One of the best games of the season is here. MICHIGAN vs Notre Dame!
I always look forward to this match up every year. It is one of the biggest rivalries that MICHIGAN has. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly tried to downplay the rivalry this week and he was corrected immediately and tried to change his tune. Kelly was trying to take a swipe at coach Hoke because Hoke made the comment that Notre Dame was “chickening out” of the rivalry. Hoke was part joshing when he made those comments, but spoke what he felt was truth at the time as well.
Thinking back on my recent memories of this storied rivalry game, I recall the following highlights:
1994 – Powlus Makes His Debut
From coach Gary Moeller making the Fighting Irish come out first you could tell this game was going to be a intense battle. It definetly did not disappoint.
The two teams went back and forth pretty much all game. It also featured the hype of the first home game for the highly touted Ron Powlus. A late touchdown pass by Powlus and the extra point gave the Irish the lead with under a minute left. Michigan quarterback Todd Collins who ironically had picked MICHIGAN over Notre Dame had a chance to seize the moment and lead Michigan back to another comeback win. Collins led the Wolverines down the field for the game winning Remy Hamilton 42-yard field goal.
2003 The Beatdown
Nothing better than blowing out your rival . 2003 was definitely the case. Michigan was able to do anything that they wanted on offense. Wolverine running back Chris Perry dominated on the ground. Quarterback John Navarre and wide receiver Steve Breaston had good games as well. The Wolverine defense frustrated the Notre Dame quarterbacks Carlyle Holiday and Brady Quinn all dayt.The defense played lights out and it led to the 38-0 shutout.
2006 The Statement
MICHIGAN was ranked 11th and Notre Dame was ranked 2nd.
Coming into this game there was a lot of talk about how the Irish were going to have a great year. Nobody was really talking about Michigan that much. Michigan defiantly took notice and played with a chip on their shoulder all game.
The Wolverines put up 47 points in the game which at the time was the most Notre Damne had given up at home in 47 years. From the start of the game it was clear that Michigan was fired up and ready for a statement win. Prescott Burgess intercepted Brady Quinn on the 2nd play of the game and that play helped give Michigan even more momentum and confidence they needed. This game helped jump start the Michigan season .
2007 The Guarantee
Everyone by now knows who Mike Hart is. In 2007 he guaranteed a Michigan win before the ND game and he delivered on his promise. Hart ran for 187 yards . Once again the defense dominated a heralded ND QB this time in Jimmy Clausen. Clausen couldn’t get anything going. Michigan controlled this one from the start again.
2009 The Tate show
Everybody wondered how would this new freshman play in his first big game. Tate answered that question in a dramatic fashion. He had plenty of breath taking plays in this game including a ankle breaking Td run. He saved his best for last when he found Greg Matthews on a 5 yard game winning touchdown pass,
2010 The Denard Takeover
Just like everybody wondered how Tate Forcier would do vs. Notre Dame the prior year, the same was said about Denard Robinson and his match-up against the Irish in 2010. Denard somehow answered that question even more emphatically than Tate did the year before. Denard set a school record for 502 total yards that game. Denard also scored the game winning touchdown with 27 seconds left on the clock for another amazing MICHIGAN win .
2011 Under the Lights “The catch!”
This is my personal favorite game between this schools . Not just because this was the first ever night game in MICHIGAN stadium either. This was coach Hoke first game vs ND and the first 3 quarters things were not going so well. The 4th quarter was one for the record books. Michigan trailed 24-7 at the start of the quarter. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson scored to start the 4th and things all of a sudden changed.
Michigan took their first lead with 1:12 left in the 4th. The Irish marched right back and took the lead. With 16 seconds to go, Robinson found WR Roy Roundtree with a great pass and catch in the end zone to give MICHIGAN the late, late lead. On the following kickoff MICHIGAN almost scored again but the ball went out of the enzone. It was a GREAT GREAT game !
The Turn Overs Soufflé
And then there was last year. Yes Notre Dame played Michigan. And well, yes, Michigan lost on the road a close 13-6 game to the 11th ranked at the time Golden Domers thanks mainly in-part to six turnovers committed by the Wolverine offense. That’s mainly it. It was not a pretty game and this loss by Michigan mainly paved the way for the rest of the Irish run to the championship game. What could have been if Michigan just got into the end zone once…Once!
I hope this Under the Light II tonight will be another classic. I think Michigan wins this one 28-17…GO BLUE!!!