Preview: Michigan at Notre Dame

Preview: Michigan at Notre Dame

September 10, 2010
Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd catched a touchdown over Donovan Warren

Rush Offense vs. Notre Dame Rush Defense
Denard Robinson showed last week that he can be an elite runner from the quarterback position. He ran for 197 yards on 29 carries against UConn. Meanwhile, Michigan’s actual running backs combined to average 3.4 yards per carry against the Huskies. The Fighting Irish should be geared to stop Robinson from running the ball. That means the Notre Dame contain men should stay home and force Robinson to hand off the ball in the zone read option. If I’m the defensive coordinator, I’m going to try to make Michigan’s unproven running backs beat me. This is a base 3-4 defense, and the blocking schemes will be different than against UConn. Michigan’s athletic offensive line should be able to get up on the linebackers, though, and provide some running lanes for Robinson and the backs. Notre Dame defensive end Ethan Johnson will be tough to handle for the offensive tackles, but this defense sets up well for David Molk, Steve Schilling, and Patrick Omameh to have a field day.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Offense vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense
Denard Robinson was 19/22 for 186 yards and 1 touchdown. That level of success will be difficult for Robinson to emulate this week against a veteran secondary that should be able to disguise coverages. Michigan’s passing game was pretty vanilla against UConn, and last year’s leading receiver, Roy Roundtree, might miss the game due to injury. Combine that with Notre Dame’s veteran outside linebackers who should be able to rush the passer, and I expect many pass plays to turn into running plays for Robinson. Obviously Michigan will continue its dependence on the short passing game with slants, hitches, outs, flares, and bubble screens, but this week we should see Robinson coming back to Earth from his 86% completion rate last game. Despite safety Jamoris Slaughter likely missing the game, the other three starters in the defensive backfield are all seniors.
Advantage: Notre Dame

Rush Defense vs. Notre Dame Rush Offense
Armando Allen and Cierre Wood combined for 151 yards on 25 carries (6.0 yard average) against Purdue. For all the talk about Brian Kelly’s passing game, Notre Dame has a ton of talent at running back and Kelly won’t be shy about using that talent. Meanwhile, Michigan’s interior rush defense needs to improve. Michigan allowed 138 rushing yards against UConn, including running back Jordan Todman’s 105 yards on 20 carries (5.3 yard average). It would be unwise for the Irish not to attack the middle of the defense with the run. Nose tackle Mike Martin and linebackers Craig Roh and Jonas Mouton need to play at the top of their games in order for Michigan to have success against the ground game. But even with all those guys – and Brandon Graham – playing in 2009, Allen rushed for 139 yards on a 6.6-yard average against Michigan.
Advantage: Notre Dame

Pass Defense vs Notre Dame Pass Offense
This could be the bane of Michigan’s existence. Sophomore quarterback Dayne Crist completed 76% of his passes last week, and he has a solid group of receivers to catch those passes. Wide receiver Michael Floyd and tight end Kyle Rudolph are both excellent athletes, and Michigan might not have the horses to run – and jump – with them. Michael Floyd had an excellent game against the Wolverines in 2009, and that was prior to the departures of, oh, about 13 cornerbacks. Furthermore, Michigan produced zero sacks last week against UConn. The one saving grace may be that Saturday’s weather in South Bend, IN, is supposed to be wet. For Michigan’s sake, hopefully that leaves Michael Floyd, Rudolph, and Co. dropping as many passes as UConn quarterback Zach Frazer’s targets last week.
Advantage: Notre Dame

Final Predictions- Armando Allen rushes for 125+ yards.- Denard Robinson comes back to Earth and completes less than 60% of his passes.- Michigan’s pass rush sacks Crist at least 3 times.- For the second week in a row, Michigan allows a 40+ yard reception.

– Notre Dame 27, Michigan 24


  1. Comments: 21379
    Sep 10, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    125+? really giving him to much credit there

  2. Comments: 21379
    Sep 10, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    Man that Devin Gardner non-redshirt really pushed you over the edge didn't it?

