The strong effort turned in by Michigan's defensive front seven was unfortunately overshadowed by Denard Robinson's carelessness with the football (Photo credit: Matt Cashore - US PRESSWIRE)
So, Michigan waltzed into South Bend and handed Notre Dame the game on a silver platter. What should Wolverine fans take from it?
Denard Robinson returned to his old ways
Michigan outran Notre Dame by a decent amount. They were one pass away from outdoing them in passing as well. So, how did Michigan lose? Simple: Robinson turned the ball over five times, each one as painful as the next. Four of the turnovers came in the form of Robinson interceptions, and every last one of them were a direct result of Robinson's poor decisions. His footwork was also horrific all game, and at this point what you see is what you get.
The running game is respectable
Michigan only averaged 3.9 yards per carry (41 attempts, 161 yards) but did so against a talented Notre Dame front. Robinson had room to work on a handful of zone plays and Toussaint found space a few times. It should have been one more than a few times, but a whistle from the stands stopped a play that looked like it was destined to go long.
The defense might be much better than initially advertised
Michigan's offense gave the ball to the Notre Dame offense six times and the defense still managed to hold the Irish to 15 first downs, allowing the Wolverines' offense to outdo the Irish by 60 yards. Notre Dame only completed a third of their third down attempts, and on top of that their running attack was slow all game, averaging only three yards per carry. Notre Dame doesn't field the most dangerous offense in college football but the fact that Michigan's defensive line played well against a decent Irish line is cause for optimism. Forcing two turnovers is a sign of improvements as well.
If Robinson can avoid turnovers this team will be a force
If Robinson can avoid turning the ball over at an alarming rate Michigan is going to be one of the best teams that a terrible Big Ten Conference has to offer. The defensive front seven is making strides, the offensive line is playing well and the coordinators seem to have the team figured out. The Wolverines will undoubtedly live and die on the arm of Denard Robinson against respectable opponents.
So, in short: stop turning the ball over and Michigan is a formidable opponent to anyone in the conference.