Michigan senior safety Jordan Kovacs has had a stellar career against Notre Dame thus far.
Kovacs first career start came against the Irish in 2009, as the Wolverines would win 38-34 in last second fashion. A trend that continued the following two seasons that have the Maize & Blue riding a three game winning streak versus their traditional non-conference rival—Michigan's longest win streak versus the Domers since the rivalry renewed in 1978.
"I think you are always hungry in this game," Kovacs said. "It's a huge rivalry. It's always an intense game. It's always exciting to play Notre Dame. It's one of the most tradition rich schools in the nation. It's a tradition rich rivalry. We look forward to it and I'm sure they feel the same way."
Last year Michigan senior quarterback Denard Robinson lead Michigan to a last second victory over the Irish 35-31. It's a game that Kovacs said he wants to put in the past, because of the Wolverine defensive woes.
"Obviously there were some big plays down the stretch that Denard made," Kovacs recounted. "But I think that game was bitter sweet for the defense—because we didn't play as well as we had hoped too. And we hope to do that this year. So we will see. But last year was last year. This is a new Notre Dame team and a new Michigan team and that will be an exciting game."
The Irish have started off 3-0 for the first time in ten years, after knocking off mutual rival Michigan State 20-3 in East Lansing last Saturday. Notre Dame features sophomore quarterback Everett Golson, who in his first three starts for the Irish (No. 11 AP ranking), has them on the brink of being in the Top 10 in the first time in the Brian Kelly era. The Irish also feature running backs Theo Riddick, Cierre Wood, and wide receiver T.J. Jones as top players on offense. It's an offense that has the Wolverines' full attention said Kovacs, "They got so many weapons on that offense. So we are going to have our hands full."
Notre Dame senior tight end Tyler Eifert, has eight catches for 120 yards and a touchdown reception through the Irish's first three games. Kovacs said he may be the nation's best tight end.
"He's a great athlete," Kovacs said, hinting that Eifert might be his main cover during the game. "He is a very good tight end. Arguably the best in the nation. I know they like to throw a lot of jump balls to him. We're going to have to find a way to stop him. And He is not the only player on their team."
With the duel threat Golson steering the Irish offense, Notre Dame will feature a mixture of spread and power running formations. Kovacs said they are still a spread team, but just have to be prepared for the multiple formations during the game.
"They are still a spread team," Kovacs said. "They gave a lot more five wide and empty sets than I remember them giving last year. I think it is such a versatile offense. It can get in the I (formation) and still run the ball downfield. And get in third-team personal and put three tight ends that can all be starters on some teams out here. But they are very versatile. Like I said, they can get in third team personal and pound you or spread it out in the empty and really challenge you."
Michigan fans all hope Kovacs steps up to the challenge with help from his teammates naturally—and finishes his career 4-0 versus the Irish.
To watch the interview with Kovacs, click play below.