With buzzards swirling around the program, we came up with five questions/points of interest for what should be a game to remember.
Question One: Will Brian Kelly keep his perfect record against Michigan head coach Brady Hoke?
Kelly and Hoke have faced off against each other three times over the years. Each contest came while both were coaching teams in the Mid American Conference. Two of the three games found Kelly rallying his teams to comebacks wins including a 31-24 overtime victory in 2005.
Question Two: Will the Notre Dame defense continue its strong play against Denard Robinson and Michigan?
The South Florida game saw the Irish defense play solid holding the Bulls to one offensive touchdown. The effort was a continuation of last November when Notre Dame allowed just one score over a three-game span. But last year against the Wolverines, the Irish defense watched Robinson rush for 258 yards and two touchdowns while passing for 244 yards and another score. Something has to give Saturday in the Big House.
Question Three: Can Tommy Rees provide the skill and leadership to guide the Irish to a win over Michigan?
After losing out to Dayne Crist in camp, Rees finds himself back as the starter looking to lead the Irish to their first victory of the season. Rees must manage the game and keep the Irish moving forward as he did last season if they are to earn a victory over Michigan.
Question Four: Will the Irish again find strength in their running game as they did against South Florida?
Last Saturday, Cierre Wood rushed for 104 yards and scored one touchdown. However, the fumble by Jonas Gray set the tone for the remainder of the game. The Irish showed their ability to run the ball, but mistakes proved costly and must be eliminated in this hostile environment.
Question Five: Will the Irish fix the issues on special teams that hurt them against South Florida?
Poor punts and a missed field goal were just a few of breakdowns that happened on special teams. The Irish coaches drill special teams each practice and in a prime time rivalry game these mistakes would again prove costly.