MICHIGAN TAKES ON NOTRE DAME IN ROAD OPENER
Michigan and Notre Dame will meet on the gridiron for the 42nd time Saturday in what is the last scheduled matchup between the two historical powers. Both teams enter the game with a 1-0 record after Michigan defeated Appalachian State, 52-14, and Notre Dame beat Rice, 48-17.
The Wolverines lead the all-time series with the Fighting Irish, 24-16-1, including a 9-9-1 mark in South Bend, and have won three of the last four meetings.
U-M is one of only 13 teams that have a winning record against Notre Dame, and the Wolverines' eight-win edge in the series is the highest win differntial in any of those series.
Saturday's matchup will mark the fourth for head coach Brady Hoke against the Fighting Irish. Coach Hoke is 2-1 all-time against Notre Dame, including last season's 41-30 victory at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan broke the school's single-game total offense yards-per-play record in the season-opening victory vs. Appalachian State with an average of 10.18 yards per play, breaking the previous standard of 9.05 yards per play set in 1996 vs. Minnesota and matched in 2013 vs. Indiana.
Michigan broke the program's single-game rushing average record in the season-opening win vs. Appalachian State. The Wolverines averaged 9.72 yards per carry, gaining 350 yards on 36 attempts, to break the previous record of 9.23 yards per carry set in 1992 vs. Iowa.
Michigan is a perfect 6-for-6 in the red zone this season and has scored a touchdown on 5-of-6 trips to the red zone (.800).
The Wolverines only had eight third-down plays vs. Appalachian State, the third-lowest single-game total in school history.
Michigan scored three touchdowns in a span stretching three minutes and 11 seconds during the second quarter vs. Appalachian State to turn a 14-0 lead with 3:59 remaining into a 35-0 advantage with 48 seconds left before halftime.
Michigan is one of eight teams in the NCAA to block a punt in week one. Redshirt freshman Mike McCray blocked an Appalachian State punt in the second quarter that sophomore Ben Gedeon returned 32 yards for a touchdown.
Michigan's team completion percentage of 84.2 ranks first in the Big Ten and third in the NCAA, and the team's 218.63 pass efficiency rating is third in the conference and fifth in the nation.
The Wolverine defense held Appalachian State to 74 yards of total offense in the first half, including just 11 yards passing. During the first half, Michigan ran 30 plays compared to 28 for Appalachian State with the Wolverines averaging 11.1 yards per play while holding the Mountaineers to an average of 2.6 yards per play.
Devin Gardner ranks first on Michigan's career passing efficiency rating list (152.4).
Over his last nine games, Gardner has thrown 17 touchdown passes and only three interceptions.
Gardner has accounted for at least two touchdowns in 15 of his last 18 games.
Gardner amassed 376 yards of total offense in Michigan's 41-30 victory over Notre Dame last season at Michigan Stadium. Gardner completed 21-of-33 passes for 294 yards and a career-best four touchdowns and also carried the ball 13 times for 82 yards and one touchdown against the Fighting Irish.
Receivers & Tight Ends
Devin Funchess is tied for first in the NCAA in touchdown receptions and is the only Big Ten receiver with three receiving touchdowns this season.
Funchess is tied for 1st in the Big Ten and for 5th in the country with 18 points scored.
Jehu Chesson, who hauled in two receptions for 22 yards in the season opener, has tallied a catch in three straight games dating back to last season.
Against Appalachian State, left tackle Mason Cole became the first true freshman in Michigan history to start a season opener on the offensive line.
Cole is the second true freshman in program history to start a game at tackle and sixth true freshman to start a game on the offensive line, joining Bubba Paris (1978), Tom Dixon (1980), Dean Dingman (1987), Justin Boren (2006) and Kyle Bosch (2013).
Against Appalachian State, sophomore right tackle Ben Braden made his first collegiate start.
Ryan Glasgow made his first collegiate start vs. Appalachian State, while defensive linemen Maurice Hurst Jr., Bryan Mone, Henry Poggi and Alex Mitropoulos-Rundus made their collegiate debuts against the Mountaineers.
Mike McCray made an immediate impact in his first collegiate game, blocking an Appalachian State punt late in the second quarter which resulted in a 32-yard touchdown by linebacker counterpart Ben Gedeon. The touchdown marked Michigan's first blocked punt return for a touchdown since Joe Reynolds scored against Central Michigan in the 2013 season opener.
Jeremy Clark and Jabrill Peppers earned their first collegiate starts vs. Appalachian State. Clark finished with three tackles and one pass breakup, while Peppers recorded two tackles in his first game as a Wolverine.
Blake Countess grabbed the first two interceptions of his collegiate career in Michigan's 41-30 victory over Notre Dame last season at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan/Notre Dame - Memorable Games
2011 - Michigan overtook Notre Dame in the final 30 seconds as quarterback Denard Robinson completed a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Roy Roundtree with two seconds remaining to give the Wolverines a 35-31 comeback victory in the first-ever night game at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 10, 2011. The lead changed three times in the final minute and a half of the contest, before U-M scored the go-ahead touchdown to end a 30-second, 80-yard drive.
2006 - Quarterback Chad Henne and wide receiver Mario Manningham connected on three first-half touchdowns as the 11th-ranked Wolverines soundly defeated 2nd-ranked Notre Dame 47-21 on Sept. 16, 2006 inside Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind.
1991 - Desmond Howard's memorable catch helped U-M earn a 24-14 victory at Notre Dame on Sept. 14, 1991. Leading 17-14 early in the fourth quarter, head coach Gary Moeller decided to go for it on a 4th-and-1 play. Quarterback Elvis Grbac launched the ball on a 25-yard pump-and-go pass to the end zone, and Howard dove for the deep pass, pulling the ball in the corner of the end zone to haul in one of the most famous touchdown catches in Michigan history.
Michigan-Notre Dame Connections
Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison spent eight seasons at Notre Dame (1997-2004).
Mattison was the team's defensive coordinator and alternated between coaching the linebackers and defensive line during his first five seasons (1997-2001). He served as the Fighting Irish's recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach during his final three seasons with the program (2002-04).
Mattison's daughter, Lisa, was a three-time All-Big East selection as a member of the Notre Dame softball team (2001-03).
Notre Dame outside linebackers coach Bob Elliott is the son of former Michigan head football coach Bump Elliott.
Fighting Irish defensive line coach Mike Elston played football at U-M from 1993-96 and began his coaching career as a student assistant for the Wolverines in 1997.
Michigan offensive lineman Blake Bars and Notre Dame offensive lineman Alex Bars are brothers.
Blake Bars' father, Joe, played linebacker for the Fighting Irish from 1981-84.
U-M tight end Jake Butt's grandfather, Bob Lally, won two national championships at Notre Dame as an offensive lineman and linebacker in the late 1940s.
Michigan offensive lineman Dan Samuelson is from Plymouth, Ind.
Notre Dame defensive lineman Jhonny Williams is from Benton Harbor, Mich.
Michigan wide receiver Amara Darboh and Notre Dame wide receiver Eric Lee both attended Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines, Iowa.
U-M defensive tackle Maurice Hurst Jr. and Notre Dame wide receiver Cam Bryan are both Westwood, Mass., natives and attended Xaverian Brothers High School.
Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers and Notre Dame safety Elijah Shumate are both East Orange, N.J., natives and attended Don Bosco Prep.
U-M defensive back Blake Countess and Notre Dame offensive lineman Sam Mustipher both attended Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Md.
Michigan wide receiver Bo Dever and Notre Dame cornerback Connor Cavalaris are both Lake Forest, Ill., natives and attended Lake Forest High School.