A Few Thoughts On the Notre Dame Game

The WolverineCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2009

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 8:    Notre Dame Safety Tom Zbikowski #9 rushes up the sideline away from defensive end Maurice Evans #48 of Penn State during the second half of the game between University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Penn State Nittany Lions September 8, 2007 in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

Courtesy of MFB poster All In:

While the offense, and Jimmy Clausen in particular, looked good on paper against Nevada, there are certainly flaws in the Nevada defense that will not be easily exploitable against the Michigan defense.

First, Clausen's 15-for-18, 315-yard day was against a Nevada pass defense that gave up more yards through the air than any team in the country last year. Michigan's pass defense improved tremendously in Game 1.

Second, Clausen - who has shown a tendency to crack under pressure - was barely touched - let alone sacked last Saturday. Michigan's front four will be faster and more powerful.

Third, Clausen ex-Michael Floyd was 11-for-14, approximately-125 yard day. Such a performance is still respectable, but a far cry from stellar. If future first round draft pick Donovan Warren can significantly limit or shut down Floyd, Clausen won't have the same day he had against Nevada.

And lastly, the ND rushing attack didn't do much to impress. Their top back Allen barely averaged under five yards a carry, with the overall team averaging under four yards for the game. Admittedly, some of the criticisms could also be made with respect to Michigan's game versus WMU - but not all and not to the same degree.

In short, if Michigan - and in particular Donovan Warren and the secondary - can shut down Floyd n' Tate and the D-line can get more pressure on Jimmy Clausen, the ND rushing attack is unlikely to pick up the slack and Michigan could again beat the "experts" in Vegas (a nice reversal from last year's trend). Will Rich Rod and GRob be able to devise a plan to put the Michigan men in a place to win? Definitely. Will the team execute? My gut says yes...