Notre Dame has looked great through three games this year. However, they have not gone up against a dynamic offensive player that ripped them to shreds last year, like Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.
For those of you who forgot what Robinson did against a lot of these same Notre Dame defensive players last year, let me refresh your memory.
History of dominance
Robinson’s stat line for the game was: 11-of-24, 338 yards, four touchdowns, three interceptions, 16 rushing attempts, 108 yards and one touchdown.
What is scary about how well Robinson played against the Irish last year is that it wasn’t his best game against them. In 2010, Robinson killed the Fighting Irish on the ground, rushing 28 times for 258 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers in the passing game.
It’s safe to say that Robinson is a Notre Dame killer.
During that two-year span he’s thrown for four touchdowns, rushed for three scores and has gained a combined 948 yards.
Notre Dame has done a great job in getting better each week at defending the run. The Irish started the season allowing 149 yards to Navy, then 90 to Purdue and last week only allowing 50 to Michigan State.
However, despite the success of the Irish rushing defense, the history of Robinson and his success against them will bring the early success to a screeching halt.
How Robinson Will Dominate Again
As noted above, Robinson has beaten Notre Dame because of his ability to mix up his running and passing skills.
This year, I would expect to see a lot of Michigan’s spread offense to create those holes again for Robinson to run all over the Irish defense. If the Irish defense wants to hone in on Robinson’s rushing ability while being spread out, then they will get ripped to shreds—like last year— through the air.
In the week leading up to playing Robinson, Notre Dame more than likely will be trying to simulate in practice what Robinson has done to the Irish in the past.
However, no matter who comes in during practice, it will not be anything close to the speed and arm-strength that Robinson has shown against the Irish. Last year, Robinson had a 77-yard touchdown pass and in 2010 he ripped through the Irish defense for a 87-yard rushing score.
As Robinson showed last year, if the Irish can stop Robinson early he can—and will— find a way to be effective in the second half.
The aftermath of a loss
After Robinson and Michigan bring Notre Dame down next week in South Bend, it will send the quarterback back into Heisman consideration. The general public will see Robinson’s stat line of another game with 250-plus passing yards and 150-plus rushing yards with five total touchdowns.
With the win, Michigan will continue their climb back up the polls and back into the Big Ten championship picture.
While with the loss, Notre Dame will take a tumble down in the polls, but not be knocked out of being considered for their first BCS bowl game since the 2007 Sugar Bowl.