Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 26, 2019*

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

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Page 38 of 55 OCT. 26, 2019 39 Saban and Northwestern's Ara Par- seghian (1959-62) — who later would lead the Irish to two consensus na- tional titles and a shared one — are the only two coaches to post a 4-0 ledger versus Notre Dame since the turn of the 20th century. • Todd Graham, Tulsa/Arizona State — Both came against Brian Kelly, the first in 2010 with Tulsa (28-27) and then at Arizona State in 2014 (55-31). He nearly became the first to achieve it with three teams, but Notre Dame rallied to a 15-12 win against his 2011 Pitt squad. ROAD WARRIORS: PART II While games at Louisville Sept. 2 and at Duke Nov. 9 were not or can- not be underestimated, the "Road Warriors" theme the Notre Dame football office had for the 2019 cam- paign specifically pertained to three opponents from September through November. The first was the journey to No. 3 Georgia Sept. 21, where Notre Dame was attempting to achieve its first vic- tory versus a top-five team since, well … at No. 3 Michigan in 2005 (17-10). That 14-year drought so far from 2006- 19 doubled the previous longest stretch of seven from 1958-64. Consider that in the six years from 1988-93 the Fighting Irish had 11 such conquests. Head coach Brian Kelly's troops battled to the end, having a chance to win on the final series, before falling 23-17. Six false start penalties by the offense resulted from the silent-count operation going awry against a rau- cous record crowd of 93,246 in Sanford Stadium. "I made a terrible miscalculation in that I felt our quarterback was pre- pared, but he wasn't," Kelly said after- wards, falling on his sword. "… That falls on my shoulders. I have to do a better job. We'll make sure that never happens again." The third and final one this year will come at Stanford Nov. 30, where Notre Dame has lost five straight since 2009, beginning when Harbaugh was the head coach for the Cardinal. In between is Part II of this trilogy — at Michigan Stadium Oct. 26. Notre Dame has lost four straight in The Big House and is 1-7 at the venue since 1997 (a sharp contrast to the 4-3 mark it held there from 1979-93). This dubious streak began with a 38-0 victory by the Wolverines in 2007, the year the Irish finished 3-9, and con- tinued with dramatic 11th-hour touch- down drives in 2009 and 2011. In 2009, Michigan scored with 11 sec- onds remaining for a 38-34 win, and in 2011 it rallied from a 24-7 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter for a 35-31 victory, scoring with two seconds left while driving 80 yards in 28 seconds. The last meeting between the two schools in Ann Arbor was a 41-30 Michigan triumph in 2013. Meanwhile, the 2019 Wolverines are desperate for a marquee victory. En- tering its game at Penn State Oct. 19 — the same weekend the Irish had a bye — Michigan under Harbaugh was 1-10 against top-10-ranked teams, most recently getting blown out last year at Ohio State (62-39) and then by Florida (41-15) to end the 2018 campaign, and then getting drilled 35-14 at Wisconsin this year. With about 20,000 more fans ex- pected at Michigan for the Notre Dame game than there were at Georgia, the Irish will confront Phase II of overcom- ing past ghosts on the road. Victories at Michigan and Stanford would at least win the "best of three" series in 2019. ✦ GAME PREVIEW: MICHIGAN Since 1997, the series with U-M has strongly favored the home team. In games played at Michigan Stadium, the Wolverines have a 7-1 advantage versus the Irish. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN Predictions Todd Burlage: Notre Dame 24, Michigan 20 Michigan has lost only four home games since head coach Jim Harbaugh took over the program in 2015, and those are to rivals Michigan State (two) and Ohio State (two). Irish become the latest thorn. Vince DeDario: Notre Dame 31, Michigan 24 As much as I feel like Notre Dame is the superior team in all aspects of this game, there is something about Michigan Stadium that affects the Irish. This one is closer than it should be. Andrew Mentock: Notre Dame 31, Michigan 9 With Michigan's beat-up defensive front seven, the Irish get off to an early lead running the ball, take a raucous Wolverine crowd out of the game and never look back. Michigan, on the other hand, continues to struggle to move the ball on offense and never finds the end zone. Mike Singer: Notre Dame 17, Michigan 10 A highly competitive, low-scoring contest. Michigan's offense has looked awful at times this season, and Notre Dame's defense should have no problem keeping the Wolverines' attack at bay. The Irish will do enough on offense to pull off the road win. Lou Somogyi: Notre Dame 23, Michigan 20 My preseason Notre Dame pick was 10-2 with the losses at Georgia and not sweeping the back- to-back games against USC and Michigan. This feels hypocritical because I picked the Irish in both. Sometimes you go with the heart.

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