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Michigan-Notre Dame goes down as a classic

Denard Robinson, Ethan Johnson AP

There have been some great moments in the rivalry between Michigan and Notre Dame. Tonight’s hair-pulling, standing-two-feet-away-from-your-television 35-31 victory by the Wolverines in the first night game in the Big House might have been the best.

At the very least, the three touchdowns within the last 72 seconds made this game the best of Week 2, and it’s going to take an awful lot to top it as one of the best games of the season.

Of course, when talking about this victory, you have to mention Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who despite his three interceptions, managed to win the game with his arm, not his legs. Robinson didn’t have a great night throwing the ball, but had three of his four touchdown passes and over 200 of his 338 yards through the air in the fourth quarter.

Some help from wide open receivers courtesy of the Notre Dame defense didn’t hurt either.

What did hurt the Irish, though, were turnovers. Five turnovers, to be specific. For the second straight week, Notre Dame outgained their opponent in total yards, but failed to capitalize on moving the ball. Tommy Rees, who was named the starting quarterback earlier this week, threw a couple of interceptions and the Irish put the ball on the ground three more times.

Brian Kelly and his team are finding that out the hard way that’ll cost ’em; the Irish could very well be, and probably should be, 2-0 instead of 0-2.

(For Keith Arnold’s take on the Irish’s performance tonight, check out Notre Dame Central)

But even though the turnovers are something the Irish would like to forget, what college football fans everywhere should remember about this game were the big plays and the atmosphere of one of the greatest venues in American sports at night.

It was, through and through, what’s so great about college football.

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50 Responses to “Michigan-Notre Dame goes down as a classic”
  1. southernpatriots says: Sep 11, 2011 12:43 AM

    This was by far the best game of the day (or night)! Michigan, welcome to the night! Both teams played remarkably well, but Michigan never gave up. There are so many life lessons that can be taught to young folks about this game. It is a classic. Thank God we saw it on big screen plasma which made it all seem like we were there. The Big House filled with 114,000 fans with yellow everywhere was awesome.

    Congratulations Michigan! A great comeback over and over again. The best final minute and two minutes we have seen in recent decades.

    Thank you for such great entertainment. And we are so glad you won!

  2. tampajoey says: Sep 11, 2011 12:43 AM

    GO BLUE! Michigan is back! Bring on OSU!

  3. Joe Bodolai says: Sep 11, 2011 12:52 AM

    Forget Al Borges’ “new offense.” Leave Shoelace untied. Turnoverama but a great night for college football.

  4. paulbrownsrevenge says: Sep 11, 2011 1:15 AM

    That was one of the most exciting games I’ve ever seen. Notre Dame would be a very tough team if they could cut down on the turnovers.

    The Irish defensive backs need to look for the ball. I didn’t know you needed to face guard 5’9” receivers.

  5. paulbrownsrevenge says: Sep 11, 2011 1:18 AM


    How about those uniforms? a little better than marylands.

  6. polegojim says: Sep 11, 2011 1:41 AM

    What an incredible last 1:12.

    Hats off to Notre Dame – Rah Rah Rah Fight Fight Fight. Keep up the classic traditions and committment to excellence.

    Thank you SouthernPatriots Family. A National Championship it’s not…but after our last few years, it almost feels like one. Long way to go defensively, but night and day improvements.

    Hats off the coaches for making adjustments on BOTH sides of the ball, getting some great stops, and letting players strengths dictate the win.

    @paulbrownsrevenge… better than you thought eh? I agree, Notre Dame will be very damaging when it’s tightened up, but mental plays are as much of the game as physical. I enjoyed the throwbacks, including news-boy hats by Ref.

    114,800 attendance witnessed a great one – yep, we’ll be doing this again. Absolutely proud of those men, they believed, they never quit, they took advantage when they had to.

    Those Who Stay Will Be Champions

  7. jaggedmark says: Sep 11, 2011 2:02 AM

    Attention Brian Kelly: Brady Hoke just showed you how a coach that keeps his composure helps keep his team composed so they can come back for a victory.

    Never lose your cool.

  8. overratedgators says: Sep 11, 2011 2:06 AM

    “Michigan is back”?

