Photo: Courtesy of Michigan
Dinner at the Big House? In a first for a school with a lot of football history, the University of Michigan will host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this Saturday at night under the lights and on prime time With the biggest expected crowd in Michigan history on hand for this historic occasion, this one has all the makings of a classic nail-biter right to the very end.
To properly handicap a matchup of this kind of epic proportions you have to look at the defence(s) of both of these teams to understand who has the edge in this matchup.
Starting with Michigan
Early last week, Michigan’s defence was picked apart by Western Michigan as the the Broncos connected on their first 10 attempt in the passing game. Many of the maize and blue nation had to be cringing thinking of the Rich-Rod era of the “Leaky D”. However, in a surprising twist from previous years, Brady Hoke’s squad was able to make the right adjustments and started to blitz more effectively and show different looks which kept WMU off balance the rest of the game. A good sign for the wolverines heading into this week’s matchup with a much more talented and physical Fighting Irish lineup.
We at the Skulldogshow expect the Michigan defence to again bring the heat this weekend, and probably earlier than last week, and force QB’s Rees/Crist into delivering the football prematurely. The key for Michigan is that pressure though, because regardless of who is calling plays behind centre for the Irish, they do not want to give them time in the pocket.
Moving on to Notre Dame
On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame’s defence was the lone highlight from their embarrassing week 1 loss at home to South Florida. But the task does not get easier this week with Denard Robinson lining up against a squad who gave up only 23 points last week, despite 5 turnovers from their offensive counterparts. Robinson produced 502 total yards in last year’s meeting, but Notre Dame’s defence looks better this season. The Fighting Irish take some consolation in that they outplayed South Florida last week and lost by throwing too many interceptions.
Notre Dame cannot simply stack the box with seven or eight defenders to slow Robinson and the rushing attack without being caught out of position in the middle of the field. Michigan knows this and will look to exploit Te’o, junior Dan Fox, and Shembo as they are slow in the open field and in coverage.
Prediction: Both offenses seem quite capable of overwhelming both defenses this weekend, even with the ND defence on the rise. At the end of the day, this one will come down to the players, taking snaps for each team –Crist/Rees and Robinson. We love what Robinson brings to the table as a dual threat QB and feel that he will play better under the lights at home with the crowd behind him. And the fact that you get +3.5 in this one almost seems to be a gift from the heavens. Skulldogshow says take the Wolverines and the points (+3.5).
For this week’s top games and more free picks, visit www.skulldogshow.com
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