One of the biggest rivalries is back in the College Football landscape after a 3 year hiatus as the #12 Fighting Irish of Notre Dame took down the #14 in the land and long time rivals the Michigan Wolverines 24-17 Saturday night at raucous Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, IN.
The Irish offense jumped on the Wolverines defense early as quarterback Brandon Wimbush led a 7 play, 75 yard scoring drive that covered just 90 seconds and was capped off by a Jafar Armstrong 13 yard touchdown run.
The Irish added their second TD in the first quarter as Wimbush connected with a flying Chris Finke as Finke scaled over a defender to reel in the touchdown and giving the Irish a 14-0 lead. That drive covered 96 yards on 7 plays while taking 3:07 off the clock.
Wimbush got the game ball from coach Brian Kelly after a game where he completed 12 of his 22 passes for 170 yards with the one TD and 1 INT. He also gained 77 yards on the ground on 18 carries to lead the team in rushing.
Michigan finally got on the board early in the second quarter with a 28 yard field goal.
Wimbush then promptly marched his team downfield for the longest scoring drive for the Irish on the day. 15 plays for 75 yards in 7:37 as Armstrong added his second rushing touchdown on the day as he scampered from 4 yards out and giving the Irish a commanding 21-3 lead.
The Wolverines quickly bounced back as Ambry Thomas took the ensuing kickoff from his own 1 yard line and raced down the middle of the field for a 99 yard kickoff return touchdown and cutting the Irish lead to 21-10 going into the half.
The second half was more of a game of field position. Notre Dame added a field goal late in the third quarter as kicker Justin Yoon connected from 48 yards out and a 24-10 lead.
The Wolverines weren't giving up as running back Karan Higdon barrelled in the end zone to get the game within one score.
Notre Dame quickly went three and out and gave the ball back to Michigan with less than 2 minutes remaining. Defensive end Jerry Tillery brought down quarterback Shea Patterson for a strip sack as the Irish recovered the fumble to put the game away.
A deafening We Are ND Nation crowd went home happy last night and will embark on a new week 1-0 to start the season while looking ahead to Saturday's matchup at home against Ball State.
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Evan J. Thomas is a photographer, writer & interviewer