.



August 29th, 2011 at 8:38 PM ^

I still don't understand why everyone is saying ND is going to be good this year. They won some games last year, but they also lost some games too. I guess I don't follow them enough to know but it seems like they have the same team as last year, only with a healthy Crist. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think we'll beat em at night.

NOLA Wolverine

August 29th, 2011 at 8:44 PM ^

Well when you blast Utah and Miami and take out USC on the road to finish your year in the first year with a new system and coach the future looks pretty rosey. When you put that up against a team who got taken out back to the woodshed 3 times in a row to end the year, lost its coach, and has an option QB it's pretty obvious who onlookers would lean towards.

Maize and Blue…

August 29th, 2011 at 9:01 PM ^

Most overrated team in college football last year.  Miami wasn't exactly very good and they beat USC without Barkley in a down year for the Trojans.  

Last year is totally irrelevant now as we have a new coaching staff and schemes.  The question for me is will the D improve enough to offset what I believe will be a decrease in offensive production? 

NOLA Wolverine

August 29th, 2011 at 9:19 PM ^

Last year is totally irrelevant but you're wondering if the D will improve enough and you're concerned about Denard's transition to the new offense? Oh, I suppose last year IS relevant, seeing as, for the most part, those are the players that will be playing. 


August 29th, 2011 at 9:08 PM ^

Ok, so ND went 4-0 at the end of last season and we went 1-3.

But SOS has to be mentioned here.

If ND had played our schedule, I would guarantee they would have lost at least 2 of those games. ND was not beating Wisky or OSU. In fact, I think they would have been blown out like we were. ND may of had a chance at Miss State, but I still think they lose that game. So that puts them on 2-2 at best, with 1-3 likely. Hmm just like us.

Also, please keep in mind that USC was 8-5 last season and lost 4 Pac10 games. Miami was 7-6. Utah's biggest win last season was??? Pitt? SDSU? BYU?


August 29th, 2011 at 9:42 PM ^

Going off of nothing but wins and losses maybe. A ten win Tulsa team compared to an eleven win Wisconsin team accounting for one point in that method? I wonder what would have happened if Utah-Army-USC-Miami had played Purdue-Wisconsin-OSU-Miss State? The only matchup that even sounds close is Purdue/Army.

NOLA Wolverine

August 29th, 2011 at 9:26 PM ^

I totally agree with you, however neither of us are responsible for Notre Dame's level of hype. Their fanbase is going banannas over how they ended the season (Which we absolutley would be doing as well), and analysts still respect those three teams they beat at the end of the year. So in regards to the OP's question as to why everyone (with a TV show, magazine, or blog that talks about ND) thinks Notre Dame will be vastly improved, those would be two big driving factors. On top of every thing else ND has going for them coming into this year.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:27 PM ^

Utah was overrated because of the Pitt game. Pitt was a top fifteen team and had legit talent all over the field (QB Sunseri didn't really struggle in that game, IMO) until they decided...well I have no idea what they decided other than to go 8-5 playing a BE schedule.

Utah then beat up on a bunch of weaker teams and remained undefeated, which is enough to get you really high in polls no matter who you're playing.


August 29th, 2011 at 8:55 PM ^

Jacory harris is a pocket passer? Miami had and played 2 very scramble capable QBs, the offense is as prostyle as UM will be this year

How is Navy running the triple option almost exclusively even close to anything UM is running as a prostye offense?

So 2 losses closer to the middle of the season are more indicative of what ND's defense is going to look like than the final 4 games?  (Where they allowed less than 10 points a game,  averaged 268 yds of offense against.)

The 2 RBs you should be measuring are Jonas Gray and Cierre Wood, (#2 and #1) both of which averaged 5 or more yards per carry, though Jonas had much fewer touches.


Why is it all the posts and threads like this are about how ND isn't that good but none of them talk about why UM is better this year?  ND despite losing Crist for nearly half the game was still good enough to beat UM last year and nearly did.  With less than 30 secs left in the game ND marched right back down the field with one chance to throw into the endzone.

The ND team UM played in week 2 is not the team everyone is excited about, its the one that embarrassed Miami, beat USC, took down the #14 team in the country all with a true freshman QB when the team looked closer to falling off a cliff than even qualifying for a bowl game. Why is UM better this year?


August 29th, 2011 at 10:13 PM ^

Michigan should be leaps and bounds better simply by the replacement of GERG with an actually competent defensive coordinator

That is faulty logic. Our defensive personelle is just as weak as it was last year.

Yeah we gain Woolfolk, but we also lose Mouton. Let's try to actually combat Irish's very valid points with some statistics or logic of our own, instead of throwing out weak arguments that make very little logical sense (talking to everyone in general, now, not just you).


August 29th, 2011 at 10:43 PM ^

they are also guys who have a whole off season to improve. I think your underestimating the development that takes place in the offseason, specifically with young players. The scheme seems to fit the personal better. Not to mention Mattison is a sigfiicant upgrade at DC, and that will make an impact immediately even if it's not moumental. Individually I don't think those things would enough to make the defense sigficantly better, but colletively I think they will be enough to make the defense sigficantly better.

And no offense to Mouton since he gave his all here and could have been a better player with better coaching, but is he really that big of a loss?  He did make some big plays, but he also made just as many horrible/poor plays that were very costly.


August 29th, 2011 at 10:43 PM ^

reasons for improvement:
 - Woolfolk returns
 - Avery has experience (true freshman last year)
 - Roh not playing LB 
 - Jibreel Black no longer a true freshman, nor playing SDE where he was overmatched physically
 - Carvin Johnson not starting at OLB (at less than 200 lbs.)
 - Gordon beats out Carvin Johnson at FS (and I thought Carvin was pretty good)
 - scheme / coaching
 - actual blitz packages
 - Cam Gordon much bigger than last year
 - Full year of Demens
 - Martin/RVB/Roh/Demens/Gordon/Kovacs/Avery/Floyd all return

Against the one negative, the loss of Mouton.  We will improve significantly