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The best moments from the first week of college football action, including Maryland's excitement in Texas and Ohios State without coach Urban Meyer.
USA TODAY

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – With all the talk about Michigan's "new" offense under quarterback Shea Patterson, it looked awfully familiar and weak.

For all the talk about all the changes – the new coach and new strength coach – the Wolverines had more cramps than touchdowns.

For all the talk about Michigan's "big" and "dreaded" defense – yikes, Notre Dame just scored again.

For all the talk about Michigan's "Improved" Offensive Line – uh, no.

The Wolverines came out on Saturday night and botched themselves, tired with fatigue and mistakes, got a late charge, but lost to Notre Dame, 24-17.

Once again, the Wolverines could not run the ball.

Again the wolverines could not find a spark. Not until the late fourth quarter.

Once again, the Wolverines could not find enough big games when it mattered most.

And again, Michigan could not beat a classified team on the road. Stop it when it sounds like a broken record.

More: Winners and Losers of College Football Week 1 under the heading of Maryland

More: Do not be so surprised Texas's recent loss to Maryland

This is obviously due to Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. His preparation failed. His changes still have to work. And Michigan is not new and improved. It looked beaten and broken for most of the game, up to a late burst in the fourth quarter.

"It's not the end," Harbaugh said. "It's the beginning for us."

Actually, it felt like a sequel.

The story of this game was not Patterson.

The story of this game was Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush.

A year ago, Wimbush completed less than half of his passes, but he came up against the Wolverines. Wimbush, known as Racing Quarterback, hit five of his first seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.

Just when you thought the Wolverines had fired him, he would slip away and beat someone for the first time. 19659008] Just when you thought the Wolverines had the Irish in the third and the long, he snuck in the middle and took down another first.

"He played a big ball game," said Harbaugh. "I thought we would limit that in the second half."

Notre Dame scored two touchdowns on his first two possessions and it was like a belly blow that stunned the Wolverines and left them gasping for breath.

Wait a second.

The Irish did that for Michigan's vaunted defense?

The Wolverines had the third-placed defense throughout the nation last season, allowing only 27 touchdowns in 13 games.

And Michigan returned nine starters.

But the Irish quickly smashed the Wolverines.

"I do not feel they dominated us," said Michiga captain Chase Winovich. "They did plays."

Meanwhile, Michigan was not t.

This is the story of this team in the Harbaugh era.

The Wolverines had several costly mistakes and penalties.

Josh Metellus, a security, was ejected for targeting.

And Winovich, a fifth-year senior, made an expensive game with four minutes left in the second quarter. After the third fall, he lowered his helmet and hit Wimshush late and behind.

At the next game Notre Dame landed 21: 3 in the lead.

It was a four-point mistake. Add a botched Field Gate and the Wolverines will hurt themselves.

"There are improvements that need to be made," Harbaugh said. "You made mistakes."

Ah, one can say that again.

This game was the debut of Patterson

He made some good things – he hit nine of his first 11 passes. And he did some bad things – like forcing an interception and taking a sack to get out of the field goal and lose the ball if they get a chance late.

Patterson made it an honor to blame himself

"I thought he was competing well," Harbaugh said. "I thought he would do the things we demanded of him – for the first time, with his new team, I thought he did a good job."

At times, Patterson looked smooth, rolled out, and beat receivers to the rhythm. He spread the ball around and hit five different receivers in the first quarter.

Then he rushed a receiver under pressure.

He showed his arm strength and beat Nico Collins on a 52-yard Heave, who set a field goal attempt. But the wolverines mishandled the snapshot, making them a game of possession.

"There is plenty of room to grow," Patterson said. "We have so many weapons."

Late in the second quarter, Michigan looked dead. The Irish had a 21-3 lead. And if it had not been for a touchdown of Ambry Thomas for a touchdown, it would have been a lot worse.

Overall, Michigan made mistakes that he can probably clean up. My stomach says the defense will play better. After the early failures, the defense played better.

And Michigan showed some life late.

But this offensive line is unsettling.

And the lack of explosive games is beyond the worry.

That night It looked very much like last year.

When the Wolverines had won only eight games.

And that's on Harbaugh.

Contact Jeff Seidel: jseidel@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff . To read his last column, go to freep.com/sports/jeff-seidel.

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