Notre Dame and Michigan will play only the second night game at the Big House on Saturday.Notre Dame and Michigan will play the final scheduled meeting between the teams at the Big House Saturday night (8 ET on ESPN/WatchESPN). They still have one more meeting next year in South Bend.
Here are five storylines to know heading into the game.
1. Since taking over as the starter for Michigan on Nov. 3, 2012, Devin Gardner has posted the second-highest Total QBR on third down (98.3) and the third-highest in the red zone (98.1) of any player with at least 30 action plays.
Devin Gardner in Red Zone
Since Nov. 1
Last week against Central Michigan, the Wolverines scored five touchdowns in six red-zone trips, including all four times when Gardner was on the field.
Since taking over as starter, Michigan has scored 19 touchdowns in 22 trips to the red zone. In that time, Gardner has scored a touchdown on more than half of his 15 rushes inside the red zone.
2. Tommy Rees has completed 57 percent of his passes thrown 20 yards or longer in the last two seasons, 19 percentage points higher than Everett Golson. Rees had two touchdowns on such passes in Week 1 vs. Temple, both going to DaVaris Daniels.
Rees had a career-high seven completions that gained 20 yards or more against the Owls. That’s the most by a Notre Dame quarterback since Jimmy Clausen had seven in 2009 against Washington.
Michigan has allowed six touchdowns and has no interceptions on passes thrown 20 yards or longer since the start of last season. The Wolverines and Utah are the only two AQ defenses that do not have an interception on such passes.
Notre Dame Red-Zone Defense
Last 2 Seasons
3. Notre Dame did not allow a rushing touchdown last season until Week 8 and entered the BCS National Championship having conceded two rushing touchdowns in 33 red-zone trips.
Since, the Fighting Irish have allowed three rushing touchdowns in eight red-zone drives, including a 1-yard touchdown against Temple in Week 1.
4. Michigan has yet to lose at home under Brady Hoke (15-0), going undefeated at the Big House in each of the last two seasons (5-7 in road/neutral games). Hoke is the first Michigan coach to go undefeated at home in his first two seasons since Fielding Yost in 1901-02.
But only one of Hoke’s 15 home games have come against a ranked team: 2011 vs No. 17 Nebraska.
5. If the Irish want to win, avoiding turnovers is a good start. Notre Dame is 11-0 under Brian Kelly in games in which it was turnover-free.
In games Notre Dame committed a turnover under Kelly, they are 18-11.