Michigan and Notre Dame will face for the off for the 39th time. Michigan leads the series 22-15-1.
This will be the first time the game will held under the lights at Michigan Stadium since it opened in 1927.
Here are five reasons to watch the Michigan Wolverines play in the Big House open under the lights against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish:
No. 1: It’s History!
First, it is under the lights! This has never happened in Michigan history.
College Gameday will even be there to cover the game, and it’s the first primetime matchup between these teams since 1990.
Watching the Maize and Blue come out of the tunnel and hit the banner will be a sight to see when Brady Hoke leads the Wolverines onto the field to face the Fighting Irish led by Brian Kelly.
Finaly, you won’t want to miss Michigan and Notre Dame as they are going back and wearing throwback uniforms.
Michigan players will have their numbers on their winged helmets, and Notre Dame will wear a large shamrock both for the first time since the 1960’s.
No. 2: It’s a Rivalry!
Even when they are not good, people watch these teams.
It is the winningest college football program (Michigan), going up against their rival, the third winningest program in college football (Notre Dame). The schools are also one and two respectively in winning percentage as well.
The teams first played in 1887. Michigan won the first eight games, before the Irish finally won in 1909. Then the teams did play again until 1942, where Michigan beat the No. 1 ranked Irish at the time. The teams did not play again until 1978 after that.
These two teams always play up until the last second, and last year was no different as Denard Robinson struck a Heisman pose after running for 258 yards, two touchdowns, and passing for 244 yards, and a touchdown.
No. 3: Michigan Has a Chance to Make Notre Dame 0-2
After Notre Dame lost 23-20 to South Florida, the Fighting Irish fell out of the rankings and need a win to avoid starting the season 0-2.
Michigan won last week in cruising fashion over Western Michigan, 34-10, in only three quarters after play was suspended due to weather.
Michigan hopes to knock its rivals to 0-2 and boost itself into the Top 25.
The Wolverines looked good last week. They came out slow, then fought back and the tipped pass by Jake Ryan and subsequent interception by Brandon Herron for a touchdown was a huge momentum swing for the team.
On what to work on, Brady Hoke said, “Number one, I’ll start on the kicking game. Our kickoff coverage was not even close to where we need to have it. I thought kicking the ball itself, we got one PAT blocked, and we need to be stouter in the middle. I think (Brendan) Gibbons did a nice job, and I think Matt Wile did a nice job on the punts and the kickoffs. But I think defensively, we’ve got some things we need to shore up. We need to shore up where we are on the support when they want to run the ball outside and some things inside. We’ve got to be able to get pressure if we’ve got a three- or four-man rush too.”
Hoke thought Denard Robinson was in control and said that it was huge that he did not turn the ball over at all.
No. 4: The Stakes are high.
The stakes are high for both teams.
If Notre Dame loses, its BCS hopes are more than likely crushed. If Michigan loses, it’s one less quality win that might boost its confidence and rankings. Plus, it could then go on a winning streak going into a tough Big Ten.
The Irish are switching quarterbacks from Dayne Crist to Tommy Rees after Crist was injured against USF last week.
I have to wonder: If the Irish let B.J. Daniels throw for 128 yards and touchdown, and rush for 37 yards, how they will handle Denard Robinson?
For the Wolverines, the key will be playing defense. Greg Mattison and Brady Hoke had the defense improved, except on that first drive where they let Western Michigan’s Alex Carder go 8 for 8.
Jordan Kovacs had 10 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup, Jake Ryan tipped a pass for Brandon Herron’s interception, and then Herron’s fumble return gave the Wolverines momentum to stop Western Michigan.
However, the Irish are bit better on offense. Rees comes in for quarterback, and Michael Floyd will present a big receiving target for the Wolverines to deal with.
Denard Robinson, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Michael Shaw and Vincent Smith rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns. That was only for three quarters, so it makes you wonder how many they can rush for in a full game.
Robinson threw for another 98 yards.
That is Michigan football. Pounding the ball, and playing hard-nosed defense.