"So they beat a rebuilding Michigan (sucks!) team"—the haters still hate. They can proceed to say this about every game all season, but you know they are starting to get a little nervous. Why else would they be compelled to explain why we trounced Michigan (sucks!) this past Saturday?
Okay, so Michigan gave up 14 points in five minutes, and yes, they are rebuilding, but every opportunity they gave us was capitalized on. Every time they turned the ball over, it resulted in six points. Furthermore, the Irish looked good. For the first time in over a year, I had a huge smile on my face as a result of what the Irish had done on the field.
I do, as always, have to criticize. RB Sam McGuffie, 5-foot-nothing, 100-and-nothing, ran all over us, and I see him as a threat in years to come. This little guy—and I say little because he is one of a few players that I am actually bigger than—can play college football. He makes great cutbacks, great reads, and has the ability to be a game breaker.
However, he is not an army of one, and Michigan (sucks!) struggled in all other aspects of the game.
My only other complaint is about the Irish, and I will quote Sports Inferno's Mike Valenti.
"You're comin' out five wide...in Hurricane Katrina."
Why? Sophomore RB Robert Hughes was doing great—averaging 8.3 yards on the carries leading up to that play—and you're going to come out with an empty backfield?! Bad play call there, Haywood. However, you get a "freebie" due to the fact you knew to run up the score and air it out while the field and ball were still dry.
And for the first time in a long time, that's all I have to complain about.
The Fightin' Irish came out fired up, ready to make a statement against this Michigan (sucks!) team. From the very first fumbled kickoff, to the next fumbled kickoff, they were ready to win.
Special teams gunner Mike Anello, who was a walk-on and earned a scholarship because of his athleticism, is a ball hawk. He has the awareness to see the ball hit the ground and goes right for it. He is the first man down the field on kickoffs, closely followed by senior safety David Bruton, and he makes the hit hurt.
After both turnovers, Jimmy Clausen and the rest of the offense used the momentum to their advantage and put up touchdowns. Shortly after, a play action pass deep to Golden Tate would make the score 21-0 by the end of the first quarter.
This is the second pass of over 40 yards to Tate, who is a converted running back, and also his second receiving TD of the year.
After the second quarter, I began to think the only way that UM (s!) could cover true frosh Michael Floyd was with pass interference, due to the fact that both passes were penalized against the Wolverines. Unfortunately, on the third attempt, Jimmy Pickles threw the ball short, and it fell into the hands of the defense.
As Floyd gets more experience, he will learn that he needs to defend the defender from the INT—a problem that I am sure Coach Weis will address after seeing the film.
Corwin Brown and Jon Tenuta's defense is doing an awesome job breaking up the pass and putting pressure on the opposing QB, but where are all of those crazy, creative blitzes that Tenuta is known for, which had all of us ND fans foaming at the mouth?
It seems like, while I saw improvement in the entire defense, we show the blitz that is coming, which makes that single read option (which Michigan (sucks!) ran all day) even easier for the QB. However, I have a feeling that we hid certain plays from UM (s!) when we played SDSU, and once we felt like we had beaten the Wolverines, we started to muck our cards again.
In any case, I don't believe McGuffie would have done as well had senior LB and captain Maurice Crum been in the whole game, and I believe that the defense is going to be a deciding factor in close games to come.
Also, David Bruton: DON'T CHANGE A THING!
Next week is Michigan State Spartans, led by 12th-year senior RB Javon Ringer. This is one of the games that I have worried about all offseason. But if the progress from SDSU to UM (s!) continues, my worries will all be for not.
My advice for the rest of ND Nation: Enjoy this win. Don't look ahead and worry about who else we're playing just yet—it's only Monday. We can get all amped up come Thursday or Friday.
For now, I am going to relax and enjoy myself some more Kool-Aid—it is tasting better now, after all. CHEERS!