Preview: CMU heads to No.9 Notre Dame for the first time in history


CMU football players play defense against New Hampshire during the CMU vs. New Hampshire game, Saturday, Sept. 9, in Kelly/Shorts Stadium. 

For the first time in history, Central Michigan football will face off against No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday. The game marks the second time this season that the Chippewas will play a Power-5 school. 

Even though the Chippewas are coming off a 45-42 walk-off win against FCS school New Hampshire last week in their home opener, the team doesn't have the best record against top-ranked schools.  

The Chippewas have registered two wins over nationally ranked teams: at No. 22 Oklahoma State in 2016 and at No. 18 Michigan State in 1991. CMU's matchup against Notre Dame marks the highest nationally ranked team it has played since 2015, when it played at No. 2 Michigan State. 

Meet the opponent

Notre Dame is led by second-year head coach Marcus Freeman, who led the Fighting Irish last season to a 9-4 record. Freeman's squad secured wins over highly ranked opponents, including No. 5 Clemson, No. 16 BYU, No. 16 Syracuse and a Gator Bowl win over South Carolina.

The Fighting Irish are heading into Saturday's game looking to get their fourth-straight win. All three of Notre Dame's wins have been blow out wins over Navy, Tennessee State and North Carolina State, respectively.

The Fighting Irish will look to quarterback Sam Hartman, who has thrown 10 touchdown passes through the first three games this season, tying for the second-most passing touchdowns in the FBS this season while throwing for the sixth-most yards (731).

Key to victory: continuing the balance attack

Last week against New Hampshire, the Chippewas found success in both the run game and the passing game. For CMU to keep within range of Notre Dame, the Chippewas need to continue the balance attack through the air and on the ground. 

Bert Emanuel Jr. went 7-of-19 for 193 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions, along with rushing 21 times for 101 yards and scoring two rushing touchdowns. Emmanuel Jr.’s passing was more than what is normally seen from the redshirt freshman. 

Junior running back Myles Bailey was one of the two Chippewas that had had a heavy carrying performance last week. Next to Emannuel Jr., Bailey carried the ball 21 times for 108 yards and one touchdown. 

If the Chippewas can continue to utilize the recent improvement to Emanuels Jr.’s passing and Bailey's run game, CMU can continue its momentum from last week.

The details  
Central Michigan (1-1) at Notre Dame (3-0)
All-time series: First meeting 
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 15
Stadium: Notre Dame Stadium 
Location: South Bend, Indiana 
TV: Peacock