10. November 2006 · Comments Off on Irish Prevail over Bumbling Wolverines 2005 · Categories: Archive 2005, College Coaches, Notre Dame

First clever ND drive, poor Henne play stop #3 Blue
There were certainly a lot of questions going into the annual rematch with Notre Dame. The Irish were coming off a decisive win over ranked Pitt, and Michigan’s defense showed some holes in their win over Northern Illinois. But in one of the most baffling performances in recent times, the Wolverines stepped on themselves leading to their first home loss since 2002.

To show you how dumbfounding this game was, check out the table below. To the left, the conventional wisdom on the street before kick-off. To the right, what actually happened during the game. Some of the pre-game hype was validated, but most left you scratching your head:

Pre-game conventional wisdom/What Actually happened

The game would be a shoot-out. The over/under was just around 60 points.
Both offenses struggled for the most part, in the 17-10 score.

The Notre Dame win over Pitt was meaningless. On Friday night Pitt lost to Ohio.
Notre Dame scored at will against Pitt and moved the ball right down the field in one of the most impressive opening drives witnessed in Michigan stadium (12 plays, no third downs!). That said, the Pitt game wasn’t meaningless – Notre Dame has talent.

Notre Dame couldn’t stop Michigan’s brilliant offense
Notre Dame stopped Michigan’s offense several times, never really giving a long drive. And the great Michigan offense looked terrible, led by the inexplicable bumbling by Chad Henne.

Chad Henne is on his way to be the best quarterback in Michigan history. “Pro scouts are salivating over him”.
Sports radio callers after the game were referring to the sophomore QB as “Chad Navarre”. It was one of the worst, mistake-filled game by a QB. Speaking of Navarre, he missed receivers and had balls blocked quite often. But the combination of fumbles, battled balls, poor throws, interceptions and overall poor play made this one for the ages. It was awful.

#3 ranked Michigan was overrated.
This one was correct, perhaps understated.

Coach Weis and the Irish would expose Michigan’s terrible defense.
It looked like it would go that way after the first drive, but overall, Michigan’s defense kept them in the game and really played well. After things started to turn M’s way you thought we might be seeing another Minnesota/Michigan State-like comeback, but it was not to be. Henne couldn’t do anything.

Michigan has a shot to get to the 2006 Rose Bowl, the BCS National championship.
HA! No chance. And Notre Dame’s schedule is way too tough to expect to see the Irish there. At this point, you have to be concerned as a Michigan fan. With road games against Wisconsin and Michigan State, you have to wonder whether M will return home 2-3.

Here’s why maybe we shouldn’t be so concerned:– Henne has played well if not exceptional in every game up to now. Could this be a fluke? Was Henne sick/injured/rattled?

– Michigan’s offense is centered around its offense line. The line had to be shuffled several times including a new center. Henne didn’t have a lot of time.

– The Blue has lost in September 6 out of the past 7 years, now 7 of 8. They’ve won 3 Big Ten titles in that time period.

– Not many people note that Mike Hart went down. If you don’t understand Hart’s value, you didn’t watch the games last year. Kevin Grady did fine in his absence with the exception of the fumbles. Hart is a great runner and they’ll need him back full strength. I found this picture on Notre Dame’s official site, I think this might actually be the play which Hart got injured. Rumor is that it is a hamstring.

– The offense isn’t as bad as it showed, they just didn’t execute. On the bright side, if the defense plays that well they will contend.

– The Irish got lucky. They did – see the photo above – that touchdown should have been picked or at least batted down.

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