Sunday, October 27, 2019

Green’s five takeaways from Michigan’s 45-14 win over Notre Dame

Photo Credit: Tony Ding- Associated Press

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

In what felt like a never-ending downpour on a fall Saturday night, the No. 19 Michigan Wolverines (6-2, 4-2 Big Ten East) showered the No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-2) with a relentless run attack in a 45-14 win at Michigan Stadium. Here are my five takeaways for CSO.

1) Runaway child, runaway wild for the Wolverines:

With torrential downpours for the majority of the game, Michigan’s run game picked the best time for its best performance of the season as it did not commit a fumble for the first time all season. The minimal mistakes led to 303 of Michigan’s 437 total yards on the ground, highlighted by Hassan Haskins’ career-high 149 yards on 20 carries.

Haskins delivered notable runs of 49 and 25, which helped set up a field goal and a touchdown, respectively for Michigan.

Zach Charbonnet rushed for a pair of touchdown runs, while Tru Wilson added another as fans showered the freshman with chants of Tru and wet, yellow towels being showered his way.

2) Ice cold for Notre Dame’s run game:

The Fighting Irish came into Saturday’s game as one of the more explosive run offenses in the FBS, but the Wolverines’ defense had other plans holding them to 47 yards on 31 carries. Michigan defensive back Josh Metellus knew the predictability of Notre Dame’s offense with the wet weather giving them even more ammunition to attack.

“The type of offense [Notre Dame] runs, they try to stick to the same script and don’t like going outside of the frame. We knew coning in that they watched teams previously and see what would work against us,” Metellus said.

Notre Dame’s Tony Jones, Jr came into Saturday’s game as one of the top running backs in the FBS with 7.0 yards per carry and three consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Michigan’s defense had other plans for the junior being held to a season-low 14 yards on eight carries, before exiting the game in the second quarter with a cartilage injury.

3) Monkey off the back of Michigan for now:

One of the bigger criticisms of the Jim Harbaugh tenure at Michigan has been its inability to win big games. The Wolverines under Harbaugh’s watch dropped their previous eight games before defeating the eighth-ranked Irish on Saturday night.

While the Notre Dame win is significant, Harbaugh will ultimately be judged on Nov. 30 against Ohio State and is a major reason as to why the fifth-year coach was brought to Ann Arbor in the first place.

4) 14 reasons for Michigan to brag after Saturday’s win:

When the majority of releases come out about future non-conference opponent scheduling, usually they are within a three to seven-year gap before the schools play. Consider Saturday’s announcement to be the exception as Notre Dame and Michigan will resume its series on Sept. 3, 2033 in Ann Arbor and Sept. 2, 2034 in South Bend.

Unless the schools meet in a bowl or New Year’s Six game within the 14-year gap, the stoppage of the Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry will be a blow for not only the Midwest region, but all of college football. 

“It’s a feeling I know I will remember forever. I was so happy to be a part of that especially after last year when it left a sour taste in our mouths,” Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson said.

5) Notre Dame and the College Football Playoff go their separate ways for this season:

Any strain of hopes for the Irish to make a return to the College Football Playoff for another season went out the window with the loss at Michigan on Saturday.

Even if they were to have won Saturday and run the table the rest of the way, its schedule was not elite, compared to other top-tier teams, which puts their New Year’s Six hopes in serious jeopardy.

If Notre Dame were to win its final five games, fans will travel, but maybe it is time to give another school who might finish in a similar spot (Baylor and Minnesota come to mind) with less exposure the opportunity on the big stage.

But let’s see what Virginia Tech, Duke, Navy, Boston College and Stanford have to say in the coming weeks.