Michigan vs. Notre Dame: Why Irish Win over Wolverines Was a Fluke

T.J. Mcaloon@@tjmcaloonContributorSeptember 23, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 22:  Quarterback Tommy Rees #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates with teammates guard Christian Lombard #74 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Cierre Wood #20 in the fourth quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Stadium on September 22, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Some could say that Notre Dame’s 13-6 victory over Michigan was because of their punishing defense that forced six Michigan turnovers. However, they would be wrong. That win last night was about being lucky, more than anything else. 

You could say that it was the “luck of the Irish” that helped Notre Dame avenge past demons against the Wolverines. 

Before I get into the bad—aka Everett Golson— I will give credit to the Irish defense. It’s not like coming into this game Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson had a history of turnovers. 

Oh wait, that’s exactly what he has been known for this season with four interceptions before the Notre Dame game. 

So the question is, was Notre Dame’s defense playing at an elite level last night, or was it a case of Robinson playing at the same pace through Michigan’s previous games? 

If this Irish defense had a five-turnover performance against a better quarterback, like Stanford’s Josh Nunes, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones or USC’s Matt Barkley, then I’d be wiling to say that this is a great defense. However, they flourished by Robinson doing exactly what we already knew he would do: make horrible decisions with the football resulting in multiple turnovers. 

Now onto the Irish offense.

How many of you Irish fans thought last night’s game was going to be saved by the man you chased out of the starting spot because of turnovers, Tommy Rees?

I think Angelo Di Carlo said it best in this tweet: 

While the defense was flourishing on five Robinson turnovers, the Irish offense did nothing with Golson. 

Coming into the game, Golson was the anti-Rees, playing turnover-free football, except for one interception against Navy in the opener. However, last night, Golson went 3-of-8 for a measly 30 yards and two interceptions, before getting yanked from the game. 

If the Irish were going against an offense that could protect the ball, then Irish fans would have seen a much different score at half time. Instead, Notre Dame was lucky that Michigan could not score off of two Irish turnovers.  

So, looking into the future for the Irish and three games stick out like three four-leafed clovers: Oct. 13 vs. Stanford, Oct. 27 at Oklahoma and Nov. 24 at USC. 

Those three games will really reveal if this Irish defense is as good as they showed against Michigan. 

Or, as Irish fans will come to see in those three games, that last night’s win was more about luck than it was a great performance.