  3. Comments: 21379
    Sep 10, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    I hope Gardner doesn't burn his redshirt for just a couple of plays against ND.

  4. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 1:00 AM

    You might be a little generous keeping the score that tight. I think it's closer to 38-28 ND unfortunately.

  5. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 3:03 AM

    @ Anonymous 2:40 p.m.

    Armando Allen had 139 yards last season. Why is it giving him "to much credit" when I say he'll get 125?

  6. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 3:06 AM

    @ Anonymous 3:34 p.m.

    The Gardner redshirt thing didn't push me over the edge at all. I predicted a Notre Dame victory prior to the season beginning. It's saved right here on this blog if you're interested in things like "facts" and "reason."

  7. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 5:54 AM

    I wonder how off these predictions will be tomorrow? What no 2 turnovers for Denard again? No 40 plus yard run?
    I have a serious question for you though magnus, have you ever sent one of your players to play college ball? I only ask bc you dont think Vinopal is that talented, but I would ask you how you think your qualified to make such statements. Again I would really like to know if you have sent any of your players to play college ball. And if so who?

  8. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 6:38 AM


    im a senior in high school and i can say vinopal is not talented enuf to be at michigan blah blah. u dont have to believe me. u dont have to listen(read in this case) to wat im saying. please, grow up. go elsewhere if disagree with wat magnus is saying. if u agree(with some stuff, i imagine u do or u wouldnt b here still) then continue to come back. no1 is forcing u to read TTB.

    wat does it matter if he's sent one of his players to play college ball? does that automatically qualify him? ive seen people who have gone on to play college ball so that can qualify me because…well you know….we're making judgments based on watching people. coaching them doesnt change anything.


  9. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    Horn I responded to you but magnus removed my posts so sorry you couldn't read my response.

  10. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    I will continue to remove posts that are personal attacks, whether aimed at other readers or myself.

  11. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 9:36 AM

    That's fine, there were no personal attacks at horn at all but you felt the need to remove it. I simply asked him if he was a better judge of talent than the michigan coaches, since they offered him the scholarship.

  12. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    So now that your here magnus are you head coach or assistant? What are you? This is not a personal attack just a question. I'm just curious.

  13. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    If that's all your post said, it wouldn't have been removed.

    Posts like this (at 5:36 a.m.) aren't begging to be pulled, so if you want your posts to remain, your posts should resemble this one.

  14. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    Fair enough. I apologize.

  15. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    @ Anonymous 5:39 a.m.

    I am a varsity assistant, and that's as much about me as you need to know. If I were a head coach, I wouldn't have enough time to write this blog.

    This blog is not about my personal credentials, players, program, etc. It's about Michigan football. If you don't think I'm knowledgeable enough about football for the information here to be useful, then feel free not to visit.

  16. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    I appreciate the response.

  17. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Only thing that bothers me is your attitude of elitism. You know no more about the players and program than I do, yet you will argue your point until you beat it to death. I just got out of the delta force and I have been to a couple of practices this year(RR let's army vets in a couple times a week). I know you are not high on Vinopal but I can tell you even though he is tiny that he is a very smart and heady player who is rarely out of position, he also is not afraid to hit. I thought you were a little harsh on him man. He's a smaller kovacs but twice as fast.

  18. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    @ Anonymous 6:17 a.m.

    If you're saying that I "beat things to death," then I would like to remind you of your repeated posts on my blog. That's pretty much the pot calling the kettle black.

    Now…I could very well be wrong about Vinopal. I offer opinions on every Michigan player, and I evaluate some recruits who don't end up picking Michigan. I'm bound to be wrong about several players.

    The fact that Vinopal is #2 on the depth chart doesn't scare me. It's the fact that he's #2 on the depth chart as a freshman, and he didn't enroll early. Cam Gordon's a position-switcher, but at least he played FS in the spring. Vinopal has been at Michigan for approximately a month. If Vinopal were, say, a redshirt sophomore, it wouldn't be a big deal.

