That’s the team we were expecting to see all season. Michigan absolutely demolished the historic rival, Notre Dame on a wet and rainy night in front of a worldwide audience.
Notre Dame 14 – Michigan 45
Pretty refreshing, huh? Here are my quick takeaways from Michigan’s 6th win of the season:
1.How Do You Like Dem Apples?
Rivalry win. Top 10 win. Underdog win. Dominating win. If only it were on the road, against Ohio State and to send Michigan to Indianapolis it may have checked off the remaining boxes for Harbaugh and the Wolverines.
This was a fantastic showing for Michigan. Yes, Notre Dame had their gaffs like the blocked punt fumble and multiple dropped passes, this game was dominated by the Wolverines from start to finish. Brian Kelly said it himself during his halftime interview and to see Michigan continue to pour it their longtime rival in the second half was so refreshing to see.
No let ups. No let downs. Start to finish performance in horrible conditions.
And just go away if you’re one of those people trying to say “Notre Dame isn’t even that good”. They showed their talent against the SEC darlings in Athens and were a legit top-10 team. This was just the Michigan team that most expected to see to start the year. Might want to get used to it.
By the way, the next time Michigan and Notre Dame are scheduled to play is 2033.
2. Welcome Back, Jim Harbaugh
18 straight run plays. Throwing it up 38-7. Accepting a holding penalty late in the game to keep Notre Dame under 100 total yards. This was the Jim Harbaugh everyone knew of at his previous stops and got a taste of to start his career at Michigan. But then it’s started to fade away a bit when the games mattered most. That’s why this performance was so refreshing
Whatever happened or was said around halfway through the 2nd quarter/at halftime of the Penn State game, it clearly worked.
Jim Harbaugh has his team playing the way expected his team to play this season. He has another big chance to show his worth and put it on the struggling Maryland Terrapins on the road and Michigan State Spartans, who will be limping into Ann Arbor in two weeks.
I’ll never count out the Spartans in this rivalry game and I’m sure it’ll end up being a super close game but if momentum, better coaching, and a deeper roster mean anything, Michigan should win comfortably.
If the 4th quarter playcalling against Notre Dame is any sign of things to come, Michigan could look to put a final nail in the storied MSU career of Mark Dantonio.
3. Stock Up
- The Charbonnet-Haskins Duo
- Smash and Dash? Whatever their nickname will be, this duo has become everything this offense has needed. Racking up two rushing touchdowns and 223 yards in total (149 on 20 carries for Haskins, 74 on 15 carries for Charbonnet). With the line gelling as well, this duo could lead the way throughout November.
- Cesar Ruiz and the O-Line
- About halfway through the game, my buddy from Atlanta and big Notre Dame fan text me “51 is going to play on Sundays”. That’s Mr. Ruiz, who has had his ups and downs to start his career but is really starting to figure it out. He dominated a strong Notre Dame front seven, getting to the second level and sealing off defenders to allow that running game to get going.
- This was another great performance by the offensive line, as the offense churned out 303 rushing yards in horrible conditions.
- Game Hype Commercials
- I laugh every time at these FOX and ESPN game hype commercials that think they’re showing #2 Shea Patterson in slowmotion walking down the tunnel but are really showing #2 Jake Moody, the kicker. Always funny and always good to see the kicker get some much-deserved love in the hype videos.
- Mike Sainristil
- The spring ball hero and true freshmen was expected to make a big splash immediately. But that didn’t happen as the youngster took some time to make his impact. It was spotty in the first 7 games of the season but game #8 was his coming out party. Three catches for 73-yards, including a big 3rd down grab and a Jeremy Gallon-like catch, broken tackles, and sprint to the end zone to put the icing on the cake.
- Jordan Glasgow
- Glasgow has been a punching bag for the fan base all season long but he showed out against the Fighting Irish, making several big plays all over the field. Glad to see everyone’s back on the “are there anymore Glasgow’s?” bandwagon.
- Quarterback Blocks
- It’s always good to see but when up 31-7 and your starting quarterback, who has been ripped apart by everyone, leading the charge and sprinting down the field to get a block on a 4th quarter touchdown run, it’s downright beautiful.
- The Future of the Michigan Defense
- Sophomore DE Aidan Hutchinson and LB Cam McGrone, along with freshmen DB Dax Hill. Those three are already game-changers and will be the faces of this Michigan defense going forward.
- Stephen Spanellis: The Stadium Usher
- The Senior lineman’s role in Ann Arbor has mostly been as one of the smartest players on the roster and a versatile depth player but on Saturday night, he played the role of stadium usher after he kindly sat his guest from South Bend in the front row.
4. Stock Down
- John O’Neill
- Every sport and league has officials that make the game more about themselves than anyone else. The MLB has C.B. Buckner, the NBA had Joey Crawford, College Basketball has “TV” Teddy Valentine, and Big Ten football has John O’Neill. It’s so bad that there have been petitions to have him fired. Now I’m not a huge fan of calling for people to lose their jobs but something needs to be done to improve the officiating and hold officials responsible for poor performance.
- Pass Interference
- The Khaleke Hudson ghost call to allow Notre Dame to continue their first scoring drive of the game was so bad that even Clay Travis thought it was a horrible, potential game-changing call.
- But it wasn’t just against Michigan. The refs called another weak DPI (though not even close to as bad) on Notre Dame in the end zone on the following drive.
- Figure it out, football.
- Cold, Rainy Games
- It didn’t affect Michigan but the cold, crappy, rainy night games are the worst. Even though the fans did a great job showing up in the first place and making it most of the game, it would’ve been great for a full Big House to see that butt whoopin’ in person.
Photo Credit: Patrick Barron/MGoBlog