Observations on the loss to Notre
1-Second half turns into the anticipated
defensive struggle. Michigan comes up scoreless, Notre Dame scores
once off another Michigan turnover to seal the win.
2-Notre Dame capitalizes on 6 Michigan
turnovers with 21 points while Michigan gained only 3 points off
3 Irish turnovers. Notre Dame fumbled 3 times, but recovered all
3 while Michigan fumbled 7 times, recovered 3, but gave Notre
Dame 4 plus 2 second half interceptions. The Irish netted a +4
in turnovers. Overall, Notre Dame gets 4 red zones for 21 points,
and Michigan's 4 red zones result in 10 points and 2 turnovers.
The two score halftime deficit could not be made up although we
had plenty of 2nd and 3rd quarter chances to make it a one score
game. If we had, the pressure would have been on the Notre Dame
offense, and their defense would have had to play differently
in the second half.
3-Steven Threet finished with 16
of 23 for 175 yards and a TD. Mathews had 4 catches for 46 yards,
Odoms had 6 catches for 56 yards, Stonum had 3 catches for 35
yards, and Babb had 2 catches for 45 yards.. Offense finished
with a little over 4 10 minutes time of possession advantage,
but the Irish negated a 10 minute halftime advantage. Michigan
finished with 388 yards in net offense, 21 first downs, 5 of 14
in 3rd and 4th down conversions. Bruton had 15 tackles, 2 for
loss, a forced fumble along with a red zone interception for Notre
Dame. Neither team had a sack, but the Irish dominated the line
of scrimmage on both sides.
4-Sam McGuffie had 25 carries for
131 yards, and 4 catches for 47 yards and a TD. We had 159 yards
in net rushing.
5-Clausen was 10 of 21 for 147 yards,
2 TDs and 2 interceptions. Tate had 4 catches for 127 yards and
a TD. Trent gets burned for a TD by Kamara, Harrison and Trent
get burned for the other 60 yards TD reception by Tate. Trent
finished with 9 tackles, and two interceptions plus a personal
foul. Stevie Brown finished with 9 tackles and a forced fumble.
Donovan Warren and John Thompson had 7 tackles each and each forced
a fumble. No pressure on Clausen, and the few times we did pressure,
he was able to throw the ball away. Hughes had 19 runs for 79
yards and 2 TDs, and Aldridge had 9 runs for 28 yards. Notre Dame
only nets 260 yards in total offense with 14 first downs, but
the 113 yards in net rushing negated our time of possession advantage
from the first half along with our turnovers.
6-Special teams lost this game,
and it is hard to understand the stupidity of Rodriquez starting
two true Freshmen on kickoff in a rivalry game on the road, blame
the three kickoff turnovers on Rodriquez. Coaching stupidity in
a rivalry game is inexcusable! For those who insist on defending
Rodriquez, please remember that Bo would have rolled over in his
grave to see that. Rodriquez didn't make one mistake by starting
the two Freshman on kickoff returns, he made the mistake throughout
the game and it resulted in three turnovers leading to a two score
advantage we could not overcome.
It is better to have Harrison, Trent,
Minor or other experienced, sure-handed returners back there.
On the bright side, the fake punt was a good play, and worked.
Mesko and Lopata did fine. Walk-on, Zac Johnson, partially blocked
an Irish punt setting us up with great field position in the 3rd
quarter. Our kickoff and punt return teams cost us this game.
7-This loss may have cost us an
opportunity for a 6-6 season, and a possible bowl game. Our team
was not prepared nor ready for the early push by the Notre Dame
special teams, and the 0-21 hole was simply too deep to dig out
of in South Bend especially with 7 fumbles and 6 turnovers. The
3rd quarter rain and home field advantage worked perfectly to
the Irish's advantage.
8-Not much to offer on the starting
line-up or player participation; however, it was nice to see that
James Rogers, Martell Webb, Artis Chambers, Zach Johnson, Andre
Criswell, Brandon Herron, Jordan Reilly, Jon Conover, Mike Therman,
Kevin Koger and Jim Potemba made the 70 man travel team to South
Bend. A week off may really help the team at this point in the
Observations on the first half with
Notre Dame, 17-28!
