Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DAVE HOGG  |  Last updated 9/9/13
ANN ARBOR -- After a weekend at the carnival, the Michigan football team is ready to get things back to normal. They enjoyed Saturday night's spectacle - a record-setting crowd, a pregame airshow, visits from every available Michigan football legend (and Cazzie Russell) - a night that athletic director Dave Brandon called a "Super Bowl-type show" while talking to the Detroit Economic Club Monday morning at the Crisler Center. Of course, being football players, they enjoyed the 41-30 victory over Notre Dame even more. It was the last time the Irish will come to Michigan Stadium for at least a decade, and it was a good way to end that part of a rivalry that goes back two centuries. So it was like eating the biggest ice-cream sundae you've ever seen. Great fun, certainly memorable, but nothing you'd want to do every day. "Obviously, that was a very exciting environment, and it was great to win the football game," Brady Hoke said Monday. "I can't say enough about the crowd -- they were electric, and it was definitely helpful when they got loud." But a night game leaves coaches and players sitting around all day, trying to adjust their physical and mental schedules to a game that doesn't start until hours after they are normally done playing. Instead of waking up ready to go, you have to keep yourself at a low boil all day, walking a line between losing your edge and getting fired up too soon. That's why, although the glamour level might drop from 11 to one, everyone in Ann Arbor is perfectly happy with a nice, quiet noon game against Akron Saturday. It won't be on national television, just the Big Ten Network, and it won't have star-studded pregame shows. It's not at all the type of game that Brandon dreams about when he wants to build Michigan's brand. Instead, it is the reason Hoke and his players are there to begin with - a good old game of normal college football. "This is one of those glazed-donut games," Hoke said Monday. "You get up, you eat a donut and you go out and play football. That's just what our kids love to do." Drew Dileo, who caught the game-clinching touchdown under the lights, says it won't be hard at all for the Wolverines to adjust down to a more normal Saturday. "Saturday was an important game, but at a school like this, every week is an important game," he said. "Notre Dame at night is important, but Akron at noon is just as important. We want to win every game, not lose one because we aren't paying enough attention." That's a good attitude to take when facing the Zips who are, to be honest, not exactly the toughest opponent left on Michigan's schedule. They were routed 38-7 by Central Florida in their opener, then struggled to beat FCS opponent James Madison 35-33 at home. The Dukes missed a game-tying two-point conversion with 5:18 to play, then forced an Akron punt and drove inside the Zips 30, only to have time run out before they could try a winning field goal. In two games, Akron has allowed nearly 1,000 yards of total offense, while the Wolverines have put up 923 and scored 100 points. On paper, this doesn't look much of a threat to a school that hasn't lost a September home game since 2007. "If you look at that team, they've got a new coach and 22 transfers," Hoke said. "I think 13 of them are getting significant playing time, so it is a team that is going to get better as they work together." Hoke, though, acknowledged that the new playoff system might cut down on Michigan's chances to play teams from conferences like the MAC. They have already beaten Central Michigan, 59-9. "If the playoff is going to take strength of schedule into account, or at least perceived strength of schedule, then we will have to adjust things," he said. "It's going to be a transition." INJURIES: Hoke said that the team came through the Notre Dame game with only one injury of note - second-string tight end A.J. Williams hurt his ankle and his status for the Akron game is still up in the air. Senior safetycaptain Courtney Avery (knee) played a handful of plays against the Irish, and should see more playing time at free safety, although he will have to compete with impressive sophomore Jarrod Wilson.
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