U-M vs ND: Bad News, Good News (part 1)

The Bad News versus Notre Dame ... well, there's quite a bit. But the Good News versus the Domers ...well there's lots there as well. Which will prevail -- only time will tell. But meanwhile, GoBlueWolverine lays it all out, the good and the bad ...

The Bad News: beating Notre Dame in South Bend.

The Wolverines haven't won in South Bend since 1994 (U-M and Notre Dame didn't meet in 1995-96), losing in 1998 (36-20), (U-M and Notre Dame didn't meet in 1999-2001), 2002 (25-23), and 2004 (28-20).

In addition, versus Notre Dame since the last hiatus in 1999-2001, Michigan is 1-3:
- losing at South Bend in 2002, 25-23
- winning in Ann Arbor in 2003, 38-0
- losing at South Bend in 2004, 28-20
- losing in Ann Arbor in 2005, 17-10

The good news: The Michigan rushing attack.

Michigan rushed for 246 yards versus Vanderbilt, and the Wolverines rushed for 252 more yards versus CMU

Mike Hart rushed for 146 yards (4.7 yards per carry on 31 carries) versus Vandy, and added 116 more (6.1 yards per carry on 19 carries) versus CMU.

And the Wolverines are 11-1 in games in which Hart has 100 or more yards rushing.

The bad news: Notre Dame is a hot team.

Notre Dame is a hot team, especially throwing the ball. QB Brady Quinn has passed for an average of 266 yards (11.1 yards per catch, 64.9% comp. rate) in his first two games. He shredded the hapless Nit defense going 25-36 with 3 TD's. ND has three receiving threats: TE John Carlson (10 catches in 2 games, no TD's), and WR's Rhema McKnight (13 catches, 1 TD), Jeff Samardzja (12 catches, 1 TD).

Meanwhile, the Michigan pass defense has been good-not-great, allowing an average of 158.5 yards per game and a total of 3 touchdowns.

The good news: hitting Brady Quinn.

The Notre Dame offensive line gave up 3 sacks to Penn State and 2 to Georgia Tech. Meanwhile, the Michigan defense has 10 sacks in 2 games, led by 4 by Lamarr Woodley.

The Bad News: Michigan's kickoff coverage.

CMU's freshman returner Eric Fraser returned five kickoffs for 155 yards, including two returns for over 40 yards and one for over 30. "Our kickoff coverage was really poor,'' Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "They are something I'm sure coach (Steve) Stripling will get resolved,'' Coach Mike DeBord said.

Vanderbilt also has impressive kickoff return stats against U-M: averaging 22.8 yards per return in four returns, including a long of 34 yards.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame's return yardage has been mixed thus far: ND had just one return for 13 yards against PSU, but against Georgia Tech they had one return for 46 yards and another for 33 yards.

The good news: Michigan's rushing defense

The Michigan rushing defense has been stifling, allowing an average of just 29 yards a game versus Vanderbilt and Central Michigan (Vandy got 42, CMU 16).

Meanwhile the Irish running game has been pedestrian so far, gaining 138 yards versus Georgia Tech and 110 against PSU. Darius Walker is the leading Irish ground gainer, averaging 77.5 yards per game (3.7 yards per carry).

More good news/bad news to come ...

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