Notre Dame Aims For Revenge Against Michigan Wolverines
By: Michael Robinson
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish look for their first 4-0 start since 2002 when they host the Michigan Wolverines in a Saturday primetime event on NBC.
The Don Best Pro Odds screen has Notre Dame ranging between a 5½-6 point favorite. The total is 50½-51 and the contest will begin at 7:30 p.m. (ET) from Notre Dame Stadium.
Notre Dame (3-0 straight up, 2-1 against the spread) is getting more respect from the writers at the AP Poll at No. 11, compared to No. 15 in the Coaches. The Don Best Linemakers Poll has consistently liked the Irish since the preseason and currently has them at No. 11 as well.
Coach Brian Kelly’s team started out the season with victories over Navy (50-10) and Purdue (20-17) but was in desperate need of a statement win as underdogs at top-10 Michigan State last week.
That’s exactly what the Irish got with redshirt freshman quarterback Everett Golson throwing for 178 yards and having a touchdown through the air and on the ground. The final score was 20-3 and it seemed hard to believe they were the ones getting 4½-points.
Golson did only complete 43.8 percent of his passes (14-of-32) against Michigan State and he needs to be more accurate Saturday. It will help that running back Cierre Wood should get far more than the 10 carries (56 yards) he had last week. He was working his way back after being suspended the first two contests.
Notre’s Dame’s defense has been tremendous to this point, tied for eighth nationally in scoring (10 PPG) and tied for 18th in total yards (288.7 YPG). All-American linebacker Manti Te’o has lived up to his billing with 30 tackles. Safety Jamoris Slaughter (Achilles) was just lost for the season, which does hurt.
Michigan (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) has been on a redemption mission since an opening 41-14 loss to Alabama at Cowboys Stadium. The Wolverines didn’t look worthy of even being on the same field as the defending national champs and subsequent wins over Air Force (31-25) and UMass (63-13) has only moderately silenced their critics.
For starters, Michigan didn’t come close to covering the 21½-point spread against Air Force. The UMass game was a cover of the giant 45-points, but it was an obvious mismatch of talent with the squad just moving to Division I this year.
The Wolverines are back up to No. 18 in the AP, No. 17 in the Coaches and No. 14 at Don Best.
Coach Brady Hoke wanted to diversify his offense heading into this season and not rely as much on dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson. That has failed miserably with Robinson throwing for 699 yards in the three games and also accumulating 351 of the team’s 577 rushing yards.
Junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint was supposed to carry more of the load, but he has just 92 total rushing yards (4.0 per carry) after missing the opener against 'Bama due to suspension. He needs to be a focus point early in this game as Robinson (four picks this year) can be neutralized some against better opponents, especially on the road.
Michigan has won the last three meetings against Notre Dame, all coming by a 4-point margin, and all as around field goal ‘dogs. Robinson led stunning late comebacks the last two years, amassing 948 total yards of offense.
This looks like a good spot for some Notre Dame revenge against Robinson, and a Michigan bunch that is just 5-15-1 ATS in its last 21 games away from home.