1The Irish earn 14 points off
2 Michigan turnovers giving them 2 red zones in the first 3 minutes
of the game. Overall, Notre Dame gets 3 red zones for 21 points
compared to Michigans two red zones for 10 points. The eleven
point halftime difference is points off turnover and red zone
2Steven Threet finishes with
13 of 18 for 128 yards and a TD. Mathews has 3 catches for 37
yards, and almost a TD as the review doesnt overturn the
call on the field. Stonum has 3 catches for 35 yards. Offense
finishes half with nearly 10 minutes time of possession advantage,
244 yards in net offense, 16 first downs, 4 of 9 in 3rd and 4th
down conversions. Bruton has 11 tackles for the Irish.
3Sam McGuffie has 15 carries
for 84 yards, and 3 catches for 43 yards and a TD. We had 116
yards in net rushing.
4Defense looks horrid!!! Our
defensive backfield is a sieve. Clausen was 8 of 13 for 136 yards,
2 TDs and one interception. Tate has 3 catches for 116 yards and
a TD. Trent gets burned for a TD by Kamara, Harrison and Trent
get burned for another 60 yards TD pass by Tate. Trent finishes
the first half with 6 tackles and an interception to go along
with a personal foul. Warren has 4 tackles and a forced fumble.
Where is the pass rush? No heat on Clausen from our esteemed line.
All of our linebackers are getting blocked. Hughes has 4 runs
for 25 yards and 2 TDs, and Aldridge has 4 runs for 21 yards.
Irish recover 2 fumbles forced by our defense, Thompson and Warren.
5Special teams put us in a
hole, terrible field position the entire first quarter. Fumbles
by Cissoko and Shaw to start the game. Mesko converts a fake punt,
Loptata a field goal.
6I cant believe the
stupidity of Rodriquez starting two true Freshmen on kickoff in
a rivalry game on the road, blame the two turnovers on Rodriquez
and not Shaw or Cissoko. Coaching stupidity in a rivalry game
is inexcusable! It is better to have Harrison back there.
7If we can make this a one
score game early in the 3rd quarter, we might have a chance. Defense
has to come up big in the 2nd half. Go Blue!!!
Notre Dame Preview
The Fighting Irish will entertain the Michigan
Wolverines on September 13, 2008 featuring the two winningest
college football programs of all-time; it is the 36th meeting
with Michigan holding a 20-14-2 edge. Notre Dame is seeking its
300th victory at Notre Dame stadium. The Irish sport a 7-8-1 records
against the Wolverines at home. Neither team is ranked, but at
least neither team's record is the same as last year's "0-2
Bowl" that Michigan won 38-0. Michigan has won the last two
meetings, and has an edge of 870 wins to Notre Dame's 825; the
Wolverines hold a slight edge in winning percentage as well (.744
On Offense, Notre Dame starts with Sophomore
Jimmy Clausen from California. Clausen threw to 8 different receivers
in the opening win over San Diego State inlcuding two TD passes
in the final 10 minutes. The Irish had 20 first downs, 342 total
yards of offense, and 4 turnovers. Clauson ended with 21 of 34
with 3 TDs and 2 interceptions; he was 4 of 14 in 3rd and 4th
down conversions with one of five in red zone chances. At receiver,
the Irish are led be Senior Detroiter David Grimes who had 5 receptions
for 35 yards and a TD in the first game; Michigan could not find
a scholarship to offer him so one can assume he'll be at his best
today. Sophomore Golden Tate from Tennessee led the Irish with
6 receptions for 93 yards and a TD in the first game. Highly regarded
Frosh Michael Floyd, a former Michigan recruit from Minnesota,
is another top threat at wide out; he caught a 22 yarder for a
TD in the opener. Sophomore from New Jersey, Duval Kamara, will
also see action. At Tight End, Kyle Rudolph from Cincinnati is
the first Freshman to start a home opener at Notre Dame stadium;
he caught a 5 yarder against San Diego State. Will Yeatman also
caught a pass at tight end.
