One of the most tenuous rivalries returns to the gridiron on Saturday night in South Bend as the Michigan Wolverines travel south to face Notre Dame. Both teams have playoff aspirations and desperately need a win on Saturday to avoid an early season loss and pressure to win out the rest of the season to keep that dream alive.
Michigan fans are still trying to rid that memory of the 31-0 thrashing they faced in 2014, the last time these two teams met. Notre Dame wants to build off of a 10-3 season and catapult itself back into the national limelight. At home, Notre Dame is a -1 favorite in the renewal of this rivalry.
Michigan will once again be able to rely on one of the top defenses in the nation. Anchored by one of the top defensive linemen in the country, Rashan Gary,the Wolverine defense returns nine starters from a unit that led the nation in pass defense a year ago.
Gary and linebacker Devin Bush are both preseason All-Americans who will look to keep Notre Dame away from their bread and butter, the running game, and into obvious passing situations. The offense is led by Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson, who threw for over 2,200 yards and 17 touchdowns before an injury shut him down last year.
Michigan has always relied on the bruising running game, but now they have a quarterback who can make plays down field and also with his legs if protection breaks down. The ground game will feature a returning two-headed monster of Karan Higdon (994 yards and 11 touchdowns) and Chris Evans (842 total yards and 7 touchdowns).
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame returns quarterback Brandon Wimbush under center in 2018. Wimbush accounted for 1,870 yards passing and 803 yards on the ground in 2017 while totaling 30 total touchdowns. Questions remain about Wimbush’s ability to pass the ball from the pocket if faced in obvious passing situations but make no mistake, Notre Dame is a run-first team.
A key for Notre Dame is how well the offensive line, without NFLers Quinton Nelson and Mike McGlinchy, can hold up against the formidable front of the Wolverines. On defense, the Irish have a very fast linebacking corps built around Te’Von Coney and Drue Tranquill that will attempt to get in Patterson’s face but are completely comfortable dropping in coverage as well.
All-American corner Julian Love has the ability to completely shut down whoever it is lining up against him. Michigan’s defense has and will continue to get all the headlines, but do not sleep on Notre Dame’s unit.
Pick and Predictions
I expect a bruising battle between the trenches with neither team able to establish a solid running game. That will stress the quarterbacks into making plays with their arms. Michigan’s defensive line will be able to prevent Wimbush from escaping the pocket and running for long gains, making him more of a passer than a runner in this game.
Shea Patterson will skillfully manage the game and lead Michigan to a 23-17 victory in South Bend. Take Michigan +1 over Notre Dame at YouWager for College Football.
Michigan vs Notre Dame Predictions and Odds (Wolverines vs Fighting Irish Picks – September 1, 2018)
Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Fighting Irish Predictions, Picks and Odds for their College Football showdown on September 1, 2018 from Notre Dame Stadium. Direct from Las Vegas, WagerTalk.com TV host Kelly Stewart, Marco D’Angelo and Bryan Leonard look at the Vegas odds and give their college football expert picks and predictions on the matchup between Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Current Vegas college football odds have Michigan favored by 2 over Notre Dame (updated Michigan Wolverines vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish College Football Odds from Vegas).
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