For all the talk about Michigan’s defense, the Irish defense was the one who look stout. In tonight’s 24-17 Irish victory, Notre Dame’s defense stood tall when it counted.
In the first half, the Irish couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. They opened with a 7-play 75 yard drive for a touchdown. After a Wolverine punt the Irish was on the drive again. The drive included Michigan’s Josh Metellus getting tossed for targeting. The Irish would cap that drive with a Wimbush to Chris Finke 43 yard touchdown strike.
Down 14-0, the Wolverines would get a much needed break. The Irish followed up their first three and out with a 25 yard punt. Michigan would get in the red zone before having to settle for a field goal.
Notre Dame’s offense kept rolling despite a couple of penalties on offense. But, what proved to be Michigan’s undoing on that drive was a roughing the passer call on a failed third and goal. The drive would be capped with a Jafar Armstrong touchdown run.
On the ensuing kickoff, Michigan finally got into the end zone. Ambry Thomas would break a couple of tackles on his way to a 99 yard touchdown. That cut the Irish lead to 21-10.
The second half didn’t start off the way either team liked.
The Wolverines came out of the locker room and pounced immediately. Shea Patterson hit Nico Collins on a 52 yard bomb. But when the drive ended, Michigan botched the snap on the field goal attempt and a drive that started off so promising, ended up with nothing.
Notre Dame couldn’t take advantage. Brandon Wimbush would feel the pressure of the Wolverines defense and throw an interception.Michigan followed that up with a turnover on downs.
With both defenses establishing themselves, Wimbush’s legs started to become even more important. With the Irish facing 3rd and 18 and, yet another 3 and out, Wimbush took off for 19 on a designed quarterback draw. Later in the drive, Wimbush avoided two Michigan defenders and completed a pass for 19 yards. After instant replay reversed a touchdown, the Irish got a 48 yard field goal from Justin Yoon.
Even when Michigan looked like they had something, they shot themselves in the foot. After Patterson made an incredible escape and putting them near midfield, he followed it up with an interception. But Notre Dame could never deliver the knockout blow.
Patterson and the offense finally broke through scoring a touchdown with 2:18 left in the game cutting the Irish lead to 7.
After an Irish three and out, MIchigan would force Notre Dame to punt with two minutes left. Patterson and the Michigan offense would get the ball near midfield before Notre Dame’s defense would make one more big play.
Jerry Tillery would strip a scrambling Patterson forcing a fumble. Te’von Coney would scoop up the game sealing recovery.