Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 26, 2019*

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 36 of 55 OCT. 26, 2019 37 Michigan has been solid, though not spectacu- lar, against the run this season, ranking ninth in the Big Ten and 50th in the nation in ground yards allowed per contest (134.6). Senior linebacker Khaleke Hudson was by far the team's top tackler with 52 through five games, with the next closest Wolverine posting 36 stops. Hudson's average of 10.4 tackles per game through Oct. 5 ranked 17th in the country. The Wolverines have remained one of the bet- ter total and scoring defenses (16.0 points al- lowed per game) in the country, more because of their stingy pass defense than any success of consistently stopping the run. Advantage: Even NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. MICHIGAN PASS DEFENSE While senior quarterback Ian Book has been terrific this season against the lighter oppo- nents on the schedule, he suffered a drastic drop against the two ranked teams he has faced. Book hit New Mexico and Bowling Green for a combined 10 touchdowns and 621 passing yards with no interceptions — helping him to be rated as one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country (16th with a passing efficiency rating of 169.2 through Oct. 5). He also was 11th in points responsible for per game (18.0), 13th in pass- ing touchdowns (13), 21st in yards per attempt (9.02), 23rd in yards per completion (13.78), 30th in total offense (278.6 yards per game) and 36th in passing yards per game (250.8). Yet, in his two games against No. 3 Georgia and No. 18 Virginia — who along with Michigan will be the best pass defenses on the Irish schedule this season — Book managed just 440 passing yards and two touchdowns. Michigan's pass defense, at least statistically speaking, stacks right alongside Georgia's at this point in the season, making this the type of tough game and better defense that Book needs to start excelling against to reach a higher tier. Through Oct. 5, the Wolverines ranked seventh in passing yards allowed per game (154.2), 21st in passing efficiency defense (111.22 rating) and 22nd in sacks per contest (3.00). Michigan does an adequate job in coverage but get its best work defending the pass through pressuring and hurrying quarterbacks, which is not necessarily a great matchup for Book, who continues to be criticized for bailing out on plays too quickly when under duress, especially against better opponents. Advantage: Michigan SPECIAL TEAMS The sour taste has subsided some since the special teams snafus against Virginia when Notre Dame lost a possession on a muffed punt, lost another possession on an unguarded onside kick and then missed a field goal. Mulligan aside, the Irish still hadn't provided many memorable moments within the return game heading into the USC contest, ranking be- low average in both kickoff (21.0 yards per at- tempt) and punt returns (6.5) but they have been strong in coverage. After five contests, the Irish were 12th in kickoff return defense (15.73 yards allowed per attempt) and 23rd in punt return defense (2.86). Michigan shares a similar profile with the Irish, no scores gained or lost. Wolverine redshirt junior punter Will Hart has remained one of the best in the country this season. Through Oct. 5, he ranked 12th in the country with an average of 46.9 yards per punt. Advantage: Even COACHING In the only time Brian Kelly and Jim Harbaugh have met as head