Notre Dame yanked its starting quarterback after one mediocre half Saturday against South Florida. It committed five turnovers, three of which came in the red zone. And the Fighting Irish gave away 73 yards on eight penalties.
All of this coming in front of a friendly home crowd.
Things certainly won't get easier this weekend in Ann Arbor, Mich. Not against a rival that has handed the Irish crushing last-second defeats the past two seasons. Not with ESPN's "College GameDay" in town. And not with the winningest program in college football history hosting its first-ever night game.
But I saw enough good in Notre Dame five days ago to make me think this weekend will be different. For one, the Irish offense put up 508 yards against a defense superior to Michigan's. And it did so with two different quarterbacks, something that (we think) shouldn't be a problem this weekend with Tommy Rees in the fold.
Denard Robinson will get his. He always does. But I expect Notre Dame's defense to hang on just enough to support the Rees-led offense and come out on the winning end of a rivalry that has ended with Irish heartbreak all-too-often in recent years.
Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Michigan 27