Michigan's Hassan Haskins, Shea Patterson and Josh Metellus discuss the 45-14 win over Notre Dame on October 26, 2019.
Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press
It is the team that Michigan hoped initially would show no mercy if it smashed its opponents on its way.
For eight weeks they waited to see it materialize. They suffered a terror against the army and a stifling loss for Wisconsin that clouded their hopes. They tortured themselves eight days ago with another defeat in Penn State, which only reinforced the idea that it might not be so.
[ Michigan proves it’s headed in right direction by thrashing Notre Dame ]
But then it was Saturday, just before 111,909 moments in the rainy stalls at Michigan Stadium. In the preseason, the team from Michigan was in seventh place to fight for a Big Ten title and a place in the College Football playoffs. On the 57th day of the 2019 season Michigan Football – as it should be – finally arrived.
For four quarters, the Wolverines defeated Notre Dame with a 45-14 win and dominated one of those -10 teams that head coach Jim Harbaugh lost too often during his time in Ann Arbor.
The Fighting Irish had no chance. Her quarterback Ian Book never presented a threat to a stubborn defense in Michigan that allowed a 38% completion rate and 180 yards total offense.
The Wolverines consistently won at the border and dominated the neutral zone on both sides of the ball.
Here, Michigan's blocking front has created yawning holes that paved the way for victory as the running backs brought in most of the 303 yards the Wolverines had won.
Michigan built a 17-0 advantage at half-time in every aspect of its plan, extending that advantage at the start of the fourth quarter and ending the Fighting Irish with another touchdown in the last minutes of regulation.
In summary, this was a complete performance and total annihilation of a worthy adversary.
So, what took so long to make this happen? What took so long for Michigan Football to arrive at this point?
Harbaugh was also asked after.
"Great question," he said with a smile. "Worthy of a good answer."
But he never offered one, left his seat, and left the room at the Crisler Center before he could answer.
It must be annoying for Michigan's coach to see the full squad of potential and to know that it may be too late for the Wolverines to make any of this.
College football is a relentless business. It is also an impatient one and there is no time to lose when a season is balanced from one week to the next.
When Michigan was discovering what a challenging self-discovery odyssey was about, the Wolverines dropped a game against Wisconsin and dug a deep hole against Penn State.
"It was just us clicking," linebacker Cam McGrone said. "The second half against Penn State, I think, we really figured out what our team can do."
"I think we always had it." Michigan quarterback Dylan McCaffrey (10) receives 26-yard touchdown reception, along with wide receiver Cornelius Johnson (6) in the fourth quarter of a NCAA college football game against Notre Dame in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Saturday, 26. October 2019. Michigan won 45-14. (AP Photo / Tony Ding) [Photo: The Associated Press]
The seven-point defeat against the Nittany Lions on October 19 marked the essence of the previous Wolverines season. A bad start. A promising second act. After a pang of conscience, everyone wondered what could have happened if all the parts had come together earlier.
Harbaugh said. "Day by day, work in practice, growth, you can see that."
It might have been visible behind closed doors. But Michigan football, as expected by its fans in the summer, was not presented to the public until October 26th. Everyone hoped they would have seen it 57 days ago, when their dreams were still alive, and so were the wolverines. Oh, how awesome it could have been.
How good could it be?