Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 8, 2014 Issue

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

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Page 105 of 108

THE FIFTH QUARTER LOU SOMOGYI S ince 1978, the Notre Dame-Mich- igan series has been defined by pulsating finishes (20 of the 30 meetings came down to the final se- ries), extraordinary kicking (or field goals) and upsets when you least ex- pect it. The latter has been an offshoot of another hallmark in this series: the beleaguered head coach rising to the occasion. There has been a consistent pattern where the more a coach of one team or the other is under fire, the better his team responds in an Irish-Wolverines rivalry. That might be Michigan's X-factor in this year's showdown — the final regular-season meeting between the two in the foreseeable future. Pick up any 2014 college football preview and in every "hot seat" sec- tion two of the more consistent names from longtime power teams are Flori- da's Will Muschamp and Michigan's Brady Hoke. Hoke was the toast of Ann Arbor af- ter an 11-2 debut in 2011 that included a semi-miraculous 35-31 comeback victory against Notre Dame, ending archrival Ohio State's seven-game winning streak against Michigan and recording the school's first major bowl victory (Sugar) in 12 years. Since then, back-to-back 8-5 and 7-6 results have become unsettling, al- though not to Gene Chizek-like lev- els at Auburn. A victory against Notre Dame is needed as temporary salve. Let us count the ways on how this series has been so kind to the embat- tled coach. • In 1980, Notre Dame's Dan Devine submitted his resignation three weeks before the opener. The Irish were com- ing off a 7-4 season — their worst in 16 years — weren't expected to fare better in '80 and Devine was instantly labeled a "lame duck." Voila! The Irish upset Michigan — which would go on to win the Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl — on Harry Oliver 's 51-yard field goal as time elapsed, leading to a No. 1 ranking by November. ND Vs. U-M: Beware The Embattled Coach Michigan head coach Brady Hoke hopes to fol- low the trend of beleaguered coaches rising to the occasion in the series between the Irish and Wolverines. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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