Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 16, 2013 Issue

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

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Page 40 of 106

on paper revisited Michigan Running Game Vs. Notre Dame Run Defense Other than one play, the Fighting Irish defense did a fine job against running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, limiting him to 71 yards on 22 carries, or a meager 3.2 yards per rush. His 22-yard burst off a sharp cutback on the final scoring drive was the exception. However, Notre Dame's Achilles heel on defense is mobile quarterbacks. One week after Temple's Connor Reilly ran for 65 yards on 12 carries, Michigan's By lou somogyi Devin Gardner (13 carries for 82 yards) significantly hurt the Irish with the read option, ad-lib scrambling and extending the play. A double reverse to wideout Jeremy Gallon gained 14 yards and helped set up Michigan's first score. The Wolverines finished with 166 yards rushing, and anything more than 150 from a conventional prostyle offense against Notre Dame is a strong effort. Advantage: Michigan Michigan Passing Game Vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense Notre Dame had good penetration, with or without blitzes, on numerous occasions but repeatedly came up just short on finishing a potential sack, with a lot of credit to Gardner's patience in the pocket and ability to extend the play. Senior nose guard Louis Nix III provided much push in the middle, but the Irish had only one sack and three QB hurries to show for it. Other than forcing a pass out of his end zone that resulted in a diving interception for a touchdown by junior defensive end Stephon Tuitt, Gardner controlled the contest while averaging a stellar 8.9 yards per his 33 attempts. Diminutive wideout Jeremy Gallon (eight receptions for 184 yards and three touchdowns) repeatedly made the backbreaking catches, especially when he evaded about four would-be tacklers on his 61-yard touchdown. Three Irish pass-interference calls on third down, two in the end zone, were devastating. Advantage: Michigan Notre Dame Running Game Vs. Michigan Run Defense Michigan cornerback Blake Countess had a pair of interceptions, including the game-sealing pick in the end zone off a deflection on a first-and-goal play with 1:29 remaining. Photo by Lon Horwedel Junior Amir Carlisle (12 carries for 64 yards) might be developing into Notre Dame's lead back, especially with his quick bursts into the middle, but the Irish never established rhythm with the ground attack, passing 53 times while running only 19 times, a ratio not preferred. In short-yardage and red-zone situations, Notre Dame's identity and comfort level hinges much more

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