10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 15, 2006
What to Watch
Wondering which college football games to watch before and after Michigan's tilt with Notre
Dame? Look no further, Daily Sports has got you covered.
NOT RE DAME .S
Before every football game
this season, two of the Daily's
football writers will take the
weekend's matchup to the
-PlayStation 2 and then let
you know what happened.
" Play of the game - With
Michigan up 20-10 in the third
quarter, Michigan CB #29
stepped in front of a QB #10
throw and took it 35 yards for
the dagger that killed Notre
Dame coach Matt Singer.
" Player of the game - Michi-
gan DE #56 was unstoppable.
He collected four sacks and
wreaked havoc on QB #10.
Michigan coach Kevin Wright:
"I've waited all summer to take
it to coach Singer. Even with the
crowd relentlessly heckling me,
I pulled it out."
"Ever since I started coaching,
I've been the Ron Zook of this
league. Now the tables have
turned, so watch out."
"Coach Singer made a living
beating bad teams. His
cockiness finally did him in.
He got what was coming to
him. He's been humbled to the
point where he needs to lose
"So got some criticism for going
for it on fourth and 14, from my
own 20, and not making it. But
it paid off for me in the end, 1
Notre Dame coach Matt
"This was easily the most
pathetic moment of my coaching
career. Coach Wright is the
laughingstock of the NCAA, and
I let him embarrass me today.
"Every single person on my
team should cry himself to
sleep at night. Where were my
great receivers? Where was my
superstar QB? Where was SS
#9 when the sure 1NT hit him
in the chest? They disgraced
themselves, their school, and
yes, even their families today."
Continued from page 8
the Wolverines' passing game at this
point because they have been riding
their unstoppable rushing attack.
Notre Dame isn't a great defensive
squad, and its defense has been incon-
sistent at best. But the Irish have held
their opponents to an average of 183
passing yards per game. Look for the
Wolverines to try to jump-start their
sluggish passing attack against Notre
Dame but find only modest success.
Michigan rushing offense vs.
Notre Dame rushing defense:
With an average of250 yards on the
ground per game, Michigan boasts the
10th-best rushing attack in the nation.
Tailback Mike Hart ranks seventh in
Division I-A with 262 yards. But the
biggest reason for the resurgence of
the Wolverines' run game has been
their depth. Sophomore Kevin Grady
had another solid game last week with
12 carries for46 yards.
As great as Michigan has been
running the ball, Notre Dame has
been almost as bad defending against
the run. Through two games, the
Irish have given up 277 yards on the
ground, making their run defense
73rd in Division I-A.
Even so, Michigan's backfield is
too talented for Notre Dame's subpar
run defense to slow it down.
Notre Dame passing offense vs.
Michigan passing defense:
Irish quarterback Brady Quinn
started the year as the Heisman front-
runner, though his stock dropped a
bit after his lackluster debut at Geor-
gia Tech. But the senior's big game
last week put him solidly back in the
running. Quinn completed 25 of 36
passes for 287 yards and three touch-
downs against the always tough Penn
The Wolverines have made pres-
suring the quarterback an art form
in their first two games this season.
As a team, Michigan has recorded
10 sacks, third in Division I-A.
But the Wolverines haven't played
an offense as talented as Notre
Dame's yet, and the Irish receiving
corps will test Michigan's corner-
backs. Quinn might get hit a few
times, but the Irish should be able to
move the ball through the air against
Edge: Notre Dame
THE POWER TO
Notre Dame rushing offense vs.
Michigan rushing defense:
With Notre Dame's high-powered
offense getting most of the attention,
tailback Darius Walker is almost an
afterthought. After two games, Walk-
er has 42 carries for 155 yards and
one touchdown. The scary part for
Michigan fans is that Walker always
shows up big against the Wolverines.
In 2004, Walker amassed 115 yards
on 31 carries; last year, he gained 104
yards on 26 carries.
Michigan's run defense has been
nearly impenetrable in its first two
games. Against Vanderbilt, the Wol-
verines gave up 46 net rushing yards;
last week they allowed just 16. Mich-
igan's defense ranks fourth in the
nation against the run. Through two
games, the Wolverines have notched
19 tackles for loss, which places them
in a tie for fifth in Division I-A.
Walker will give Michigan its first
real test of the season, but the Wol-
verines' run stopping looks too good
to let Walker have a big day.
Michigan continues to play musi-
cal punters, using either fifth-year
senior Ross Ryan or redshirt fresh-
man Zoltan Mesko depending on
the situation. On kickoffs, the lower
tee has hindered Ryan's ability to
kick the ball as high and deep as he
did last season. That hurt the Wol-
verines' kickoff coverage last week,
and Michigan gave up 188 yards on
Notre Dame's Tom Zbikowski is
one of the top punt returners in the
nation, even though he hasn't broken
abig returnyetthis season. The Irish's
field-goal kicking has been shaky.
Placekicker Carl Gioia has missed 2-
of-4 field goals this season.
If it comes down to a field goal,
Michigan has the advantage. Other-
wise, look for Zbikowski to have a
Edge: Notre Dame
Michigan hasn't won its road
opener since 1999. It hasn't beat
Notre Dame on the road since 1994.
The Wolverines will probably get
a little boost from being the under-
dog, but it's less clear if whatever has
stopped them from winning their first
road game for the last six seasons has
Notre Dame Stadium has one of
the most electric atmospheres in col-
lege football. Loud fans, decades of
tradition, Touchdown Jesus - it's
hard for any visiting team to go in
there and win. Michigan is used to
the trappings of a big-time college
football game, so that shouldn't faze
them. Even so, home-field advantage
gives the Irish the nod.
Edge: Notre Dame
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Even though Notre Dame enters
the game with most of the hype, the
two teams match up evenly in most
categories. The big question is wheth-
er Michigan's faster, more aggressive
defense will be able to contain one of
the most explosive passing attacks in
the country. The Wolverines should
be able to slow the Irish down, but
they will come up just short of pull-
ing off the upset.
Pick: Notre Dame 27, Michigan
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