Michigan Football: Notre Dame at Michigan — What Happened and What It Means — Part II
DEAD CHICKIN’ WALKING
Michigan Wins Historic Game
Michigan started strong on defense, with a three and out effort, and took the lead with a Brendan Gibbons field goal. This field goal set a Michigan record of fifteen straight, which soon would be taken to 16 later in the game.
Michigan built a 10-point lead, but Notre Dame came roaring back to tie the game. The rest of the game Michigan held a lead of between 4 and 14 points. But Notre Dame had two critical interceptions, both by Blake Countess that blunted the Irish comeback.A big part of the back and forth scoring was the two passing games. Rees and Jones had a good night; Gardner and Gallon had a great night. As mentioned on this site for years, Jeremy Gallon is simply a football player, not a combine warrior. His hand control has improved greatly the last two years, to the point that Gallon has become a go to guy.
Again Dileo was around to deliver a critical blow to the opponent with his catch of Michigan’s last touchdown on a nice little reverse spin move that is in everyone’s playbook.
Michigan struggled on the ground, but in the vein of not becoming one-dimensional kept trying. The typical result was a two-yard gain off the left side on first down by Fitz Toussaint. He kept plugging and broke a couple of medium runs around the edge into the secondary. Gardner’s scrambling was more effective and was used at the right times. Toussaint ended the night with71 yards and a nice catch downfield circling out of the backfield.
Notre Dame ran the ball between Michigan’s tackles effectively, sealing off both tackles with inside angles. The inside backers got caught up in what was left to block resulting in several runs of around ten yards. Still, at the end of the day, Notre Dame only ran the ball 19 times for about a hundred yards. Some may offer criticism that the Michigan defense could have been worn down by staying with the running plays that were yielding good results.Kelly, as is his mode of operation, called a halt to the ground attack and continued the air assault that, like the invasion of Stalingrad, came up short. The air assault was hindered by occasional Michigan pressure that resulted in moving Rees, hurrying him up enough to throw the ball high or wide, or drilling the ball hard enough to go through some hands now and then. The rush game was not anywhere near spectacular, but there was enough impact to say it was a positive. At least two of the Irish offensive linemen will sign NFL contracts and Notre Dame did a very nice job of pass protection.
The small receiving corps came through for Michigan. Funchess and Dileo contributed enough and Gallon had a career day. Keep in mind that Gardner threw some absolute laser shots and the hands of the receivers were magnificent, seemingly catching everything when the ball was on target and the pressure was on. Joining the recognized three last night was Jake Butt, the true freshman from Pickerington, Ohio. This guy is an athlete with good hands and the future is very bright. Joe Reynolds continues to show he can be at least a positive contributor by making an occasional catch and blocking well downfield, ditto for Jeremy Jackson. This group as a whole has demonstrated good blocking downfield that has yielded important extra yards.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
Go Blue — Wear Maize!