When Michigan and Notre Dame square off on Saturday, a lot of focus will be on the quarterbacks.
For Notre Dame, junior Jimmy Clausen is the man. With two seasons already under his belt, Clausen is fresh off a four-touchdown performance in the season opener against Nevada.
For Michigan, freshman Tate Forcier gets the nod for the second time in as many games in a maize and blue uniform. Forcier, who threw three touchdowns in his first game last week against Western Michigan, will share time with fellow freshman Denard Robinson.
Clausen has played in this rivalry twice already, having won once and lost once. Forcier will get his first taste of a rivalry game, and perhaps one of the biggest keys for a Michigan win is how Forcier will respond.
Both Clausen and Forcier come from quarterback families from California, but which is better? Let's compare.
|James Richard Clausen||Full Name||Robert Patrick Forcier|
|Sept. 21, 1987||Birth date||Aug. 7, 1990|
|Thousand Oaks, Calif.||Birthplace||San Diego, Calif.|
|Oaks Christian||High School||Scripps Ranch|
High School Record
|146||High School TDs||61 (+24 rush)|
|10,677||High School Pass Yds.||7,448|
|2006 Hall Trophy, USA Today Offensive Player of the Year, Parade Magazine Co-Offensive Player of the Year||High School Honors||Nation's Most Accurate QB (Rivals)|
|Casey (QB, Tennessee) and Rick (QB, Tennessee)||Brothers||Jason (QB, Michigan & Stanford) and Chris (QB, UCLA & Furman)|
|Touted as "The Kid With the Golden Arm" by Sports Illustrated||Pre-college claim to fame||Led Pop Warner team to win in Pop Warner Super Bowl|
|Steve Clarkson||Personal Coach||Marv Marinovich|
|#1 overall in 2007 class||High School Ranking||#5 dual-threat QB in 2009 class (Rivals)|
|Joe Namath||NFL comparison||Jeff Garcia|
|April 22, 2006 at a press conference at the College Football Hall of Fame. Arrived by stretch Hummer limo, flashing multiple high school championship rings.||Committed||Aug. 21, 2008 by walking into Rich Rodriguez's office and telling him face-to-face.|
|Jan. 2007||Enrolled||Jan. 2009|
|Sept. 8, 2007 (Second game of season)||First Start||Sept. 5, 2009 (Opening day)|
|17-32 for 144 yds., 0 TDs, 1 INT vs. Penn State||First Start Stats||13-20 for 179 yds., 3 TDs, 0 INTs vs. Western Michigan|
|56.3% completions, 1,254 yds., 7 TDs, 6 INTs, 2 rushing TDs||First Season Stats||TBD|
|1-1||Record vs. ND/Mich.||0-0|
|June 23, 2007 - citation for illegal transportation of alcohol||Incidents||None|
Clausen was the more highly touted recruit and put up better stats in high school, though he struggled in his first two seasons at Notre Dame.
His commitment press conference and entrance to college showed a sense of entitlement, but by all accounts he has mellowed in the past couple of years.
Forcier has been groomed to be a quarterback since age four and, as the smallest of the three Forcier brothers, has had to work hard to achieve success.
His collegiate career has already gotten off to a better start than Clausen, and a win on Saturday would propel Forcier to heroic status in Ann Arbor.
To be fair, the two entered college under different circumstances.
Clausen followed Brady Quinn, who led Notre Dame to two straight BCS bowls and was a first-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft. What resulted was a 3-9 season.
Forcier came to Ann Arbor hailed as the savior of the program, a year after a 3-9 season—one of the worst in school history.
This season, Notre Dame is expected to challenge for a return to the BCS and Clausen has plenty of receiving options in Golden Tate and Michael Floyd. A win on Saturday would put Notre Dame well on its way towards achieving that goal.
Michigan is still considered a year away from contending, with this season designed to build a foundation for years to come. Last Saturday was the first step in that process, and this Saturday is the next. A loss won't doom the season—as not much is expected by most—but a win would do wonders for the growth and maturation of this young team.
Clausen and Forcier have a lot in common, from their upbringing to their talent. This Saturday, the two will face off for the first time with a lot on the line. Only time will tell which quarterback will turn out better.
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