The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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52 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW this is one of the games everyone across the country takes time to tune into. They're going to see a great football game. I would love to see the rivalry continue." It's one the family never missed, Grant Irons assured. "When I was growing up, sitting around the living room with my mother and father and watching my older brother Jarrett, when he was playing, we as a family felt like we were playing with him and with Michigan," he said. "Those were the times that inspired me to attend University of Notre Dame or University of Michigan. "It was a dream come true that I attended Notre Dame and had the opportunity to be part of this rivalry. I remember the actual run- ning out of the tunnel, feeling and hearing the roar of the crowd. These are memories that last a lifetime. These are thoughts I'll always cherish." Gut-Wrenching Moments Abound There's enough angst in this series to keep Dr. Phil in production for at least another de- cade. From the Michigan agony side, no one will forget a strong wind stopping in South Bend to allow Harry Oliver to kick the game- winning, 51-yard field goal in a 29-27 Irish triumph in 1980. Michigan fans will remember Reggie Ho's four field goals in the Wolverines' 19-17 loss in South Bend in 1988, and Rocket Ismail's two kickoff-return touchdowns in Notre Dame's 24-19 win in Ann Arbor the follow- ing season. Those bitter memories, of course, stand as highlight moments in the Notre Dame record books, Somogyi noted. "The most memorable ones always involve winning the national title," he said. "To me, that's the '88 game. Michigan looked tough. That team, or the '80 team, might have been Bo Schembechler's best team. "You lose two games that year. One, to the No. 1 team, Notre Dame, where you miss a field goal at the end. The other to the No. 2 team, Miami, when you're up 30-14 with about seven minutes left before losing by one point. So you lost by three points to the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country. "I know most Notre Dame fans will talk about Harry Oliver's field goal in 1980, or Rocket Ismail's two kickoff returns in 1989, or Bob Crable blocking the kick up in Ann Arbor in 1979. "But that, to me, was the one that re- ally propelled the national title run. When [Mike] Gillette's kick went wide on the last play of the game … just minutes earlier, he'd put them ahead 17-16 with another 49-yarder that looked like it would be good from 60. "That guy was just so confident, and so good in the clutch. When he missed, there was just an incredible sigh of relief." Certainly not when viewed through the Michigan prism. Likewise, the Wolverines' almost magical command over the Irish the past few years has left more than a few Notre Dame fans feeling a bit relieved over the exit from the series. Michigan staged final-drive rallies in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to take down the Irish. In 2009, Tate Forcier fired the game-winning touchdown pass to Greg Mathews with just 11 seconds left on the clock in the Wolverines' 38-34 home win. A year later, Denard Robinson ran wild on the Irish in South Bend, a game Somogyi described as the greatest performance ever by a visiting player in Notre Dame Stadium. Robinson accounted for 502 of Michigan's 532 yards, rushing for 258 on 28 carries and throwing for 244 more. The Wolverines still trailed late into the fourth quarter, until Robinson's two-yard plunge with 27 seconds remaining gave them a 28-24 win. One year later, in Hoke's first crack at the Irish, the Wolverines went 80 yards in the final 30 seconds to stun Notre Dame 35-31 at The Big House. Robinson threw for 338 yards on a mere 11 passes in that game, including the 16-yard game-winner to Roy Roundtree with just two seconds remaining. "It's been an incredible downer the last few years, especially the way Notre Dame lost them," Somogyi said. "You talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, especially the 2011 game up there. You're up three, and they're backed up at the 20 with 30 seconds to go. "It's not just setting up for a field goal — you get the touchdown, while facing a prevent defense. Three years in a row like that — 2009, 2010 and 2011 — where each time, all you have to do is make one stop. Each year, Michigan found a way. "Last year, too. They couldn't stop them. The running joke here is, Denard Robinson Listing The Greatest Michigan Performances Against Notre Dame 1. Denard Robinson, 2010 — Robinson's effort, with 502 total yards of offense, in Michigan's 28‑24 victory might never be matched. The Michigan quarterback broke off an 87‑yard touchdown run in the second quarter on his way to 258 yards on the ground, while throwing for 244 more. He did it all in front of a sellout crowd of 80,795 in South Bend. 2. Devin Gardner, 2013 — Gardner piled up 376 total yards in Michigan's 41‑30 triumph under the lights at Michigan Stadium. He connected on 21 of 33 throws for 294 yards with four touch‑ downs, while rushing for 82 yards and an additional TD. 3. Jon Vaughn, 1990 — Vaughn rushed for 201 yards on 22 carries at Notre Dame in Gary Moeller's first game as Michigan head coach. It wasn't quite enough, with Michigan losing 28‑24. 4. Jeremy Gallon, 2013 — Gallon set up Michigan's comeback victory over Notre Dame in 2011 with a 64‑yard catch to facilitate the game‑winning touchdown. Last year, he continued as Irish Kryptonite, making eight catches for 184 yards and three touchdowns in Michigan's 41‑30 win. 5. Remy Hamilton, 1994 — Hamilton connected on four field goals in the 26‑24 win over the Irish, but none bigger than the final one — a 42‑yarder with two seconds remaining. — John Borton Quarterback Denard Robinson torched the Irish for an 87-yard touchdown run and 502 yards of total offense (258 rushing and 244 passing) while leading U-M to a 28-24 victory in 2010. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN 48-53.End Of ND Rivalry.indd 52 6/18/14 3:50 PM

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