Ouimet Predicts BLUE Saturday

Former U-M Staffer Mark Ouimet:<br><br> Michigan hasn't won at Notre Dame since 1994 -- but that is going to change.<br><br> With Michigan's strong defense and Notre Dame's iffy offense, the Irish will probably not score many points.<br><br> So the key to the game: Michigan's offense against Notre Dame's defense. How many will Michigan score?<br><br> Read on!


Michigan last won in '94 26-24 when Remy Hamliton kicked the last second field goal. Remember?

First the Notre Dame defense versus the Michigan offense. This is the key matchup in the game:

Notre Dame does have some bright spots on defense. Their front line is pretty good: Greg Pauly, Justin Tuck, Derek Landri, Kyle Budinscak, and Trevor Laws ... they had five sacks last week against BYU.

And Michigan gave up three sacks to Miami last week. So this will be one of the point s of emphasis at Michigan's practice this week. Offensive line coach Andy Moeller will be emphasizing the pass rush with his unit this week. I think Michigan's offensive line will be able to handle Notre Dame up front ... Michigan averaged 4 yards per play against Miami, and that will continue.

At linebacker they have one of the best in business, Mike Goolsby from Joliet Catholic, Mike Kolodziej's school. Goolsby had 9 tackles vs BYU. he's the leader and core of that defens e... they need him to play well. We'll see him and other linebackers up in the box.

Michigan will face Saturday what they'll face all year - 8-9 men in box, blitzing, all designed to stop the run and force Michigan to pass the ball under blitzing pressure. Notre Dame will try to force Chad Henne to make mistakes, to make bad reads, to make the wrong audibles. Michigan will probably try to keep Henne from making too many audibles; there won't be many not many checks at the line of scrimmage ... when the coaches call a run play, it'll be a run play ... there will be fewer checks than last year with Navarre.

For Michigan it'll be important for Henne to complete 50% of his passes for 200 yards .. I think we'll see that. I think the offense will revert back to 97 a little, with some passes to the tight ends ... if their linebackers are blitzing then the tight ends should be open. And against an agressive defense an offense needs misdirection ... so we'll see Breaston, on reverses, even Breaston at quarterback on the goal line ... we'll see something special against Notre Dame -- unless they just fall on their face like last year.

Notre Dame's vulerability -- their cornerbacks. That should be a mismatch right out of the gate. They cant' match Braylon, Breaston , Avant, Ecker and Massaqoi. When Notre Dame blitzs, their corners will have to go man on man ... Michigan's receivers should be open all day.

The key to Michigan's offense will be Chad Henne -- when he drops back, he needs to make right reads. Turnovers will be most important. If Henne holds down his turnovers, Michigan will score some points.

The Notre Dame offense versus the Michigan defense. This should be a bit of a mismatch.

Last week Notre Dame had 11 yards rushing. Ryan Grant will help them some this week, but it'll be the same people blocking. Michigan must first stopthe run -- and that should be easy to do.

In the passing game last week, Qinnn was 26 of 47.

BYU blitzed on every play. Michigan will look at the film ... and Michigan will have better athletes doing the same thing. BYU had to Ernest, no Marlin, no Pierre, no Gabe ... Michigan will blita, disguize the blitz, fake the blitz, ... they'll bring Shazor up to blitz.

They were 3 of 16 on 3rd down last week, that's pitiful actually. And they gave up 3 sacks, and had a fumble.

Notre Dame does have a good kicker -- D.J. Fitzgerald. He'll probably kick a few field goals Saturday.

The Bottom Line

Notre Dame, frankly, is not a sound football team right now.

I don't expect a different Notre Dame team to show up this week. With Grant they will rush over 11 yards, but shouldn't get over 100.

By the way, Michigan recruited a few of their players ... some would play for Michigan ... would most? Well ... Michigan recruited Billy Palmer (their fine tight end), Laws, Quinn, Grant, Pauly, Harris, Landry, Goolsby, Preston Jackson, Travis Leitko, Maurice Stovall, Mark Levoir. But most of these guys are juniors and seniors ... U-M has not gone after too many of the young guys Willingham has recruited.

Ouimet's Game Prediction: 31-9. Notre Dame will only manage three field goals.

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