Saturday, September 7, 2013
Reaction to Michigan's 41-30 win over Notre Dame
Michigan got a big win at home Saturday night and Devin Gardner got a marquee win as starting quarterback of the Wolverines under his belt.
He almost let the game get away from him, but composed himself and helped lead the offense to finish the job in the fourth quarter.
There is reason for optimism at Michigan. It is now 2-0 and looking at a schedule that should allow the Wolverines to be 7-0 heading into the home stretch of the season.
The offense was great, racking up 460 yards of offense on Notre Dame. The Wolverines consistently moved the ball down the field and Devin Gardner took a step forward as a quarterback while Jeremy Gallon further improved his status as a playmaker.
Gardner finished with 294 yards and four touchdowns on 21 of 33 passing while rushing for 82 yards on 13 carries and a score. Gardner also overcame a bad situation in the game. Up 14 in the third quarter, he made a poor decision by trying to extend a play when it wasn’t necessary. He could have taken a sack and the game would have been in Michigan’s control, but instead he ran backwards into the end zone. From there, instead of take the safety that was inevitable, he tried to heave the ball away while being hit, but it ended up being caught by the Irish in the end zone for a touchdown, completely changing the complexion of the game.
Had Notre Dame went on to win and Gardner folded from that point forward, it could have changed the whole dynamic of the season and his career. Instead, he bounced back and threw another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
Gallon had a tremendous game, catching eight passes for 184 yards. He made play after play for Gardner. Some were ad-libbed, and some were not. He is clearly establishing himself as a top receiver in the Big Ten.
Where Michigan can be somewhat concerned is on defense. The Wolverines gave up 410 yards to Notre Dame, including 314 passing yards. Michigan had plenty of chances to keep Notre Dame from staying in this game, but the defense just couldn’t get the stops.
Michigan isn’t going to face any powerful offenses for at least a month, so the Wolverines have time to fix the problems, but Michigan will certainly face better offenses than Notre Dame as the season progresses. The Wolverines found themselves getting pushed around up front later in the contest. It could have been fatigue, but it’s something that will have to be addressed.
All-in-all, it was a good night for Michigan and a big win on national television.
Michigan and Michigan State are both 2-0, but both fan bases have to feel drastically different about the state of their current teams.