One of the more storied rivalries in College Football is going on hiatus, but the pain of being shutout for the first time (31-0) in 30 years again anyone will be remembered for a long time by anyone involved with the Michigan football program, putting immense pressure on Brady Hoke to turn things around. For Notre Dame, it’s a big boost of optimism carrying on with what should be a very tough season, enjoying the new and improved Everett Golson.
Golson didn’t go off on big runs like he did against Rice in the opening game, but had no problem spreading the ball around, completing 23-of-34 passes for 226 yards and three touchdown passes. Cam McDaniel added another touchdown on the ground, as things went quite swimmingly for Notre Dame, enjoying the awful offensive line Michigan put in front of Devin Gardner, looking a lot like Denard Robinson did during his final season at Ann Arbor, throwing three interceptions.
What does this mean for Hoke? Nothing good. Into his fourth season with Michigan, it seems the program has gone back each year. That might mean his recruiting has been awful and he enjoyed in 2011 the guys Rich Rodriguez brought in, but it might also say something about the development skills of him and his staff, because in terms of rankings, Michigan have been bringing in very good classes. In any case, things don’t look good for him.
We will bounce back. This is a very resilient, hard-working group of young men who know what it takes to win. Maybe we can run into one another in a playoff game. That would be great. Or who knows. Things can change over time. But I think for the foreseeable future, we’re going in two different directions.
Michigan lost its 11th consecutive road game against a ranked opponent. The last win came in 2006 against Notre Dame in South Bend. Hoke is 7-12 on the road since becoming the Michigan head coach. The shutout streak lasted 365 games and 30 years, the longest in College Football. Florida, with 323 games of not being shutout by their opponents, now hold the active record.
And as easy as it seemed for Golson and his receivers to put up points on the Michigan defense, the big story was how bad of a job the Michigan offensive line did against Jaylon Smith, Sheldon Day and the rest of the Notre Dame defense. Not just the constant throwing under pressure from Gardner, but Michigan gaining just 100 yards on 35 carries, 2.9 per rush. This is the 7th time over the last three years that they’ve been held to just 100 yards (or less) rushing, losing on all seven instances.
There’s a feeling that a part of College Football history is ending with this rivalry not scheduled to continue any time soon. Ohio State have two games in the future with Notre Dame, something that stands out considering the rivalries between all those involved. Notre Dame don’t have the upper hand overall in the series (24-17-1 in Michigan’s favor) but have the sweet taste of the last game, and knowing that right now, their future is in much better hands.