12th Man Report: Michigan-Notre Dame Week

This week, one of the best weeks in every college football season, started off with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly saying that Michigan wasn’t a traditional historic Notre Dame rival.

This was obviously ridiculous — it’s literally one the NCAA's longest standing football rivalries dating all the way back to 1887.

But instead of talking about how ridiculous Kelly’s claim was, or how he shockingly later went back on his statement, I’m going to look at some of the best, and naturally my favorite, games from the storied rivalry. This weekend's game is even more special because the meeting agreement will expire next year between the two schools, and Saturday will mark the last time the two schools meet for at least a few years if not longer.

1994: There haven’t been too many times when both teams have been ranked in the Top-10, but this was one of those few times: Michigan came in at No. 6 and Notre Dame at No. 3. Taking place in Ann Arbor, students and fans had all but lost hope late in the game, but then-quarterback Todd Collins led a late charge from deep in the Wolverines’ own territory setting up a field goal. Even after Collins’ Cinderella charge, it was still up to kicker Remy Hamilton — in just his first game as the starting kicker — to finish it. Hamilton nailed the 42-yard attempt and Michigan won 26-24.

2003: There wasn’t any crazy finish or special circumstances before this one, but it was special for Wolverine fans everywhere. Michigan didn’t come in very highly touted, but neither was Notre Dame. The result? A 38-point shutout victory in Ann Arbor. I happened to be in attendance, so this game is especially memorable. Chris Perry and the Wolverines’ offensive line had their way with the Notre Dame defense, with Perry racking up four touchdowns. Oh yeah — this was also the first shutout in the series for either team since 1902.

2010: This is a special one because it reminded Michigan fans everywhere how great it feels to snatch victory from the petulant ND faithful on their own turf. The game was back and forth for almost the whole time, but with the Wolverines trailing by three late in the game, then-sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson saved the day. Not only did he lead the charge down the entire field, but with 27 seconds remaining, he scored the winning touchdown on a QB scamper. It became one of the better-known victories in Robinson’s historic Wolverine career, and was certainly a memorable one — largely because all those ND fans went home unhappy.

And that’s all she wrote. Both teams are ranked and coming in hot this weekend, so Saturday could be one of those games that you’ll want to be able to say, “I was there for that.”

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