Notre Dame is heading to the Big House to play Michigan for their seventh game of the season. The Irish hit the road this weekend for the third time. They started their season on the road with a win over Louisville, and lost their second road game to Georgia who was ranked 3rd at the time. The 19th ranked Wolverines are the third ranked team to play Notre Dame this year. The Irish played ranked opponents back to back in the aforementioned Georgia Bulldogs and the Virginia Cavaliers who were ranked 18th at the time. This may be the biggest remaining game for Notre Dame. As it stands right now the Irish have no remaining ranked opponents on the schedule after Michigan.
Notre Dame enters this game with a record of 5-1 and sits squarely in the hunt for one of those top four spots to make the College Football Playoffs. For Michigan they come into this game with a record of 5-2. Their two previous losses were to ranked opponents on the road against Wisconsin and Penn State. The last time Michigan welcomed a ranked team to the Big House they beat Iowa 10-3.
Both teams lean on their defenses to control the game. Notre Dame currently ranks 15th in the county in points allowed per game. Michigan sits only a few spots behind them at 21st. When it comes to yards allowed per game Michigan ranks higher at 14th in the country. Notre Dame comes in at number 39.
Both teams are led by veteran quarterbacks. Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book has had an impressive first half of the season. He enters this game with over 1,400 yards passing, 14 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. Shea Patterson hasn’t been quite as consistent this year. Although he has more passing yards with over 1,500, he has less touchdowns with 9 and more interceptions with 4.
Both teams play in prime time for back to back games. The Irish have the advantage of having a bye week last week, giving them some extra time to rest and prepare for Michigan. With no more ranked teams left on the schedule for Notre Dame this will be an important game for the Irish to prove they are worthy of a spot in the College Football Playoffs.