Rain King

So long Notre Dame. See you in 5,060 days.

Photo: Zoey Holmstrom
I like playing Notre Dame. The history between these two schools can't be reproduced. The games, the names, and the lore. Second to none in non-conference play, I'd wager. Michigan versus Notre Dame is the essence of what is best about college football.

But I don't like what the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry has become.

I don't like that it always an automatic night game now. I don't like that modern CFB playoff era strategy says it doesn't make sense to play opponents like Notre Dame...or any team of significance for that matter. College Football wants more matchups like this – it needs it. But until strength of schedule moves the needle in the CFB postseason, matchups like this...marquee non-conference games which only penalize the loser far more than they reward the winner...will quickly fade away from the sport entirely.


Photo: Zoey Holmstrom
Saturday night in the Big House was all kinds of fun. There's just something about a game like this with weather like it was that makes it endlessly memorable for all of the right reasons. If you were there, you'll remember this game for the rest of your life...looking back with fond eyes at memories of the folks you were with, family and friends, soggy tailgates, muddy shoes and drenched clothes, and the spectacle of a massive, convincing blowout of a top-10 Notre Dame team.

Michigan plays this ND squad in a rain storm in week 1 or 2...they don't win like this. No way.

Michigan started to turn a corner as a program in the second half against Penn State a week ago, and continued that trajectory this week in this dominant performance versus the Irish. This wasn't a fluke. A win like this for Michigan – a complete dismantling of a very good team – isn't a flash in the pan. It's not a mediocre team having a great night against an unsuspecting opponent. This game that Michigan played...it was genuine. I'm here to tell you this was the real thing.

Michigan has it's flaws...they're well documented...but from the start on Saturday, this was a team that was ready to accept their past missteps and move forward. They're starting to believe in themselves and the path these coaches have set out for them.

For reasons unknown to everyone and probably even the players themselves, whatever happened at halftime in Happy Valley two weeks ago, Michigan has turned a corner as a team and as a program. I'm not going to say a win against Ohio State is eminent...they might need to turn another corner before that happens...but it's clicking, it's working...and this team is heading quickly in a new direction.

303 to 47. The rushing totals for Michigan and Notre Dame. It's really that simple.

From the start, Michigan set the tone that they were not going to let the rain affect their ability to dominate this game. I don't know if Michigan wins like this in dry conditions, but I would like to think they would. They were just dominant along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball from the get go.

Defensively, Michigan shut down running lanes for the Irish, forcing Book to pass in driving rain and windy conditions. By the time his receivers could wiggle free of the man coverage, the pocket had collapsed and Book was forced to scramble or he would just chuck it up and pray. Jordan Glasgow, Cam McGrone, Aidan Hutchinson and the rest of the Michigan defensive front made life miserable for a Notre Dame offense that just had no answers for Michigan's endlessly aggressive attack.

For Michigan, a 303 yard rushing performance was sparked by dominant blocking up front and inspired running from Hassan Haskins (149 yards) and Zach Charbonnet (74 yards). In a game where weather forced both offenses to be one-dimensional, Michigan, unexpectedly, thrived.

The PI on Khaleke Hudson was absolute garage and everyone knew it. It ultimately led to the only 7 points for Notre Dame that really mattered, to cut Michigan's lead for a short while to 10 points. What can I say? Head referee John O'Neill everyone!


Not really so much odd, but unfortunate I suppose. The towels handed out to students and fans before the game were not meant to be projectiles. But when you take one really bad call, a raucous crowd, and wet towels...well, you do the math.

Safe to say the towel giveaway will not be coming back any time soon.

Inject this directly into my veins...
HSR: Never Let You Go
There were so many electric moments in the game that if you surveyed 25 random Michigan fans, it's possible to conceive of getting 25 different answers, largely based on what they value. Perhaps the Haskins hurdle is your flavor, maybe the relentless Spanellis pancake into the nether regions of the Notre Dame sideline made you smile, maybe Shea getting the ball out a split second before getting crushed and finding DPJ in the end zone on a crucial "stanch the bleeding" moment that allowed the rout to commence in earnest. Maybe it was Shea out lead blocking on the Tru Wilson touchdown that showed this team was not done. There are many others. Whatever it is, this game serves as a reminder to fans of three critical things: 1). While you may be disappointed that Michigan's major goals are now out of reach, this team is still playing hard for itself if no one else. That matters. 2). College football should not simply be about the playoff. There's too much weird, too much absurdity, too much fun to enjoy even if the goal of being "the best" is out of reach. 3). Winning does beat losing. Even if the Harbaugh narrative goalposts move again (and they will), this at least quiets those voices for a time.

Yeah, this tweet was funny. But it's not worthy of this rivalry. It only speaks to how far this matchup has fallen in the eyes of the folks at #1000SSS.

More MBN Notre Dame coverage: PreviewSTAT-OGame Photos

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