Kelly: Michigan game a great, historic rivalry
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly reversed fields Tuesday, calling the Fighting Irish series against Michigan “a great and historic rivalry.”
The Associated Press
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly reversed fields Tuesday, calling the Fighting Irish series against Michigan “a great and historic rivalry.”
The proclamation in the opening statement during his weekly news conference was contrary to what he said during a teleconference Sunday, when he said: “I really haven’t seen it as one of those historic, traditional Notre Dame rivalries,” going on to call it a “big regional game.”
Many Notre Dame fans probably agree more with his statement Sunday, considering the Irish have played Navy (86 games), USC (84), Purdue (84), Michigan State (76) and Pittsburgh (68) far more often than the 40 times they have faced the Wolverines.
But nationwide, outside of the annual Notre Dame-USC game, few of the other rivalry games get the same attention as the Fighting Irish versus the Wolverines. After all, it is the school with the best all-time winning percentage (Michigan, at .735) against No. 2 (Notre Dame, at .734).
No. 17 Michigan hosts No. 14 Notre Dame on Saturday.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick handed Michigan AD Dave Brandon a letter on the field before last season’s game, canceling dates from 2015 to ’17.
In May, Michigan coach Brady Hoke told a luncheon crowd in Grand Rapids that Notre Dame was “chickening out of the series.”
Kelly said he doesn’t believe Hoke meant disrespect.
• Coach Kevin Sumlin of No. 7 Texas A&M dismissed the notion quarterback Johnny Manziel — last year’s Heisman Trophy winner — disrespected him in Saturday’s victory over Rice by not responding when he talked to him after an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.
“When he came off the field, I basically made two statements to him, neither one of which should he have responded to,” Sumlin said. “They weren’t questions. They were direct statements, and I can’t repeat them right now. What’s amazing to me is the perception that he ignored me. The worst thing that could have happened was for him to reply . . .”
• California junior safety Avery Sebastian will undergo surgery on his right Achilles tendon Thursday and will miss the rest of the season.
• Minot State (N.D.) officials say linebacker Jesse Ili, who is accused of beating up two police officers, has been kicked off the team. Ili faces six charges, including attempted murder.