What we learned from Notre Dame's 28-24 loss to Michigan in South Bend on Saturday:
1. Crist or bust: Everyone suspected as much, but confirmation came on Saturday. Notre Dame can't win, at least not early on this season against good competition, with Dayne Crist out of the lineup. Tommy Rees and Nate Montana just don't look capable of playing quarterback at this level yet. Brian Kelly is a master at getting quarterbacks up to speed, but the difference Crist makes was painfully obvious against Michigan. His blurred-vision problem was scary, and if that recurs or something else happens, the Irish will be hurting.
2. Killer instinct still lacking: How many years in a row does it seem like Notre Dame has been losing big games because it couldn't make one last defensive stop? Granted, it seems nearly impossible for anyone at this point to stop Denard Robinson, who led the game-winning touchdown drive and ran into the end zone for the last of his 502 yards. But the Irish had shut out Robinson and the Wolverines in the second half until that final drive, and they just couldn't close the deal. They showed resiliency in roaring back from a 21-7 halftime deficit, yet not enough toughness at the end. When Kelly talks about building an identity for this team, that's a large part of what he means.
3. Notre Dame needs Denard Robinson to graduate: If Robinson continues to play like this, it's going to be a major headache for Notre Dame to try and defend the sophomore sensation for the next year or two. Robinson accounted for all but 30 of his team's yardage. It sounds simple, but the biggest lesson from Saturday was that Notre Dame just couldn't stop one guy.