  19. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    I don't deny that. But then the same can be said about you. I guess beating it to death were the wrong words. More like arguing your point until the other person gives up or just doesn't care anymore. I agree being a freshman is a scary, lord knows we do not need anymore true freshman playing in the secondary but Vinopal has played safety his whole hs career so this is not a new position to him. Let's just hope for the sake of our team Cam can healthy. I'm hoping eventually MRob takes over for Kovacs, myself, like you both know Kovacs is limited athletically and a believe MRob would accel in his position. I didn't think Kovacs played all that well vs UConn, but again that would be another freshman playing. Even though MRob is physically already light years ahead of JK.

  20. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    We're going into this game sporting a record of 4-8-1 down in South Bend since 1978, with our four victories helmed by seniors Leach, Harbaugh, Collins and junior Henne, with career starts as of their winning ND game of 37, 17, 15, and 26 respectively. Those 8 losses include games against Gerry Faust, Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham, and Charlie Weis, all of whom UM fans love to mock endlessly. What I find remarkable is that there is virtually no skepticism anywhere among UM fans that a QB with exactly one career start is going to lead a team with exactly one road victory in the last two years to victory in a place where we've struggled so much historically. To add to that, last week was uncharacteristic in that we didn't turn the ball over and committed only one penalty. It's a very safe bet we'll return to the mean of the last two years in our first road game this year. It wouldn't surprise me at all if ND wins by double digits.


  21. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    "More like arguing your point until the other person gives up or just doesn't care anymore"

    So you're suggesting that Thunder should simply give up because a visitor to his blog disagrees with him? I don't agree with everything he says, but one of the reasons I value his commentary and analysis is precisely because he sticks to his guns and calls it as he sees it. For a fan base that prides itself on being so much more perceptive and intelligent than all other fan bases, the degree of unquestioning groupthink among UM fans is really no smaller than among any other bunch of diehard fans.

    If he was predicting a 47-21 Michigan win would you be so irritated with him?


  22. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    Only 27-24? I'll be shocked if neither team scores 30, and I'll be pretty worried if we only score 24 (unless there are mitigating circumstances.)

  23. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    @ anonymous 6:17 am

    I'm sorry, but I 100% guarantee you didn't just get out of "the Delta Force." You may be a vet, (although not in any combat MOS), but you don't need to make things up to sound better.

  24. Comments: 21379
    Sep 11, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    @ Anonymous 8:52 a.m.

    When I made the prediction, it sounded like the weather might affect the game. From what I've heard, the rain has passed through, so perhaps the rain won't keep the scoring quite so low.

  25. Comments: 21379
    Sep 12, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    Thunder, in your post, you wrote that you thought ND would focus more on stopping Denard at the risk of allowing our unproven RBs to prove themselves. Now that the game is over, do you think this happened? I ask because it seems like Denard had a tought day today (so, it seems like ND really did focus on stopping him), but our RBs didn't really have much of a better day. I get that ND is probably better than UConn, but I'm wondering how good our RBs really are and whether they will have success if teams "sell out" more and more on stopping Denard.
    Thanks, TriFloyd

  26. Comments: 21379
    Sep 12, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    @ TriFloyd

    The short answer is yes.

    The long answer will be a part of a Mailbag question soon. I think it's a good question to look at.

  27. Comments: 21379
    Sep 12, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    lol i thought it was ironic wen u called someone else in the michigan fanbase an "elitist" because, no offense, ive come to learn that there are an assload of elitists in the UM fan base. mgoblog being the primary. i value magnus's opinion because, as said earlier, he calls it like he sees it. i may or may not disagree with him, but hes honest. he doesnt think everyone is absolutely perfect because theyre "michigan men." and honestly i probably wouldnt value his opinion if he were less stubborn. im stubborn as fuck. i respect others who are too stubborn.

    oh and gee magnus obviously DGs redshirt wasnt wasted, he played against ND too! one WHOLE play /sarcasm

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