Michigan Football improved to 2-0 with a thrilling 41-30 victory over Notre Dame. Devin Gardner, wearing a new and legendary number, etched his name in Michigan lore with 376 yards and 5 touchdowns. He hooked up early and often with his favorite target, Jeremy Gallon and served notice to the Big Ten that opposing defenses have a problem.
1. Devin Gardner was bestowed with the honor of wearing Tom Harmon’s fabled #98 jersey before the game and he responded with a performance for the ages. Take away one bad decision in his own end zone, but Gardner was sensational. He was 21-33 passing for 294 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also rushed for a career-high 82 yards and another TD.
2. Jeremy Gallon had a career day with 8 receptions, 184 yards and 3 touchdowns.
3. Fitzgerald Toussaint carried the ball 22 times and picked up 71 yards rushing. He also caught one pass for 31 yards and came up huge when Michigan needed somebody to rise up late in the game.
Honorable mention: Blake Countess, Raymon Taylor
3 key plays
1. Late in the second quarter, with Michigan leading 20-13, Notre Dame was hoping to tack on some late points heading in to the half. Tommy Rees was flushed from the pocket and tossed an ill-advised pass, that Blake Countess not only intercepted, but returned 30 yards to the Irish 23 yard line. Four plays later, Devin Gardner connected with Jeremy Gallon for a touchdown and the Wolverines took a 27-13 lead at the half.
2. Notre Dame had been stuffing Michigan’s running game, so mid-way through the second quarter Al Borges turned Gardner loose. On a second down and three, Gardner scampered 35 yards to the Irish 21 yard line. Penalties would stall the drive out, but Michigan picked up a Brendan Gibbons field goal and presented the Notre Dame defense with a major dilemma.
3. Notre Dame had snatched momentum away from the Wolverines and pulled to within 34-30. The air had definitely been taken out of the sails for Michigan at this point and they needed somebody to rise up and make a play. That somebody was Fitzgerald Toussaint. On 2nd down and 10, Toussaint made a nifty move in traffic and burst through for a 22 yard run. Two plays later, Gardner hit Toussaint out of the backfield for a 31 yard completion. Six plays and two critical pass interference calls later, Gardner faced down a fierce pass rush and found Drew Dileo in the end zone to give Michigan a 41-30 lead. If not for Toussaint’s heroics earlier in the drive, who knows what would have happened.
The #98 jersey looks great on Devin Gardner and it’s kind of fun to see such a huge number on a quarterback.
Attendance was announced as 115,109 establishing a new record for the largest crowd to ever watch a college football game.
Brennen Beyer picked up a huge sack on Notre Dame’s first play after Michigan had taken the 41-30 lead. That was the only sack of the day for the Wolverines.
Michigan did not get a lot of pressure on Tommy Rees. He was hit a few times, but often had plenty of time to get comfortable in the pocket.
Delonte Hollowell played a lot at corner and looked good for the Wolverines.
Michigan is now 16-0 at home under Brady Hoke.
Gardner’s 376 total yards rank as the ninth-greatest single-game effort in Michigan Football history.
Notre Dame was 0-2 on 4th down plays.
Raymon Taylor led Michigan with 11 tackles. He also recorded one tackle for loss.
Blake Countess had six tackles to go along with his two interceptions.
Michigan out-rushed the Irish 166-96.
Jeremy Gallon became the first Michigan receiver since Mario Manningham in 2006 to haul in 3 touchdown passes in a game.
Gallon has now caught a pass in 28 straight games, the fifth longest streak in school history. He needs to reach 30 straight to move into fourth place on the all-time list.
Brendan Gibbons ran his school record to 16 consecutive made field goals.
What it means
It means that Michigan is pretty darn good. Under the direction of Devin Gardner, the offense looks very dynamic. The defense was tested by a strong Notre Dame offense, but did not give up any big plays and held on when they had to late in the game. Michigan hosts Akron next week before taking a road trip to UConn to wrap up the non-conference portion of their schedule.
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