It's Friday and that mean game prediction time again! Notre Dame is host rival Michigan looking to improve on their undefeated record. Can the Irish finally stop Denard Robinson?
I believe Notre Dame is a developing team who has some weaknesses. I fully expect Michigan to try to expose those weakness. My guess is we'll see a steady diet of Michigan trying to roll the pocket and get Denard Robinson out on the perimeter. The threat of him taking off will be very difficult for a young an inexperienced Irish secondary.
Notre Dame will do their best to keep Robinson inside the pocket, and they have a good enough defensive front 7 to accomplish that most of the time. But make no mistake, Robinson will make plays, and he'll score points.
The real key to this game is how many points will the Irish score on Michigan? I fully expect Greg Mattison to throw the kitchen sink at Everett Golson and the Irish offense. The best way to protect against that, and keep Robinson off the field, is a dominant running game. It's all on the Irish offensive line this week, in my opinion. If they play well, wear down a depleted an thin front 7 of Michigan, and Brian Kelly and Chuck Martin are committed to the run this week, they'll win the game.
I think the Irish win another nail-biter.
Notre Dame: 28 Michigan: 24
Notre Dame’s 2012 night game lives up to the hype after an electric 2011 night game in Ann Arbor and this time, the Irish come out on top.
Everett Golson has his first magical moment as Notre Dame's quarterback as he leads an Irish scoring drive late in the fourth quarter capped off with a touchdown run of his own. Throughout the game, the sophomore displays an amazing ability to make plays when pushed out of the pocket with both his arm and his legs, outshining even Denard Robinson. Golson throws for another score in the first half before diving in with the winner to put Notre Dame on top.
For the first time in his career against the Irish, Robinson is held in check. Still, Notre Dame isn't able to grab a hold of the game until the end. Louis Nix jumps on a fumble to seal the victory on Michigan’s final offensive possession.
Notre Dame: 24 Michigan: 17
A disclaimer on this prediction: I am 3-0 so far in my preseason predictions we made at the start of the season. Now, my initial preseason prediction had Michigan beating Notre Dame 24-17. I originally felt like I needed to stick with that, but after watching Notre Dame the first three weeks they are a decidedly different kind of team than last year.
Denard Robinson is still Denard Robinson and he will make some plays. Take him out of the equation though and Michigan is horribly average. The Irish will be able to move the ball, both on the ground and through the air, against a so-so Michigan defense, and the ND front seven will bludgeon Michigan up front.
Robinson will make some plays, but in the end Notre Dame will have the stamina to do what is necessary to win for their first 4-0 start since 2002.
Notre Dame: 30 Michigan: 24
The Wolverines get on the board first with a long pass from Denard Robinson to Roy Roundtree on third and 16, stunning the home crowd, but giving the Irish defense the wakeup call they need. Two possessions later the Irish go on a long drive and tie the game at 7-7 as Cierre Wood punches it in from the three yard line to end the first quarter.
The second quarter we see the defense that showed up last week as Michigan can’t buy a first down, much less a positive play. The Irish score again, this time on a middle screen to TJ Jones who breaks an early tackle and sprints in from 47 yards out to make it 14-7 Notre Dame. The Irish add a field goal on their last possession to go into the locker room with a 17-7 lead.
The Irish get the ball first and Everett Golson throws his second interception on a tipped pass, giving Michigan the ball on the Notre Dame 30. The defense holds and allows only three points as the Wolverines make it a 17-10 game. The teams exchanges punts the rest of the quarter and it ends at 17-10.
The fourth quarter the Irish front seven continues to dominate the Wolverines as very few opportunities to be successful come Michigan’s way. The Irish punt the ball away a few times as well and get the ball back with five minutes left in the game. As they did against Michigan State they drive the length of the field and kick a field goal with 1:30 remaining to make it a two possession game at 20-10. The Wolverines get the ball back and drive the length of the field and on a fourth and 12 from Notre Dame’s 22, Robinson throws an interception to Zeke Motta.
Notre Dame: 20 Michigan: 10