    It was NOTRE DAME, people. And the Wolverines barely pulled it out.

    I’d like to see Michigan restore its former glory, too. It’s still the winningest program in all of college football. But let’s not get carried away too quickly. ND lost to USF last week, for god’s sake.

    Wait until the schedule really heats up and a real opponent comes to town; then we can actually assess the situation. They’ve won two games against middling opponents. That’s it. Even RichRod could pull that much off.

  9. secdominance says: Sep 11, 2011 2:11 AM

    Are you people serious? Classic in what way? For the majority of this game, it was awful, boring Big Ten football. So bad that as a Michigan fan I wanted Rich Rodriguez back! Rich Rod beat Notre Dame and they at least put up a lot of points. This was the same Michigan team with its lousy defense finding a way to pull out a victory. The only difference between last season with Rich Rod and this season with Hoke is that the team is more boring back to that slowed-down Big Ten pace & Denard Robinson has somehow regressed as a passer. I’ve never seen a game where so many big completions were under thrown balls.

    This game was not a classic. It was just close at the end with the winner being the team that didn’t screwed up least.

  10. polegojim says: Sep 11, 2011 2:58 AM

    @overratedgators – you’re forgetting the context. The Wolverines are playing much better than they’ve played in 3 years. Notre Dame is a much better team than they have been for a while. Yes, it’s a big deal. And it’s ‘Notre Dame’ and ‘Michigan’. That alone is classic, every year, year in and year out, whether you think so or not. History, honor, and both programs success…that isn’t over.

    @secdominance – ‘as a Michigan fan’…. so you’re a Michigan fan eh? Please!!!! Don’t even try to sell that crap as a way to get people to think they should listen to you. What a joke.
    The nuances of today’s passing game in the NFL and NCAA evidently escapes you. Under thrown balls are intentional in those situations.
    Next time Mr. Fake Fan…. show some deserved respect and don’t pretend you’re something other than what you are. It’s purely childish and cowardly.

  11. johnnycash19 says: Sep 11, 2011 3:08 AM

    That atmosphere was crazy in the fourth quarter. Great game to attend. With Desmond being honored, it being the first night game at Michigan, the fly over, the parachute people and the amazing comeback……..I don’t think it could have been any better.

  12. spartytime says: Sep 11, 2011 4:30 AM

    lets go sparty…time to give ND an 0-3 start

  13. tigersgeaux says: Sep 11, 2011 6:47 AM

    Exciting. Entertaining. History being made. First game under the lights for The Big House. Notre Dame lost their first game due to giving up the ball numerous times in the red zone. There were turnovers/takeaways in this game as well.

    Notre Dame has some areas to improve. A few less turnovers and they probably would have won. Michigan played to win and never gave up. Notre Dame played to win, though with those mistakes. Good game. Very unique and entertaining ending.

    Southernpatriots reminds us all the time that football at its best is entertainment. This was entertainment.

  14. blitz4848 says: Sep 11, 2011 7:34 AM


    Looking for that UCF-BC score—-lmao 30-3

  15. kfiz14 says: Sep 11, 2011 7:41 AM

    A classic between two garbage teams.

  16. alanesser says: Sep 11, 2011 8:11 AM

    @secdominance — you’re an idiot. Plain and simple.

  17. WingT says: Sep 11, 2011 9:12 AM

    congrats to Michigan for their win and to Noder Dam for their loss.

    It’s nice to see Michigan heading in the right direction but they have a long way to go – as is to be expected. Hoke has to get reloaded with the type of players he needs for his team. Recruiting is going great for Michigan this year

    Can’t wait for the opening game of the 2012 season in Jerry’s world.

    roll tide

  18. oraclepz1 says: Sep 11, 2011 9:18 AM

    @ Overated gators
    I’d like to see Michigan restore its former glory, too. It’s still the winningest program in all of college football. But let’s not get carried away too quickly. ND lost to USF last week, for god’s sake.

    Bad example.. USF is no slouch. They’ve beaten Miami, Florida st auburn within recent years. USF usually beats any out of conference ranked team they face. Our problem lies in big east games. If we were to play Michigan we could beat you guys too. So don’t make it seem like were some slapstick football school.

