Notre Dame closed out its series with Michigan by making a statement to the Wolverines and the rest of college football. The Irish dominated on both sides of the ball on route to a 31-0 dismantling of Brady Hoke’s Michigan team. Notre Dame’s team speed was a glaring advantage over the Wolverines and it allowed the Irish defense to be aggressive leading to the first shutout of Michigan since 1984. The Irish offense also showed great balance and put long drives together limiting Michigan’s number of plays offensively. Kyle Brindza also allowed the Irish to control the field position battle which left Michigan having to navigate the whole field, which they couldn’t do. The following players are some of the many that stood out in the victory:
Amir Carlisle: Converted slot receiver Amir Carlisle played his best game in a Notre Dame uniform Saturday. The California native tallied seven receptions for 61 yards and two touchdowns versus the Wolverines. Several of Carlisle’s catches were key grabs to keep drives alive on third down or were very difficult to make up against the sideline. The former running back was an excellent complement to Will Fuller who was a focal point in the game plan as the Irish wanted to attack Wolverines corner Blake Countess.
Everett Golson: When the Irish win quarterback Everett Golson will likely have played well as he did against Michigan. Golson struggled in 2012 in his first outing against the Wolverines but redeemed himself this time around. The Irish signal-caller threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns while completing passes to seven different receivers. Most importantly Golson did not turn the ball over, which is always crucial.
Jaylon Smith: Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith continues to pile big game on top of big game. The sophomore is the best illustration of the type of speed the Irish are recruiting on defense as he can make a play anywhere on the field. The Indiana native totaled 10 tackles versus Michigan which was tied for the team lead and also recorded a tackle for loss. Smith was also crucial to keeping Devin Gardener in the pocket and even helped to cover Devin Funchess on occasion.
Sheldon Day: Captain Sheldon Day is living up to his role as a leader of the Irish defense. Day has a world-class motor and uses it to be disruptive in both the run and the pass game. The junior had five tackles versus Michigan but also had a team-high four quarterback hurries that caused Devin Gardener to make mistakes. Day simply could not be blocked by Michigan as his quickness was too much for the interior of the Wolverines offensive line.