September 22, 2012 - Wear a Lei for Manti

For the second year in a row and second time since the late 1980s, Notre Dame hosted a night game. Fans were clad in leis and #10 Notre Dame (3-0) was ready for #18 Michigan (2-1). The past two seasons, Denard Robinson had gashed the Irish defense for 582 yards passing, 5 TDs, 3 INTs; 266 yards rushing, 3 TDs, 0 fumbles; and two victories. To cut to the chase, this year he had 138 yards passing, 0 TDs, 4 INTs; 90 yards rushing, 0 TDs, 1 fumble; and no victory.

Michigan got the ball to start and after a Notre Dame penalty and first down, Michigan was forced to punt. Notre Dame started at the 9 yard line and Golson's first pass on the first play was promptly intercepted (it was thrown right at the guy). The return and another Notre Dame penalty put the ball on the 10 yard line, 1st and goal. Little did we know then, but this next series would be tremendous foreshadow for the season. First play, rush for a loss. Second play, sack by Shembo. Third play, sack by Tuitt. What would have been a chip shot field goal, now became a 43 yard attempt which Michigan missed. The red zone defense hast begun.

The offense could not muster much and punted back to Michigan. The Wolverines put together a drive and again had a first and goal from the 10. On a halfback toss, Nicky Baratti intercepted the pass in the end zone for a touchback (note: 1 pass thrown). Notre Dame punts again. Michigan rushes twice and then Robinson throws an interception to Manti Te'o which he returned 28 yards (note: 2 consecutive passes thrown). With good field position, Brindza makes a 33 yard field goal. On Michigan's ensuing first play, Robinson throws an interception to Bennett Jackson returned 10 yards (note: 3 consecutive passes thrown). With good field position again, Golson adds to the turnovers and throws a second interception, which results in a touchback. Robinson then rushes three times before throwing an interception to Manti Te'o once again (note: 4 consecutive passes thrown). At this point, Tommy Rees trots out onto the field and quarterback roulette continues once again. However, Rees marches the team down the field and caps it off with a two yard touchdown run. Down 10, Robinson rushes twice and then ends the half with an interception to KeiVarae Russell (note: 5 consecutive passes thrown - all for interceptions).

Notre Dame started with the ball and was forced to punt. Michigan again put together a drive but Robinson fumbled at the Notre Dame 8. On six consecutive series, Michigan had six turnovers (plus the missed FG on the prior). Notre Dame punted and Michigan put together a 7:40 drive that was capped by a 33 yard field goal as the fourth quarter began. Rees again led the team downfield and Brindza answered with a field goal of his own to again make the game a two-possession game. Michigan would get a second field goal, but Notre Dame made a key first down on their final possession to kill the clock and win the game.

For the second week in a row, Manti Te'o had an outstanding, inspired performance without going back home to Hawai'i yet (he would return with Robby Toma the following week during when the team was off). Te'o finished with 2 INTs and 8 tackles. The defense would again hold an opponent without a touchdown. Rees successfully came in when Golson struggled and led the team. Notre Dame ended Michigan's streaks of winning in the final 27 seconds and the fans celebrated around the stadium. September had gone better than planned, but how would the team perform against Stanford or at Oklahoma or at Southern Cal? Things were looking up but nothing was certain just yet.

        1  2  3  4   F
#18 UM  0  0  0  6   6
#11 ND  0 10  0  3  13

For the first time since 2002 and the 45th time overall, Notre Dame started the season 4-0. This also coincided with the first perfect September since 2002.

Keywords: football, michigan, night game, denard robinson, lei, everett golson, prince shembo, stephon tuitt, nicky baratti, tommy rees, manti teo, bennett jackson, keivarae russell, robby toma, stanford, oklahoma, southern cal

Posted On: 2012-12-03 00:15:01 by IrishTrpt07


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