Michigan 45 Notre Dame 14 – Week 9 Recap

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WEEK 9 PROJECTION vs. RESULTS

Final Score: 45-14, Michigan by 31 over Notre Dame
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 4.0 (+27)
CD Projection: Michigan by 3 (+28)

FIVE FACTORS

WEEK 9 RECAP vs. Notre Dame

When was the 2019 turnaround, officially?  Could it have been the bounce back on the road after Illinois had scored 25 straight points?  Was it when Jim Harbaugh proclaimed the Wolverines were entering their “finest hour” after halftime in Happy Valley?  The staff continued to send positive signals that this team was close to clicking, even in the toughest times. They finally hit on all cylinders tonight in the Ann Arbor rain versus Notre Dame.  Michigan pulverized the Irish 45-14, and it could have been worse.

The offensive unit was led through a driving rain storm by their veteran offensive line.  Michigan ended the night with 303 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. The Notre Dame defense employed a very blitz-heavy strategy, focused on taking away Michigan’s edge runs.  The high risk / high reward gambit turned out to be a mistake. Michigan was able to block the blitzing linebackers on the edges, while Hassan Haskins was led up the middle by pulling linemen and tight ends.  Haskins finished as Michigan’s leading rusher with 149 yards on 20 carries.

Defensively, I am sure the players and the coaches will be disappointed this game was not another shutout.  The Irish were still sporting a goose egg on the scoreboard deep into the third quarter, and were averaging just 1.5 yards per play at the time.  On 3rd and 10, Brad Hawkins’ interception was wiped out by a phantom pass interference call against Khaleke Hudson. Five plays later, Notre Dame got onto the board with a well designed tight end throwback pass from Ian Book to Cole Kmet.  Don Brown’s swarming defense held Notre Dame to 3.0 yards per play and only a 23% success rate when all was said and done.

Michigan moves to 6-2 on the season, and this rivalry win will help to remove some bad taste from their mouths.  Their Big Ten East division chances are on life support with Ohio State’s throttling of Wisconsin and Penn State’s handling of MSU earlier today.  Michigan still needs Ohio State to trip up before they come to Ann Arbor, and they need Penn State to lose twice. With that said, the Wolverines showed they are still very engaged in pushing this season to a successful conclusion.  This was a dominating victory over a top-ten ranked Notre Dame team that doesn’t play another ranked opponent. In the final four games, Michigan will need to avoid trap games @ Maryland and @ Indiana. These dangerous opponents are lurking in between the remaining rivalry games versus MSU and The Game versus the Buckeyes.  Onward to Maryland!

About Clint Derringer

@clint_derringer Born & raised in Warren, MI. Now in Grosse Pointe, MI with my wife Bethany and our three hilarious kids. U-M B.A. Sport Management & Communications ‘05 U-M M.S. Program & Project Management ‘18