I hate to pick a game of the week against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish again, but the schedule for week four in the Big Ten is fairly week. This game however could be make or break for both teams.
This week, I pick the game of the week for Week Four.
Week Four: Michigan vs. Notre Dame 7:30
Michigan will win if they…
Win the turnover battle and stop the run. The Michigan Wolverines gave up a total of 513 yards last season when the Irish came to Ann Arbor with 198 of those being rushing yards. With a much improved defense for Big Blue, Michigan will look to improve on last years 35-31 win. Denard Robinson needs to make smart decisions with the football and take his runs outside the pocket wisely against the Irish defense. He threw all over Notre Dame last season but had three interceptions that were costly leading to touchdowns. If Fitzgerald Toussaint is able to get his yards on the ground, it will only benefit Robinson. Notre Dame will be coming off a tough game against the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing the week before, so if the Wolverines can limit giving Notre Dame the football and run against a tired defense, Brady Hoke and co. will come out of this game victorious.
Notre Dame will win if they…
Don’t turn the football over and shut down Denard Robinson. The Irish had five total turnovers in this game last season and it cost them big time, just like it did all season. Keeping the ball away from Heisman candidate Robinson will be crucial during this game. Even though the Irish defense is considered to be one of the best in the country this season led by All-American linebacker Manti Te’o, Robinson can score at the blink of an eye and not giving him many chances will only help Brian Kelly’s squad. If Cierre Wood gets his yards on the ground and which ever quarterback starts for Notre Dame makes smart decisions with the football, the Irish will give themselves a chance to beat the reining Sugar Bowl champs.
Prediction: Michigan wins by 3
This game is going to be closer then many people think. It’s each team’s fourth game of the season and both will want a piece of each other after last seasons close battle in the Big House. Both squads will run the football effectively and play tight defense in the secondary. In the end I think Robinson makes too many plays and the Michigan defense takes a huge step from last season. The Wolverines will get experience against arguably the best team in the country in the Alabama Crimson Tide during week one and it will benefit them greatly coming in to this game. Michigan gets the win and Robinson is one of the Heisman front runners.
Will Wilson is a writer for Rant Sports covering College Football and the Big Ten Conference.