Michigan Football and Notre Dame will square off tonight in South Bend, here are three things to watch from a Wolverines’ perspective. After months of waiting and counting down the days, the season opener for Michigan football against Notre Dame is finally upon us. Well, we are just hours away now.
The hype machine surrounding this game and this season for Michigan football has been working overtime. Many are picking the Wolverines to make the playoffs or win the Big Ten. However, most Michigan fans just want to see their team beat another good team. That’s step one.
Before Michigan can even think about winning a Big Ten championship or competing for a playoff spot, it needs to beat good teams and win big games. This game definitely classifies as a big game and if Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines can beat Notre Dame, it will arguably be the biggest win during his tenure as head coach.
It will definitely be the best road win Michigan football has had in years and certainly the best under Harbaugh. Of course, even with a loss, UM will still have all of its goals in front of it. The Big Ten East won’t be won or lost Saturday night in South Bend.
However, the perception that Michigan is overrated and can’t win big games will persist and I for one am sick of that narrative. I am sick of experiencing it, writing about it and watching it. This team needs to perform on a big stage and that’s just one thing that bears watching when the Wolverines and Fighting Irish take the field tonight.
Utah State, like the Spartans, had a bounce-back 2017 — the Aggies doubled their win total from three to six. While they lost their bowl game, they do enter this season with sky-high expectations for themselves. Utah State is a sneaky-good team that could creep up on the Spartans.
The Aggies are coached by Matt Wells, who is entering his sixth season. Wells enjoyed some great success in 2013 and 2014 going 9-5 and 10-4. They have many returning starters, but some youth on both sides of the ball. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio enters the game with 100 wins and looking for one more.
The Spartans, on paper, have the advantage but as the cliche goes, games aren’t played on paper. Michigan State will need to bring its ‘A’ game in order to pull out a win.
Cody White was one of the talented wide receivers who saw some action in 2017 and he took advantage of it. He caught 25 passes for 356 yards, impressive for a true freshman.
At 6-foot-3, the former Mr. Football of Michigan has a bright future with the green and white. Senior wide out Felton Davis III will draw the attention from the defensive backs of USU, and that will enable White to have a stellar game.
White broke out in against Northwestern with a nine-catch, 165-yard performance last season. He proved he could be the go-to receiver for the Spartans but he also could be the heir apparent to Davis III after he graduates.
I anticipate that White will look to establish himself more in the passing. Also, he has more of an understanding of the offense. Look for him to catch a touchdown and go for over 100 yards receiving.