Gardner had shown flashes of impressive play before, but with the Irish as such a meaningful opponent, with ESPN College GameDay in attendance, it was a big step toward showing that Gardner is the real deal.
The Wolverines (2-0) had a pair of 14-point leads, but the Fighting Irish (1-1) refused to get routed.
In the midst of the last game for the foreseeable future between Michigan and Notre Dame at the Big House, a halftime interview stole the spotlight.
During the second quarter of the 2011 U of M-Notre Dame game, 69 year-old Fighting Irish fan, Leo Staudacher, suffered a cardiac arrest.
“No disrespect to Michigan State, but they don’t have the national appeal that Notre Dame has,” Howard said. “I don’t think anybody’s fooled by that, right?”
Saturday’s glamorous Top 25 showdown at the Big House will come down to the most unheralded, overlooked men on the field – the offensive and defensive linemen.
Running the stairs of an empty Big House on Thursday, just like he used to do during his years at the University of Michigan, Howard recalled the workouts of former longtime Michigan strength and conditioning coach Mike Gittleson.
Regional or national rivalry, Michigan-Notre Dame is a matchup worth watching, at least according to the ESPN College GameDay crew, who sets out to cover the most exciting game every weekend.
For as long as I can remember the Michigan-Notre Dame game has been special.
He ranked the rivalries in order of importance, saying: “Ohio’s the biggest one, and Notre Dame and Michigan State’s our little brothers.”