Okay, ND vs U-M. Similarities and Differences

Two staggering Midwest giants meet in South Bend next week ... the one left vanquished will REALLY be staggering. Here are the two team's game-comparisons Saturday -- lots of similarities, one big difference.

The Irish:

--- ND won 21-13 Saturday, beating SDST.
--- ND Trailed 13-7 in the 4th Quarter ... then fumbled into the ND end zone when they could've put the game away. ND went to the air to score 2 TDs after that.
--- ND lost 2 fumbles and 2 ints.
--- ND missed a 47 yard FG and botched another on a mishandled snap.
--- Overall: ND gained 432 yards.
--- The ND D was stalwart, giving up just 13 points ... ND surrendered 345 yards, just 71 rushing and 271 passing. -- Injuries hit ND significantly: ND had RB Robert Hughes go down with a twisted knee, and WR Duval Kamara with a leg injury.


The Wolverines:

--- U-M won 16-6, beating Miami-Ohio.
--- U-M never trailed, but only led 10-6 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
--- Overall, U-M gained 281 yards.
--- The U-M D was stalwart, giving up just 6 points and just 252 yards, 205 through the air.
--- Injuries have hit U-M significantly: RBs Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown and Michael Shaw (new-groin), WRs Greg Mathews and Terrence Robinson, OLs (the hardest hit) Corey Zirbel and Mark Ortmann (new-elbow).


The difference in the two games:

Notre Dame basically did the job in the air:
----- ND gained 237 yards through air (Jimmy Clausen was 21-34 with 3 TDs, 2 ints)
----- ND gained just 105 yards on the ground, with Armando Allen getting 59 and Robert Hughes (before he got hurt) 54.

Michigan basically did the job with their legs:
---- Overall, Threet threw for 63 yards and Sheridan 40;
---- McGuffie/Shaw/Threet/Minor/Sheridan/Moundros/Minor ran for 178.

For U-M's TD drives
--- For their first quarter TD, starting at their own 23 ... a screen pass from Threet to Odoms resulted in a 50 yard gain, and U-M ran in for the final 27 yards.
--- For their 4th quarter TD drive, starting at their own 13, ditto. McGuffie caught a screen pass and ran 27 yards with it. Other than that 42 or the remaining 50 yards gained were on the ground, capped offf with a spectacular 15 yard TD run my Minor (at the end of which his foot went O-Bounds instead of into the E-Zone, but that's another matter).


The questions ... most seem to revolve around passing:

-- Can U-M generate a passing attack against the perhaps-porous ND defense?
-- Can U-M stop the Irish passing attack?
-- (The biggie-Q) Can Coach Rod stop the Irish team from mingling with the allowed-to-come-down-on-the-field-ND-student-body after the game and singing the ND Fight Song and Alma Mater?

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