No. 14 Notre Dame will make their last trip up north for the foreseeable future as they meet the No. 17 Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night at the Big House.
Though the teams have met as far back as 1887, there has been a back-and forth over the past few months between Michigan’s Brady Hoke and Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly as to which school chose to bow out, and whether there is much of a rivalry at all.
Whatever the reason behind their break-up, both teams stand to greatly benefit from a victory on Saturday. The Irish are hoping to dispel any doubts that their resurgence last year was a fluke, and the Wolverines are looking to get back into the national consciousness after failing to reach double-digits wins for the fifth time in six seasons last year.
Michigan has won four of its last six meetings against the Irish, and could have won last year if it wasn’t for six turnovers, including four picks by then quarterback Denard Robinson.
This year junior Devin Gardner is under center, and he had the Wolverines offense humming in a 59-9 victory over Central Michigan last week. All told Michigan gained 463 offensive yards, 242 of which came on the ground, and the defense generated three turnovers.
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Joining Gardner is a solid backfield made up of freshman Derrick Green and Fitzgerald Toussaint, a duo that probably poses the biggest threat to the favored Irish.
Notre Dame was equally impressive in its debut 28-6 win over Temple. Quarterback Tommy Rees tossed three touchdowns, and senior TJ Jones made six catches for 138 yards. Running backs Amir Carlisle and Cam McDaniel, who combined for 133 yards on 19 carries agains the Owls, join Jones as part a very balanced attack from the Fighting Irish.
The game kicks-off at 8 p.m. ET time and a live online stream is available at Watch ESPN here.
ESPN will televise the game nationally.
Betting Odds: Michigan is favored by 4 points.
Over/Under: 50.5 points
Prediction: Michigan 30, Notre Dame 20