A few thoughts below:
Player of the Game: Amir Carlisle
This was the Amir Carlisle that Irish fans have been expecting since his arrival to South Bend. While Golson was his efficient self, Carlisle played out of his mind tonight and contributed on offense and on special teams. The Irish wide receiver caught 7 balls for 61 yards and a pair of scores and added 16 yards on Michigan's only kickoff.
Stop Gardner, Stop Michigan
Despite the NBC announcer's going ga-ga over Devin Funchess (face it, he's just a tight end with speed and we have a lot of those), the Michigan offense runs around the efficiency of Devin Gardner. With his elusiveness and escapability, he can be a threat to make plays. Tonight, the Irish defense effectively shut him down more than they did against Driphus Jackson last week. Gardner was a horrific 18-29 for 178 yards with no scores, 3 picks (one being the Shumate pick 6) and a lost fumble. The Irish brought various types of pressure and Irish Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder kept him guessing the entire night.
Special Teams were special again
I'll leave it to Punter Bro to break down everything that happened in this department, but the Irish special teams units are clearly better than last season. Outside of Cody Riggs' fumble on a first half punt return and some sloppy returns in the 2nd half, the Irish special teams clearly have turned a new leaf this season. Kyle Brindza is enjoying the new turf as he continued to boom the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs. The Irish benefitted from a Michigan missed FG and were able to block another (I'm giving it to them). Brindza was also able to down a punt at the 2-yard line in the third quarter as well. Make no mistake here. Whether it is Booker or not, the Irish Special Teams have gone from a liability to a core strength. Even the Irish Sports Information department is making sure people are noticing.
That was awesome
Wasn't it? I mean. Seriously. How awesome was that game?