The Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry has been one of the premiere matchups in college football in recent history. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has gone back and forth on this idea. He previously stated that Michigan wasn’t one of Notre Dame’s traditional rivals. He later backed off that statement.
Originally, Brian Kelly told reporters that the game was a good regional matchup but lacked the historical power of some of their other rivalries. This week he seemed to change his opinion entirely stating that the game is a “great and historical rivalry”.
The rivalry has drawn other attention this year as Notre Dame opted out of their scheduled dates from 2015-2017. It was a move that Brady Hoke referred to as chickening out so that they can play an easier schedule. They will meet for the final scheduled game next season in Notre Dame.
Saturday’s game marks the second night game at Michigan Stadium. It is hard to forget the last night game where Denard Robinson was able to lead a comeback after being down 24-7 in the fourth quarter. The team drove 80 yards in the last 30 seconds of the game to score the game winning touchdown before time expired.
Both teams come in to this matchup ranked in the top 25. Notre Dame is ranked 14th while Michigan comes in a little behind at 17. The Wolverines are the current favorite by four points.
Michigan is coming off a 59-9 thrashing of Central Michigan. Quarterback Devin Gardner played well rushing for two touchdowns and added another in the air. However, he was a little sloppy with the football as he threw two interceptions. He will have to be more careful with the ball if he hopes to beat Notre Dame.
Notre Dame is coming off a 28-6 victory over Temple. They accomplished this without last year quarterback Everett Golston, who was forced to withdraw from the school for academic violations. Tommy Rees is back at the helm again and he looked strong last week.
Rees passed for 346 yards and three touchdowns against Temple. The Notre Dame rushing attack was less explosive as no running back went for more than 68 yards.
Michigan’s running game will now look to five star prospect Derrick Green to back up Fitzgerald Toussaint. Last week, backup running back Drake Johnson tore his ACL which opened the door for Green. Green took advantage of the opportunity leading the team with 58 rushing yards.