Notre Dame prepares for visit from Michigan

Bob Wieneke
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND -- Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly rattled off a number of aspects he was pleased with from his team's 48-17 season-opening win over Rice last Saturday, among them effort, field position, turnover margin, special teams and yards per-play.

This week's opponent, though, isn't Rice. Long-time rival Michigan visits Notre Dame Stadium Saturday night for the last meeting between the teams for the foreseeable future. Both teams enterrat 1-0.

"There's a lot of things we've got to get better at," Kelly said Tuesday during his weekly press conference. "I think we all know the kind of game we're going to play here. Each team knows the other very well."

Michigan leads the all-time series 24-16-1, including a 41-30 victory last yea. In last season's game, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns, and added 82 yards and a touchdown on the ground in the Wolverines' 41-30 victory in Ann Arbor.

Wide receiver Devin Funchess, who made the move from tight end, caught seven passes for 95 yards and three touchdowns in Michigan's 52-14 win over Appalachian State last week.

Kelly said that wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr., who has been out four weeks with a groin tear, will run some individual drills today as he continues to recover ahead of schedule in what is typically a 4-6 week recovery time. Kelly also is seeing significant progress with injured linebacker Jarrett Grace. Grace broke his leg last October and has been sidelined since. Grace, according to Kelly, is not at 100 percent now but he believes the senior could be in a few weeks.

Saturday night's game kicks off at 7:42 p.m. (Eastern), the only night game at ND Stadium this season. Notre Dame is 8-2 all-time in home night games, including 4-0 against Michigan.

"Certainly for me it's an exciting game," Kelly said, "one that gets everybody's attention."

• Kelly said there is no update on the five players -- CB KeiVarae Russell, WR DaVaris Daniels, DE Ishaq Williams, LB Kendall Moore and S Eilar Hardy -- who are not allowed to practice or play because they are involved in the school's academic fraud investigation.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly talks to the media during a media day press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)