Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

No. 8 Notre Dame Preparing For A Deep Michigan Team

October 21, 2019

Ann Arbor will host a primetime matchup between No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 19 Michigan on Saturday night. 

The Big House will be rocking as Notre Dame brings in an offense averaging 39.2 points while Michigan gives up 19.0 points per game. 

However, all eyes will be on the Michigan offense as the Wolverines have been up and down all year. 

It starts and ends with Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, who has completed 57.4 percent of his passes for 1,522 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions. 

"I thought Patterson probably had his best game of the year," Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly said of Patterson's game against Penn State. "He's tough. He's gritty. He's accurate when he throws the football. He can run it.

"I think he throws a very catchable football and he's got big, physical receivers that will obviously go up and get the football for him." 

While Patterson the key to the game, Michigan's run game will potentially be a close second. 

Freshman Zach Charbonnet leads the Wolverines with 457 yards (4.9 ypc) and seven touchdowns while sophomore Hassan Haskins has rushed for 217 yards and one score. 

"The freshman Zach Charbonnet has done a really nice job for them coming in as a true freshman," stated Kelly. "They're very consistent in what they do." 

Notre Dame just faced the best receiving corps they'll see all year in USC, but Michigan isn't too far behind. 

Ronnie Bell leads Michigan with 24 receptions for 432 yards, while Nico Collins has reeled in 19 balls for 358 yards and two touchdowns. 

Two former Notre Dame targets also present the chance to be game-breakers as Tarik Black has caught 18 balls for 241 and one score. Donovan Peoples-Jones has recorded 17 catches for 175 yards and two scores in five games. 

"I think the receiving core, Collins, Black and Peoples-Jones. Big, physical, but I think Bell is really the playmaker for them. He's their best receiver, extremely competitive kid. Look to see him have a really big game. He's that kind of player for them." 

On defense, defensive coordinator Don Brown has been effective in just about every aspect in 2019. 

Michigan gives up 283 total yards per game and it starts on the defensive line. 

"We all know defensively they've been a high-effort group, especially the defensive line," explained Kelly. (Kwity) Paye, (Carlo) Kemp, (Aidan) Hutchinson, all great players, athletic, can pass rush, really good against the run." 

Notre Dame fans should be familiar with Michigan sophomore linebacker Cameron McGrone as he almost ended up in South Bend. 

McGrone has stepped in for the injured Josh Ross and has recorded 23 tackles over the last two weeks, which includes 3.5 sacks. 

"Linebackers, McGrone, we knew him very well in the recruiting process," Kelly said. (He) has stepped in for Ross and has played very, very well.

"I think Hudson is the guy really can play on all three levels," Really, really good player for them."

The defense gives up just 119.7 rushing yards per contest, but the pass defense is just as stout giving up 163.6 yards per game. 

On the defensive backfield a lot of experience with (Josh) Metellus and (Brad) Hawkins," said Kelly. "(Daxton) Hill is really, really good corner and we know (Ambry) Thomas very well from the recruiting process.

"Donnie Brown does a great job with them. Seems like their offense is really finding themselves in terms of their production. Should be a great matchup between two really good football teams."

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