Notre Dame over Michigan

It’s just an awesome fall Saturday when two things happen … Notre Dame wins AND Michigan loses. Notre Dame 35, Skunkbears 17. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! The fact that ND is the team handing Michigan a defeat makes it very, very special.

The Irish were ready to play this game right from the opening kick-off. UM was not. ND looked like the confident squad out there; Michigan had that other look. By the time the Skunkbears gathered themselves, they were down 21 zip and the horse had pretty much left the barn. When they closed to 21-10 in the 2nd quarter, ND answered right away with a TD drive of their own to make it 28-10. This type of response did not happen last year for the Irish.

Yes, ND capitalized on many Michigan turnovers. But the Irish turnovers (2) were not killers themsleves. This was not a pretty game, especially in a second half played in a downpour. It was important that ND had a decent lead when the rains came because mounting an offense would be challenging … let alone hanging on to the ball, as UM discovered.

This game does not prove that ND is a Top 20 squad or anything very noteworthy just yet. They need another good game next week … It won’t be easy, but a win at Michigan State should be enough to propel the Irish into the Top 25. BUT, to me, this game proves that the Irish are indeed improved versus last season. They had very few negative plays and again did not give up a sack. They were confident and swarming from the opening kick. Execution on some key plays was terrific and they did not incur significant penalties. The SDState game left more questions than answers. This game offered more answers … positive ones.

At times the defense was stout, but at times it looked very porous as well. Tackling the McGuffie kid proved more challenging than it probably should have. But the D was certainly opportunistic, and the Irish offense certainly cashed in when the gifts were offered by UM. I’d really like to see a more effective and sustained running game … maybe ND will grow into that by season’s end. BUT, no sacks allowed vs Michigan … that says a lot! It’s amazing what your QB can do when not running for his life on 80% of passing plays. Clausen has played very well and exhibited great leadership thus far.

In the 2nd half with the lead, did anyone get the feeling that Lou Holtz was coaching this team? ND became sooooo conservative … it was vintage “Holtz with a lead”. Anyway, on to East Lansing next week to face the MSU Spartans. This will be a very tough game for ND. MSU is very tough at home and a pretty talented team to boot. The Irish will have to focus on stopping a very good Spartan running game.

In the meantime, I’m just going to bask in the afterglow of a ND victory over the hated Skunkbears of Michigan. It really doesn’t get much better than this for ND fans!

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6 Responses

  1. You’re right – the pocket protection is absolutely key. How many times was Clausen sacked last year? Isn’t it some god-awful number?

    No mention of Charlie’s ACL and MCL tear? That guy has not had the best luck with health and surgeries. Hope he gets a good doctor this time.

  2. Clausen has also learned how to get rid of the ball to avoid being sacked.

  3. Rey — I believe ND set the dubious team record of 58 sacks allowed last season … almost 5 per game. Charlie will be OK … the only thing uglier than his injury caught on tape was a Cal receiver puking after getting nailed in the midsection by a Maryland defender. Yummy.

    Casey — Agreed. Clausen has learned to cut his losses. He seems more poised than BQ at this point in his career.

    One thing that’s really starting to annoy me is the outrageous number of “National Championships” that schools are claiming to have won over the years. This is shown on pre-game and other TV teasers. For instance, Michigan is suddenly claiming to have won 11 NC’s. OH REALLY???? Seven of those must have been prior to 1900 …. actually prior to 1880 when only two teams … UM and Princeton … even played college football. Oh … and USC suddenly has 11 as well. OH REALLY???? They must be including the 4 awarded to them by the Saturday Evening Post between 1915 and 1925. C’mon people. I know that it was the “mythical NC” until the BCS started about 10 years ago, but this is getting ridiculous. If we bothered to add up all the NC’s that all the schools are claiming, we’d probably end up with a collective 250 chan’ships, but CFB has only been played for about 128 years. If anyone wants to know the real totals, let me know … I’ve got the up to date list from the NCAA with a high degree of confidence since 1920, and to a lesser degree of confidence since 1900.

  4. I don’t know about anyone else but Clausen to Tate is music to my ears.

    Tate is quickly becoming an elite receiver.

  5. The Irish are 8.5 point underdogs to Michigan State for the game coming up Saturday in East Lansing. I agree they should be ‘dogs, but this feels a bit heavy to me. Bottom line … still fighting for respect … that’s good!

    ND will have to shore up their run defense and tackling to compete in this game.

  6. You’re right – being an underdog is a much more favorable position than a bulls eye for the Irish.

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