Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 26, 2019*

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 37 of 55

38 OCT. 26, 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI GOING FOR THE TIE Since the renewal of the Notre Dame- Michigan series in 1978, there have been four temporary periods where Notre Dame did not meet the Wol- verines annually: 1983-84 (replaced by Colorado), 1995-96 (replaced by Ohio State), 2000-01 (replaced by Nebraska) and 2015-17 (ACC schedule). To get two more games in with Notre Dame during the 2018-19 seasons, Michigan paid a $2 million cancella- tion fee to the University of Arkansas, which was originally slated to be on the non-conference docket for the Wol- verines. Currently, there appear to be no Notre Dame-Michigan matchups on the 2020s horizon — which makes this year's meeting all the more impor- tant for the Wolverines to win. That's because since 1978, Notre Dame leads the series 16-15-1, so Mich- igan doesn't want to exit on a three- game losing streak (2014, plus 2018-19) without at least coming out even in a series that has been as close as they come. Unlike Notre Dame's series with USC and then Michigan's with Ohio State, there have not been long peri- ods of domination by either program against each other. USC was 12-2-2 versus Notre Dame from 1967-82 and 8-0 from 2002-09 — while the Fighting Irish were 12-0-1 versus the Trojans from 1983-95 and have had other periods of dominance. Meanwhile, Michigan was 9-2-1 versus the Buckeyes from 1988-2000 — but Ohio State is 16-2 against the Wolverines from 2001-18 and on a cur- rent seven-game winning streak. Since 1978: • Notre Dame has never had a lon- ger winning streak than four in the series (1987-90), while Michigan's lon- gest was three (2009-11), which the Irish hope to match this season. • In the 32 games from 1978-2018, Michigan tallied an average of 22.9 points per game to Notre Dame's 21.4. • The home team has won all eight home games at night, with Notre Dame doing the honors in 1982 (first ever home night game for the Irish), 1988, 1990, 2012, 2014 and 2017, and the Wolverines more recently in 2011 and 2013. • During that time, all seven Notre Dame coaches won at least once versus the Wolverines, as did all five for Mich- igan — while Jim Harbaugh attempts to become the sixth in his second try. Harbaugh also will attempt a rare feat against the Fighting Irish this sea- son, which brings us to … DOUBLE TIME In 2008, Harbaugh coached his first game in Notre Dame Stadium, a 28-21 defeat in his second season with the Stanford Cardinal. Two years later, Harbaugh returned to the scene with a 37-14 victory against first-year head coach Brian Kelly's Irish. The 12-1 record that year would be Stanford's greatest finish in 70 years, and Harbaugh parlayed that run into becoming the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, who he guided all the way to the Super Bowl in 2013. This year at Michigan he will at- tempt to become the sixth head coach in history to defeat Notre Dame while serving in that role at different schools. What would make Harbaugh unique, however, is that he also quarterbacked his alma mater, Michigan, to back-to- back conquests of Notre Dame in 1985 (20-12) and 1986 (24-23), the latter in Lou Holtz's debut as the Fighting Irish head coach. Chronologically, the five other coaches since the 20th century who toppled Notre Dame at different schools are: • Howard Jones, Iowa/USC — In 1921, Jones' Hawkeyes handed Knute Rockne's 10-1 Irish their lone setback (10-7). At USC from 1925-40, Jones' Trojans would post six wins, the first in 1928 and the last in 1939. • Johnny Majors, Pitt/Tennessee — The 1956 Heisman Trophy runner-up to Notre Dame's Paul Hornung de- feated the Irish at Pitt in 1975 (34-20) and with the national title-winning Panthers in 1976 (31-10), and did the same at alma mater Tennessee in 1979 (40-18) and 1991 (35-34). • Dennis Erickson, Miami/Oregon State —His Hurricanes ended Notre Dame's school-record 23-game win- ning streak in 1989 (27-10), and then his Beavers snapped a seven-game Irish winning streak in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl (41-9). • Nick Saban, Michigan State/Ala- bama — His Spartans defeated Notre Dame three straight seasons in 1997-99, and then he led the way as the Crim- son Tide rolled to a 42-14 victory in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2013. GAME PREVIEW: MICHIGAN Top STorylineS Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will attempt to become the sixth head coach in history to defeat Notre Dame while serving in that role at different schools. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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