  19. tenteamparlay00799 says: Sep 11, 2011 9:21 AM

    Great effort and comeback by Michigan.Notre Dame’s season is going down the tubes.

  20. paulbrownsrevenge says: Sep 11, 2011 9:23 AM


    what about UCF, everyone knew they’d beat BC??? when did I ever say otherwise.

  21. gorilladunk says: Sep 11, 2011 9:38 AM

    Not a fan of either team, but what a finish! Baylor/TCU last week, Michigan/ND this week…that’s why we LOVE college football!

  22. scardino says: Sep 11, 2011 9:44 AM

    The Michigan fans were incredible.

  23. southernpatriots says: Sep 11, 2011 10:23 AM

    gorilladunk: We agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    scardino: They really were/are! Wonder how the fans at South Bend will be next year?

    tenteamparlay00799: It sure looks that way….but, they should destroy USC and that may get them back in the graces of many fans. (Alums and fans ought be getting used to Michigan beating them, which may be historically correct since Michigan taught them football in the first place…ha.)

  24. lennydpocketqb says: Sep 11, 2011 10:51 AM

    I love how everyone in college football talks about “barely winning”. Michigan won, Notre Dame lost. Deal kids. Hokeamaina is now running wild fixing the mistakes of the Rich Rod/Carr eras. Let’s hope that MI top brass stays out of Hoke’s way.

  25. jamezz23 says: Sep 11, 2011 12:09 PM

    Was one of the best games I’ve ever seen. So many ups and downs it was unreal. ND has the skill to give any team they play problems, they’re actually areally talented team. I’m just so exited about michigans future with this current coaching staff and so far the number 1 recruiting class in ’12 according to scout.

    Go Blue

  26. alligatorsnapper says: Sep 11, 2011 12:21 PM

    I was really concerned about the Wolverines during the first half. Their offence could not get going and Notre Dame seemed poised to run up the yardage and score and this time win. Relatives were extremely happy about the first half, even into the third quarter and fourth.

    The best final 1:12 I have seen. That was classic. The remainder of the game was not very good for Michigan and sloppy play once again for Notre Dame, which has the ability to move the ball, but can’t retain it. I have never seen a team giveaway the ball so much in the red zone in two games.

    Neither team is of the caliber of the better teams in the South, including west of the Mississippi River (Oklahoma, etc.) but they were evenly matched and the end of the game redeemed it for entertainment and the “wow” factor.

    Older relatives are depressed about Notre Dame losing 2 games in a row this season and 3 games in a row to Michigan. I am happy. Do agree with those who think Notre Dame will really beat USC, especially if they stop giving the ball away.

  27. lakesidegator says: Sep 11, 2011 12:43 PM

    Uh, could somebody please explain the relevance of this game?

  28. drexelvol says: Sep 11, 2011 12:49 PM

    Hey notre dame fans:

  29. ftmorganfoley says: Sep 11, 2011 1:09 PM

    Lakeside evidently didn’t watch it………. A crazy-great example of college football………

  30. lakesidegator says: Sep 11, 2011 2:27 PM

    @ftmorganfoley — you were right. I hadn’t watched it, and then I went to ESPN3 and watched the last two minutes. So, I stand corrected, it was a GREAT finish! What in the world has happened to that infamous Irish luck?

  31. newmark99 says: Sep 11, 2011 2:50 PM

    I watched the entire game (although I have no rooting interest, hate em both) and I can say it was a example of terrible defensive football. The tackling in the last quarter was very poor. How the receivers can get so open at times is hard to understand. On ND’s last touchdown, nobody even close. How can this be called a classic? It looks like playground basketball on grass. Neither of these teams will be near the big bowl games at yearend playing like this.

  32. tigersgeaux says: Sep 11, 2011 3:06 PM

    lakesidegator: The Irish have been missing their luck for a few years now. During that time they have been playing USC regularly. Another poster offered that the Irish luck has rubbed on the Trojans and the Irish have lost it. ha.

  33. Deb says: Sep 11, 2011 4:48 PM

    Great game, great fun … great final minute and 12. And great outcome! Woo-hoo!!!!

