Notre Dame and Michigan players excited for rivalry showdown - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Notre Dame and Michigan players excited for rivalry showdown

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Irish head coach Brian Kelly might be down playing the Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry. Michigan head coach Brady Hoke might be overstating its importance. Either way, players from both teams are excited for Saturday's game.

"I mean I'm really excited," said Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner. "It's the biggest stage in college football. I'm pretty sure there will be close to 115,000 people there. It's the 8:00pm game on college game day. This is what every quarterback dreams of. Being on the big stage and being able to perform like this."

It is the game in Michiana where people do not talk to their neighbors for a week, because they're a fan of that "other team."

This Saturday will be extra bittersweet because it could be the last time the Irish play in Ann Arbor for awhile. The classic rivalry match-up with the Wolverines will go on hiatus after next season.

After the Irish got a nice win against Temple, this past Saturday, they were already gearing up for the big game in the big house. Notre Dame is hoping for a better result than last time they went to Michigan, when they lost on a last second touchdown.

"That game is long past as we want it to be. We left there without a great feeling," said Tommy Rees, Notre Dame quarterback. "We also remember last year's Michigan game with a good memory."

The Irish narrowly beat Michigan last year 13-6 in a game played at Notre Dame Stadium. Despite the Notre Dame offense struggling in that game, the Irish defense forced six turnovers.

The Wolverines say they'll have to play much better Saturday if they want to win.

"We didn't play well, none of us, so that was unfortunate," said Taylor Lewan, Michigan Offensive Lineman. "Hopefully it won't happen this year."

Both teams are looking forward to another close game. The last four games between the two schools have been decided by an average of 4.75 points.

"I love playing them," said Notre Dame linebacker Dan Fox. "It's always a good game and they're always a good team. I love playing good competition. So it's exciting."

Michigan will be without back-up redshirt freshman Drake Johnson. The running back tore his ACL against Central Michigan and will miss the rest of the season.

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