SOUTH BEND, Ind. – No. 11 Notre Dame will host 14th-ranked Michigan on Saturday as one of the most storied rivalries in college football is set to resume after a three-year hiatus.
The Fighting Irish have won at least 10 games in two of the previous three seasons and hope their Citrus Bowl victory against LSU serves as a springboard to their second straight win against Michigan, after routing the Wolverines 31-0 in the last meeting in the series in South Bend in 2014.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Notre Dame -1
"We're excited about it as this is something that Jim (Harbaugh) and I wanted to get back on the schedule," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly told reporters. "We think it's great for college football and I know our kids and our coaches can't wait for Saturday night."
Michigan looks to bounce back from a disappointing campaign, which saw the Wolverines drop rivalry games to Michigan State and Ohio State en route to an 8-5 record.
There is plenty of optimism in Ann Arbor despite a three-game losing streak to end the season as Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson was granted a waiver for immediate eligibility. The former five-star recruit hopes to lead Michigan to its first road win against Notre Dame since 2010.
"I understand the shoes that I have to fill with so many good quarterbacks who have come through here," Patterson told reporters. "I'm so excited especially with the group of guys we have here."
ABOUT MICHIGAN (2017: 8-5)
Patterson, who threw for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns in seven games before a knee injury ended his season prematurely, beat out Brandon Peters for the starting job, but was stripped of a major weapon as No. 1 wide receiver Tarik Black was ruled out indefinitely with a fractured right foot.
Michigan's defense, which gave up 18.3 points per game in 2017, promises to be fearsome once again as nine starters return, including preseason All-Americans Rashan Gary, a defensive end who is a projected top-10 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and linebacker Devin Bush.
Karan Higdon flirted with the NFL after rushing for 994 yards and 11 touchdowns last season and will form a dynamic duo with Chris Evans, who accounted for 842 total yards and seven TDs.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (2017: 10-3)
Brandon Wimbush passed for 1,870 yards and 16 touchdowns to go along with another 803 yards and 14 TDs on the ground last season, and was named the starter after beating out Ian Book, who relieved him during the win against LSU and could see some action if Wimbush struggles.
Tony Jones Jr. is likely to replace last season's leading rusher Josh Adams, who bolted to the NFL after racking up 1,430 yards and nine touchdowns, while Dexter Williams' status is unclear following speculation of a university imposed four-game suspension.
Offensive lineman Robert Hainsey is expected to play on Saturday after missing two weeks of practice with a calf strain.
1. Notre Dame has won 25 of its last 31 season openers.
2. Michigan has won nine straight regular-season games against non-conference opponents under Harbaugh.
3. The Fighting Irish have won five of the last six meetings with the Wolverines in South Bend.
PREDICTION: Michigan 23, Notre Dame 20