    Haven’t watched them in a while and wondered what on earth Notre Dame was wearing. When did they start putting giant shamrock decals all over themselves? It was kind of like Michigan vs. Darby O’Gill and the Little People.

    Congrats to the Wolverines!

  34. polegojim says: Sep 11, 2011 5:19 PM

    @lakesidegator… do you often make negative comments before you know what you’re talking about??? : p
    Nice adjustment though. ; )

    @Deb – yes – all retro… including Refs. Thought it was a cool way to pay tribute to the roots of the long standing rivalry. Just as Southpats noted, they’ve been intertwined from the beginning.

    To all you who don’t understand the relevance of the game, C’MON get a clue, will you? Those of us who have honored traditions and long respectable histories get it. If you don’t, at least keep quiet and stop looking like fools.

    Michigan – Est 1879, National Champs 11, conference champs 42

    Notre Dame – Est 1887, National Champs 13

    Rivals since the very beginning.

  35. Deb says: Sep 11, 2011 6:15 PM

    @polegojim …

    Thought of you as that game was winding down … you and LaMarr Woodley LOL

    So glad to know those were retro uniforms. I was wondering if Disney had won the contract to design Notre Dame’s gear 😉

  36. southernpatriots says: Sep 11, 2011 7:12 PM

    polegojim: We were (just about all the available family) were grading tests for my daughter and several other teachers who are out walking for Neighborhood Watch. I think I am now thinking in Spanish and French.

    The Michigan team went to South Bend to teach the athletes there the rules and techniques of football and made not only competitors but rivals. We wonder if they only realized what they were doing in the beginning?

    Making your own competiton and creating your own rivals…that has to be unique! We never heard of anyone else doing that. And not only taught them football but apparently taught them extremely well as history records and you have detailed. Now that is fun to realize and appreciate!

    We are surprised we didn’t post in Spanish or French but back to this grading soon. Conjugations of French and Spanish verbs…ha.

  37. polegojim says: Sep 11, 2011 8:49 PM

    SouthernPatriots –

    Muchas Gracias – Sí, exactamente. Muy creativo.

    Dziekuje – Tak, dokładnie. Bardzo twórczy.

    Mercie – Oui, exactement. Très créatif.

  38. dkhhuey says: Sep 12, 2011 10:40 AM

    As a Buckeye alum who despises ND – this game was a blast to watch since either way, a team I don’t like loses. I cannot say that I am unhappy that ND lost since that should pretty much kick them down to the curb where they belong and we can watch sports shows again since they aren’t filled with nauseating stories about how ND is back… they clearly are not back. They are undisciplined, under performing, and just plain terrible on defense. As wide open as Michigan’s receivers were during the 2nd half – I though ND decided to only play with 8 players on defense.

    @pole – nicely done!!! Looking forward to our little tussle coming up. Hopefully by then, Fickell will have pulled his head completely out of his arse and benched Bauserman in favor of our future QB Braxton Miller! That will make it very interesting!!

  39. waynefontes says: Sep 13, 2011 9:48 AM

    What a game. What a finish. I’m neutral on Michigan and I hate Notre Dame. But the last two minutes of that game was one of the most entertaining two minutes of football I’ve seen in a long time.

    Kudos to the Wolverines for having the heart to come back and win that game. I think you’ll do well under Hoke.

  40. gatorprof says: Sep 13, 2011 10:22 AM

    Innocent question….

    How can a game be considered a “classic” when both teams aren’t very good?

    It could be (and was) a fun, entertaining game, but when one team is 0-2 and clearly sucks, how can this be a classic?

    Isn’t the story line more about two historic powerhouses that have been irrelevant (since at least the inception of the BCS) aspiring to become nationally relevant again?

    The only reason that both UM and ND have been in the news for the past N years has been because of poor coaching hires or off the field tragedies, not on the field performance.

  41. tdub821 says: Sep 13, 2011 11:52 AM

    Hey Brian Kelly…..”Dead Man Walking”

    Do you really plan on being around for more than a cup of coffee?

    More games like this and last Saturdays and guess what?…tick, tock, tick tock…your on the clock and on your way out.

  42. paulbrownsrevenge says: Sep 13, 2011 6:07 PM

    ^ yea and I’m sure Notre Dame will find the next big bust for coach, Over pay him, and fire him.