coaches at Notre Dame and Michigan, respectively, Kelly's No. 12 Irish par- layed a 24-17 home win against No. 14 Michigan in the season opener last year into a No. 8 rank- ing, an undefeated regular season and eventually a berth in the College Football Playoff. Fair or not, Harbaugh finds himself under fire this season because of his inability to beat top rivals, and Notre Dame falls under that category, though not in Big Ten play. Meanwhile, Kelly has his program rolling and is on pace to win at least 10 games for a third straight season. Considered a critical game for both coaches in measuring season success, Har- baugh faces more pressure than Kelly. Advantage: Notre Dame INTANGIBLES Michigan remains a tough out at home, going 29-4 at Michigan Stadium since Harbaugh took over the program in 2015. And those four home losses came to only two teams — bitter rivals Ohio State (two) and Michigan State (two). Meanwhile, Notre Dame has lost four straight games at The Big House and seven of the last eight there, dating back to 1997. With its only three road losses since 2016 com- ing against ranked teams, Notre Dame has proven to be a worthy opponent away from home, but not necessarily against elevated competition. Advantage: Michigan GAME PREVIEW: MICHIGAN Offense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. WR 9 D. Peoples-Jones 6-2 208 Jr. 7 Tarik Black 6-3 215 R-So. LT 75 Jon Runyan Jr. 6-5 321 5th-Sr. 76 Ryan Hayes 6-7 299 R-Fr. LG 74 Ben Bredeson 6-5 325 Sr. 66 Chuck Filiaga 6-6 341 R-So. C 51 Cesar Ruiz 6-4 319 Jr. 72 Stephen Spanellis 6-5 295 R-Jr. RG 50 Michael Onwenu 6-3 350 Sr. 68 Andrew Vastardis 6-3 319 R-Jr. RT 73 Jalen Mayfield 6-5 319 R-Fr. 76 Ryan Hayes 6-7 299 R-Fr. TE 84 Sean McKeon 6-5 246 Sr. 82 Nick Eubanks 6-5 256 R-Jr. WR 4 Nico Collins 6-4 222 Jr. 7 Tarik Black 6-3 215 R-So. WR 8 Ronnie Bell 6-0 184 So. 19 Mike Sainristil 5-10 183 Fr. QB 2 Shea Patterson 6-2 202 Sr. 10 Dylan McCaffrey 6-5 220 R-So. 5 Joe Milton 6-5 245 R-Fr. RB 24 Zach Charbonnet 6-1 220 Fr. 3 Christian Turner 5-11 200 R-Fr. or 13 Tru Wilson 5-10 200 Sr. Defense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. DE 19 Kwity Paye 6-4 277 Jr. 4 Mike Danna 6-2 261 5th-Sr. DT 2 Carlo Kemp 6-3 286 Sr. 95 Donovan Jeter 6-3 290 R-So. DT 50 Michael Dwumfour 6-2 282 R-Jr. 95 Donovan Jeter 6-3 290 R-So. or 42 Ben Mason 6-3 270 Jr. DE 97 Aidan Hutchinson 6-6 278 So. 18 Luiji Vilain 6-4 244 R-So. OLB 7 Khaleke Hudson 6-0 220 Sr. 6 Josh Uche 6-2 250 Sr. ILB 12 Josh Ross 6-2 232 Jr. 44 Cameron McGrone 6-1 232 R-Fr. 34 Jordan Anthony 6-0 245 R-So. ILB 29 Jordan Glasgow 6-1 226 5th-Sr. 8 Devin Gil 6-1 236 R-Jr. FS 20 Brad Hawkins 6-1 218 Jr. 26 J'Marick Woods 6-3 213 Jr. SS 14 Josh Metellus 6-0 218 Sr. 30 Daxton Hill 6-0 190 Fr. CB 24 Lavert Hill 5-11 182 Sr. 1 Ambry Thomas 6-0 182 Jr. CB 1 Ambry Thomas 6-0 182 Jr. or 31 Vincent Gray 6-2 185 R-Fr. MICHIGAN DEPTH CHART Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PK 2 Jake Moody 6-0 198 So. or 3 Quinn Nordin 6-1 196 R-Jr. P 17 Will Hart 6-3 206 R-Jr. 3 Brad Robbins 6-1 199 R-So. KO 2 Jake Moody 6-0 198 So. 3 Quinn Nordin 6-1 196 R-Jr. H 17 Will Hart 6-3 206 R-Jr. 3 Brad Robbins 6-1 199 R-So. Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. LS 33 C. Cheeseman 6-4 230 R-Jr. 99 Trey Harper 6-5 240 5th-Sr. KR 15 Giles Jackson 5-9 188 Fr. 23 Michael Barrett 6-0 227 R-Fr. PR 9 D. Peoples-Jones 6-2 208 Jr. 8 Ronnie Bell 6-0 184 So. Special Teams

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