2011 Michigan Wolverines Football
Michigan Wolverines vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football Recap
Michigan 35, Notre Dame 31
It was a game that left many out of breath, speechless, and in awe of the imperfect beauty of college football. The first-ever night game at Michigan was a classic, as Wolverine fans lingered in the stadium to try and soak up just a little bit more of the wonder. Michigan scored 28 points in the fourth quarter, the last score coming with just two seconds left, to up-end Notre Dame 35-31 on Saturday night.
Denard Robinson was spectacular—with a measure of good-fortune—in the final frame to lead the Wolverines to the victory. Trailing 24-7, Michigan began the fourth quarter by capping an 83-yard drive on the first play as Robinson punched in a 1-yard run. Notre Dame would punt it back to Michigan four plays later, and Robinson would lead another scoring drive, a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Gallon completing the drive in just two-and-a-half minutes. What seemed like a rout was now a 24-21 game.
With Notre Dame clinging to the lead, quarterback Tommy Rees led a drive with a 5-5 performance for 45 yards down to the Michigan seven-yard line. But Michigan would then force Rees to fumble, Notre Dame’s fifth red-zone turnover in two games. Though Michigan would not convert immediately, the Irish had coughed up yet-another scoring opportunity. Still down by three with 2:16 remaining, Robinson would take over for Michigan. After ten rushing yards from the quarterback, Robinson would then connect for 27 yards to Kelvin Grady, then again for 21 yards to Vincent Smith for the go-ahead touchdown. With only 1:12 remaining, Michigan appeared to have claimed a come-from-behind win.
Rees had other plans, however. Putting behind them the turnover curse, the Irish used a pass-interference penalty to get into Michigan territory. Rees would complete three passes, the final to Theo Riddick for a 29-yard touchdown. Amazingly, Notre Dame had answered the bell to claim a 31-28 lead with only 30 seconds remaining.
Fortunately for the Wolverines, defense was optional in the fourth quarter, a quarter that became a game within the game. On second down from his own 20-yard line, Robinson sprinted out of a collapsing pocket and found a wide-open Gallon streaking down the sideline. Gallon would cut across the field and find his way all the way to Notre Dame’s 16-yard line with eight seconds left. Putting a game-tying field goal in jeopardy, Robinson lobbed a jump ball—a pass he used often on the night—to Roy Roundtree, who came down with his only reception on the night in the endzone with only two seconds left. Twenty one points were scored in the final 2:16, but Michigan scored last and claimed the 35-31 victory.
Robinson would finish with 338 passing yards on just 11 completions, while adding 108 rushing yards on 16 carries. Junior Hemingway led all Michigan receivers with 165 yards on three catches. The game marked a very disturbing trend for Notre Dame, which completed its second-straight game with over 500 yards of offense, but also its second-straight with five turnovers. One of the best yard-producing offenses in the country has produced zero wins. Rees tallied 315 passing yards on 27 of 39 completions for three touchdowns. Michael Floyd pulled down 159 yards on 13 receptions.
By: Matt Zemek