  43. tpdsdomer says: Sep 14, 2011 3:14 PM

    dkhhuey: When your Buckeyes stop cheating and finally get your team’s graduation rate over 50%, I’ll start caring about your opinions regarding Notre Dame.

  44. dkhhuey says: Sep 14, 2011 4:28 PM

    HAHAHA!!! I love it!!! Every single time a domer responds it either contains and excuse to why they suck, something about a promising next year, how many championships they won over the past 100 years, and/or references to their graduation rates! When you suck on the field and have been irrelevant to college football for the last 20 years or so, you’ve got nothing to talk about except your graduation rates!!! Let me know when those graduation rates start equating to ANYTHING on the football field. Given they haven’t done s@#$ for you in the last 20 years, I won’t be holding my breath when they do in the next 20 years!

  45. tpdsdomer says: Sep 15, 2011 8:59 AM

    If Notre Dame is so irrelevant to college football, why are you wasting so much of your incredibly valuable time discussing our program?

    Football fortunes come and go at Notre Dame and it’s been that way since Rockne left. However, for decades ND’s graduation rate for all its football players has hovered at just under 99% for decades at a school U.S. News & Report ranks in their nation’s top 20 every year. That’s just one of the many reasons why we Domers are so loyal to “Our Lady’s School” and always will be, and whether or not the football team goes 0-12 or 12-0 makes absolutely no difference.

    I would think that someone representing the world renown institution of high learning known as THE Ohio State University could understand something like that. At least that’s my hope…

    GO BUCKS!!!

  46. waynefontes says: Sep 15, 2011 9:39 AM

    That was an amazing game. I’m neutral on Michigan and I hate Notre Dame. For those who say football is better with the Irish on top.. no, we’re happy to see the Irish be mediocore at best.

    The last two minutes were the two most exciting minutes in football I’ve seen in a long time.

    Michigan showed a lot of heart, which will only reap benefits for the program in the future.

  47. dkhhuey says: Sep 15, 2011 10:46 AM

    @domer – yes, I can tell you possess an amazingly large brain just based on the fact that calling my one post constitutes ‘wasting so much of your incredibly valuable time discussing our program’ The only reason I continue to post about it now is because of your idiotic statement about OSU. Funny – you must be a rare breed of domer since just about every one of them seem really really pissed off after each loss and I’ve never heard any banter about graduation rates as ND is getting their a$$es handed to them game after game after game. I had a GREAT time at the Fiesta Bowl when OSU was bitch slapping them around. Funny, graduation rates didn’t come up that day either! But, by all means, continue to hang your hat on that if it makes those pathetic losses go down a little easier.

  48. tpdsdomer says: Sep 15, 2011 10:58 AM

    Of course all Notre Dame football fans and followers want our team to win games and we’re disappointed when they lose, particularly in the heartbreaking fashion we’ve seen in the last two weeks.

    However, when our team loses our lives go on pretty much the same way as they would if they were winning those games. Believe it or not, our lives consist of much more than just 12 Saturdays in the fall.

    BTW: If my comments about OSU are so idiotic, I invite you now to refute them. And please give Coach Tressel my highest regards! GO BUCKS!!

  49. dkhhuey says: Sep 15, 2011 1:17 PM

    Please – I’m not wasting my breath trying to convince you of anything regarding OSU. That would be as futile as you trying to refute ND’s irrelevance to the national championship picture over the last 20 plus years.

    You can give Jaba the Weis, Tryone, and Bob my highest regards as well!

  50. tpdsdomer says: Sep 15, 2011 4:33 PM

    No ND fan refute how mediocre to poor Notre Dame’s results have been on the football field most of the last two decades or so. Believe me, we know it all too well, so what’s your point?

    I’m also a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, so seeing my teams lose is not exactly a new experience for me. Believe it or not, I do not define myself by whether or not my teams win or lose. I’m happy for a while when they win and disappointed for a while when they get beat. After that I move on to the many other interesting and enjoyable facets of my life. It works well for me and I recommend it to everyone else!

    The next time I see Charlie, Ty and Bob I’ll give them your love! They’ll be happy to hear from you. Warmest regards my friend and Go Bucks!


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