Yet another game in the long rivalry between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Michigan Wolverines will be taking place on Saturday evening. Notre Dame is hoping for better luck in this year’s prime time game than it had last year as the Irish lost in an early-season bout with the Wolverines. This time, however, Notre Dame will be at home.
Michigan avoided another upset at the hands of Appalachian State in week one — and it wasn’t even close this time. The Wolverines begin the season 1-0 with a lot to prove and they are looking to become the premier team in the state for the first time in years. A win against Notre Dame on the road would be huge for Michigan’s confidence.
Everett Golson is back and seemingly better than ever for the Fighting Irish. After missing the entire 2013 season due to an academic suspension, Golson has returned to form in 2014, passing for 295 yards and two touchdowns on 14-22 completions in the opener against Rice. The senior quarterback has all the momentum in the world right now and he has a favorite target in William Fuller already as DaVaris Daniels remains suspended. Fuller led all receivers in week one with 85 yards and a touchdown on four catches. Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston both accounted for 71 rushing yards in week one while Bryant had the only touchdown between the two.
Devin Gardner remained a big question mark heading into the 2014 season. No, not whether or not he could stay healthy, but whether or not he could produce at the level Michigan needed him to be at. After one game, Brady Hoke is hopeful that his senior quarterback can lead the team. Gardner finished week one with 173 yards and three touchdowns on 13-14 passing. Tight end Devin Funchess was Gardner’s favorite target — as he might be all season long — as he caught seven passes for 95 yards and all three of Gardner’s touchdown tosses. Derrick Green revived Michigan’s running game with 170 yards and a touchdown on just 15 carries while De’Veon Smith had 115 yards and two scores on just eight carries.
Defensively, this game will be relatively even. The Wolverines held Appalachian State to just 14 points and 280 total yards while slowing the pass game down and holding the opposing quarterbacks to just 127 yards on 17 completions in 33 attempts. Notre Dame allowed Rice to rack up 367 yards and also allowed 17 points. The Fighting Irish struggled against the pass and that could give Gardner enough of a reason to have a big day on Saturday. This game will come down to a last-second field goal.
Michigan will travel to Notre Dame to take on the Fighting Irish at 7:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Sept. 6. The game will be broadcasted on NBC.
PREDICTION: Michigan 34, Notre Dame 31
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.