Your mega guide to Michigan vs. Notre Dame
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
KYLE MEINKE'S GRADES: Denard Robinson's 5 turnovers doom Michigan against Notre Dame
WHO: No. 18 Michigan at No. 11 Notre Dame.
WHERE: South Bend, Ind.
WHEN: 7:39 p.m.
ODDS: Notre Dame is favored by six points according to sportsbook.com.
SERIES RECORD: Michigan (23-15-1).
LAST MEETING: September 10, 2011, Michigan won 35-31 at Michigan.
WEATHER: Mostly cloudy. Winds blowing from the North at 10-20 m.p.h. Game-time temperature: Around 55.
BROADCAST INFORMATION: TV: NBC; Radio: Michigan Sports Network (local affiliates).
AnnArbor.com coverage: Michigan heads to Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday to take on Notre Dame for the second night game between the teams in as many years. The game took on an extra bit of national relevance when Notre Dame upset Michigan State 20-3 in East Lansing last weekend and put both teams inside the Top 20 in the national rankings. Just incase you haven't been keeping up with all of the story lines heading into the game, here's everything you need to know in one easy to read package:
Michigan's defense has not created turnovers like crazy the way it did during the 2011 season, nor has it stopped teams on third down with as much regularity. Correcting these issues and making holes for Denard Robinson to run through will be essential to the Wolverines' success on Saturday.
Saturday will be Michigan coach Brady Hoke's first trip to South Bend as the coach of the Wolverines. Nick Baumgardner takes us on a trip down memory lane and reveals that Notre Dame Stadium has not been kind to first time visitors from Ann Arbor, and not all of them were named Rich Rodriguez.
In 2010, Denard Robinson accounted for a school-record 502 yards of total offense in a 28-24 comeback win over Notre Dame. Last year, Robinson led a 17-point fourth quarter comeback under the lights. But he's not thinking about those games. Robinson is focused on the next one.
Saturday will not be senior safety Jordan Kovacs' first trip to South Bend. Kovacs started his playing career against Notre Dame, which is why the rivalry holds a special place in the heart of the former walk-on.
How long has it been since the Michigan football team has beaten a ranked opponent on the road? Mike Hart and Chad Henne were in town the last time it happened. Bowl games at neutral sites don't count, meaning Michigan hasn't gone into enemy territory and beaten a ranked opponent in six years.
Believe it or not, there may have actually been something to gain besides padding the stats for Michigan in its slaughter of UMass last Saturday. UMass coach Charley Molnar was Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly's offensive coordinator the past two years, and runs an offense similar to the one the Irish still use.
Denard Robinson won't play a snap against Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson on Saturday. But that doesn't necessarily mean he won't be watching. Robinson first saw Golson play in the Notre Dame spring game and said he could tell then that Golson would be the starter.
Michigan's win against Notre Dame under lights was one for the ages, but it's not a good memory for running back Fitz Toussaint. Toussaint had to watch from the sidelines because of a shoulder injury, an injury he wishes he would have played through.
Brady Hoke praised Notre Dame's improved defense Tuesday, saying the Fighting Irish front seven has been a bear early this season. Hoke was also critical about his team's inability to get its running backs going, which may prove a dangerous combination.
Coming into the season, there were plenty of questions about who would fill the holes left in the Michigan football team's front seven left by graduating seniors. It seemed, however, Kenny Demens' spot in the lineup was all but secure. That no longer seems the case with the emergence of freshmen Joe Bolden and James Ross III.
There was some good news on Michigan's injury report this week as it seems Desmond Morgan will be back after sitting out against UMass with a head injury. The news isn't as good for tight end Brandon Moore, while a few others' statuses are still up in the air.
Michigan fans like the fact that the Wolverines won by 50 last Saturday, but aren't putting too much stock in it. Despite a dominant performance over the Minutemen of UMass, the Wolverine faithful were still critical of and weary with Notre Dame on the horizon.
Brady Hoke has said before that he enjoys rivalry games and the Michigan versus Notre Dame series. But with Notre Dame signing a huge deal with the ACC last week, the series could be in jeopardy. Hoke won't lose sleep over it.
This and that:
- Notre Dame loses safety Jamoris Slaughter for the season, secondary thinned for Michigan game
- Rich Rodriguez: In hindsight, taking Michigan job 'probably wasn't the best move'
- Report: Shane Morris, Michigan's 5-star QB commit, could miss rest of the high schseason with mono
- Court report: Michigan WR Jerald Robinson sentenced to 6 months probation for destruction of property charge
- Public Service Announcement: Notre Dame "Takes a StaND" against cranky fans, hilarity ensues
- South Bend Tribune: Everett Golson will try to beat Denard Robinson on Saturday, it used to be his job to be Denard Robinson
WHO YA GOT?
Associated Press preview capsule
WHAT'S AT STAKE:
The Fighting Irish are looking to show they are again a contender on the national stage, trying to improve to 4-0 for the first time since Tyrone Willingham's first year as coach in 2002. After an embarrassing 41-14 loss to top-ranked Alabama in the opener, the Wolverines are looking to bounce back and regain respect for Big Ten teams that have stumbled at the start of the season.
Michigan QB Denard Robinson against an inexperienced Notre Dame secondary. Robinson has made the Irish defense look inept the past two seasons, totaling 944 yards in total offense. Two years ago he set a school-record with 502 yards total offense. Last season, he led a fourth-quarter comeback victory for the Wolverines in Ann Arbor. The Notre Dame defense has given up 30 points in the first three games, but has a young secondary and will be without its most experienced player. S Jamoris Slaughter sustained a season-ending injury against Michigan State.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Michigan: WR Roy Roundtree. Last season Junior Hemingway, wearing Desmond Howard's No. 21 "Michigan Football Legend" jersey caught three passes for 165 yards and a TD against the Irish. This year it will be Roundtree, who last season caught the game-winning 16-yard TD pass against the Irish.
Notre Dame: LB Mani Te'o. After playing what he thought was a sub-par game against Purdue, Te'o played an emotional game following the deaths of his girlfriend and grandmother, making 12 tackles against Michigan State, with a fumble recovery and two pass breakups.
FACTS & FIGURES:
Michigan has beaten Notre Dame three straight for the first time 1908, winning all three with touchdowns in the final 27 seconds. ... The game will be just the second night game at Notre Dame Stadium in 22 years. The Irish are 6-2 all-time in night games at Notre Dame Stadium. ... The Leprechaun Legion, a Notre Dame spirit student group, planned to pass out 7,500 white leis to students at the Friday night pep rally as a show of support for Te'o. ... Robinson is a touchdown throw away from becoming only the eighth player in NCAA history to pass for 40 touchdowns and run for 40. ... Michigan (.736) and Notre Dame (.732) are the winningest FBS schools.
Around the Big Ten
- Eastern Michigan (0-3) at No. 21 Michigan State (2-1): (Preview | MSU coverage)
- UAB (0-2) at No. 16 Ohio State (3-0): (Preview)
- Idaho State (1-1) at No. 25 Nebraska: (Preview)
- Central Michigan (1-1) at Iowa (2-1): (Preview)
- Texas-El Paso (1-2) at Wisconsin (2-1): (Preview)
- Temple (1-1) at Penn State (1-2): (Preview)
- Louisiana Tech (2-0) at Illinois (2-1): (Preview)
- Syracuse (1-2) at Minnesota (3-0): (Preview)
- South Dakota (1-1) at Northwestern (3-0): (Preview)