The Irish running attack is led by Florida
Sophomore Armando Allen who had 59 net yards on 17 carries, 3
receptions for 18 yards, 2 punt returns for 35 yards and 2 kickoff
returns for 46 yards; this gave him a total of 158 all purpose
yards in the opener. His backup is former Michigan recruit from
Chicago, Sophomore Robert Hughes. Hughes had 54 net yards on 16
carries, and 3 receptions for 32 yards in the opener. The offensive
line led by humongous Junior right tackle, Sam Young, did not
allow a Clausen sack in the first game. Notre Dame's offensive
line has 4 juniors and one senior. The Irish will try to establish
a running game so a Michigan key will be for our defensive line
and linebackers to not let that happen.
On Defense, The Irish held the Aztecs to
7 drives of 10 yards or less, and 10 of the 15 drives were 20
yards or less. Notre Dame allowed only 71 yards of net rushing
in the first game, but allowed 274 yards in passing. Senior Safety
from Youngstown, Kyle McCarthy, led the Irish defenders in the
first game with 14 tackles. On cover, they are led by Senior Terail
Lambert. Senior JACK Linebacker Maurice Crum got the only Irish
sack last week. Free Safety Sergio Brown, Crum and Lambert had
6 tackles each against San Diego State. Their line is anchored
by Senior End Pat Kuntz from Indianapolis. Senior Justin Brown
mans the other end position. Their other linebackers are big and
mobile led by Sophomores Brian Smith, Harrison Smith and Kerry
Neal. The defense allowed 5 of 17 3rd and 4th down conversions
to the Aztecs who were coached by former Iowa quarterback, Chuck
Long. The Notre Dame defensive coordinator is former Michigan
Captain Corwin Brown. Notre Dame uses a 3-4 scheme., and had 25
tackles from the safety position in the first game. A key to a
Michigan win includes being able to run the ball effectively enough
to even out time of possession, or perhaps even gain some advantage.
Also, we need to convert more 3rd down situations than we have
done in the first game.
Michigan should have the edge on special
teams, but they will be challenged by Armando Allen and Golden
Tate on punts and kickoffs. Junior Eric Maust from Georgia punted
5 times for a 39.8 yard average, and Findlay Sophomore Brandon
Walker missed a 47 yard field goal in the first quarter. Junior
Ryan Burkhart kicked off 4 times for a mediocre 60.5 yard average.
Hopefully, Mesko will contribute to field position advantage,
and Lopata will come through when needed. It looks like Cissoko
and Odoms will get more reps on returns, and two true Frosh are
quite capable of turnovers. Field position advantage and turnover
advantage will be a key to a win today.
Even though Threet will start, rain could
turn this game into a ground game that Sheridan is better suited
for. We will also need to use Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor more
than Sam McGuffie and Michael Shaw against a tough Irish defense.
Rodriquez and Magee will have to be creative enough to generate
a more even time of possession, better 3rd down efficiency and
more red zone opportunities than we've shown in the first two
games for us to win in South Bend. Our defense and special teams
play will have to be very, very solid for us to prevail.
Apparently the weather could be a factor
in this game with rain predicted although the wind factor hasn't
been anticipated. Both teams are young especially on offense,
senior led on defense, never short on talent, but neither are
good football teams and will struggle to finish 6-6 and be bowl
eligible. The Irish showed in their first game that they can come
from behind, and overcome a two turnover deficit to win at home.
I do not like the home field advantage nor the Michigan offense
thus far; however, I am not going to predict a loss. It should
be a defense dominated, low scoring affair.
Michigan 17 Notre Dame 16
Chart for 2008 Michigan Football
Official Depth Chart: Notre Dame
Press Conference: Notre Dame
Michigan Football Game Day
Notre Dame Game Notes
Notre Dame Media Guide
Notre Dame Statistics
Michigan Weekly Release
Michigan Media Guide
Notre Dame Preview
Michigan Football Recruiting