Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - The final showdown between two of college
football's tradition-rich heavyweights, at least for the foreseeable future,
warranted another game under the lights at the Big House.
Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon lit up the sky anyway.
Gardner tossed three of his four touchdown passes to Gallon in No. 17
Michigan's 41-30 triumph over No. 14 Notre Dame in the second-ever night game
held at Michigan Stadium in front of an NCAA-record crowd of 115,109.
Gardner was 21-of-33 for 294 yards with an interception and totaled 82 yards
and a score on the ground, while Gallon caught eight passes for 184 yards for
the Wolverines, who now lead the all-time series between the schools, 24-16-1.
"I can't even imagine having a game like this," Gallon said. "My teammates
made this happen, not me."
Michigan (2-0) won a 35-31 thriller against Notre Dame (1-1) two years ago
in the first night game in Ann Arbor.
Saturday's meeting between the two giants marked a temporary end to the
series, which began in 1887 and has been played every season since 2002, after
the schools were unable to agree upon a schedule beyond 2014. Notre Dame
canceled its scheduled dates against Michigan from 2015-17 due to a result of
its five-games-per-year agreement with the ACC beginning next season.
These two teams have won a collective 20 national titles and rank first and
second in terms of all-time winning percentage. Michigan leads the country at
.7347 (905-315-36), while Notre Dame is a close second at .7331 (866-302-42).
Fitzgerald Toussaint carried the ball 22 times for 71 yards in the victory.
Tommy Rees was 29-of-51 for 314 yards with a pair of touchdowns and
interceptions for Notre Dame, which has lost four straight tilts in Ann
"We came up just short on some key plays," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly
T.J. Jones hauled in nine balls for 94 yards and a score, Troy Niklas caught
six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown, and Amir Carlisle tallied 64 rushing
yards on 12 totes in defeat.
Michigan had the ball at its own 17-yard line with an apparently comfortable
34-20 cushion early in the fourth before disaster struck for Gardner on the
third play of the drive. On a 3rd-and-11 at the 16, Austin Collinsworth and
Prince Shembo got through the line of scrimmage and chased Gardner into the
end zone. They had Gardner in their grasp, but Gardner attempted to throw the
ball away anyway. His wobbler was intercepted in the end zone by Stephon
Tuitt, which pulled the Irish within 34-27.
"I made a horrible decision," Gardner said. "But the defense gave me a place
to stand. They told me they believed in me and I finished it."
Following a Michigan three-and-out, Kyle Brindza's 40-yard field goal cut the
Notre Dame deficit to 34-30, but a pair of critical pass interference
penalties by the Irish on the Wolverines' ensuing series led to their
Toussaint ran for 22 yards and hauled in a 31-yard reception before the
Wolverines faced a 3rd-and-12 at the Notre Dame 23. Bennett Jackson, though,
was whistled for a pass interference before Matthias Farley was called for
another one on 3rd-and-5 from the 9-yard line three plays later.
Gardner then hit Drew Dileo for the game-sealing 4-yard score to make it 41-30
with 4:18 left.
Rees fired his second interception with 1:29 remaining.
Earlier, Michigan raced out to a 10-0 start before Notre Dame answered with 10
unanswered to tie it.
After Brendan Gibbons capped off the Wolverines' opening drive with a 44-yard
field goal -- his school-record 15th consecutive field goal make -- the Irish
followed with a three-and-out.
Gardner then found Gallon for a 61-yard score on the third play of Michigan's
next trek. Gardner took a deep drop off play-action and hit Gallon over the
middle at the Notre Dame 45. A quartet of Irish defenders appeared to converge
on the would-be tackle at the 30, but Gallon spun away from Irish cornerbacks
KeiVarae Russell and Jackson before he raced in for the score to give Michigan
a 10-0 lead a little past the midway point of the first.
The Wolverines had outgained the Irish, 118-15, to that point until Rees
flipped a 4-yard TD pass to Jones to complete an 11-play, 75-yard sequence.
Rees attempted to hit George Atkinson out of the backfield, but the ball
bounced off his fingertips and landed in the arms of Jones in the back of the
end zone. After a Michigan punt, Rees' 16-yard completion to C.J. Prosise led
to a Brindza 44-yard field goal to tie the score early in the second.
Russell was whistled for pass interference on a critical 3rd-and-goal at the
14-yard line on Michigan's ensuing series, which led to a 2-yard TD sprint by
After Brindza and Gibbons booted through field goals of 24 and 38 yards,
respectively, which made it 20-13 in favor of Michigan, the Irish regained
possession with one timeout at their disposal and 1:56 on the clock.
Blake Countess, though, intercepted Rees' pass on the second play of the
sequence and ran it back 30 yards to the Notre Dame 23, which set up a Gallon
12-yard TD reception for a 27-13 Michigan spread at the break.
Rees hit Niklas on a play-action bootleg for a 20-yard touchdown before
Gardner found Gallon for a 13-yard scoring strike on Michigan's next
possession to give the Wolverines a 34-20 edge late in the third.
Gardner wore the No. 98 in honor of Tom Harmon ... The attendance mark beat
the record set two years ago between these two teams ... Michigan outgained
Notre Dame, 460-410.
The Sports Network