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NCAA Game Summary - Notre Dame at Michigan



(Saturday, September 12th)

Final Score: Michigan 38, (18) Notre Dame 34

Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - Tate Forcier's five-yard touchdown pass to Greg Mathews with 11 seconds to play capped Michigan's comeback drive and lifted the Wolverines to a thrilling 38-34 win over 18th-ranked Notre Dame.

The Irish had overcome an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter and took a 34-31 lead with 5:13 left after Armando Allen ran for a touchdown and two- point conversion.

But Michigan (2-0) got the ball back with a little more than two minutes to play and drove for the winning score thanks to the freshman Forcier, who finished with 240 total yards passing, two touchdowns and an interception on 23-of-33 completions.

Forcier also ran 13 times for 70 yards and score for the Wolverines, who were coming off a 31-7 defeat of Western Michigan in the season's first week. Brandon Minor added 106 yards and a score on the ground on 16 carries.

Michigan snagged the win after withstanding a potent air attack from Notre Dame (1-1), as quarterback Jimmy Clausen completed 25-of-42 passes for 336 yards and three scores, with no interceptions.

Michael Floyd caught seven passes for 131 yards and a score before leaving with an apparent injury midway through the fourth quarter, while Golden Tate made nine grabs for 115 yards and two scores.

"Wow, I've been in a few games like this, but this thing you can almost sense it was going to go down to the last play, and it did," Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "It was a game that we could never get comfortable, because they were moving the ball."

Notre Dame's defense, which shut out Nevada last week, couldn't hold off the Wolverines, particularly in the final two minutes.

The Irish scored a sack of Forcier on the final drive, forcing Michigan into a 2nd-and-15 and a timeout with 1:17 to play.

However, Forcier completed two consecutive passes to Martavious Odoms -- for 11 and eight yards -- to set up a first down at the Notre Dame 28 with 44 seconds remaining.

A few plays and another timeout later, Forcier found LaTerryal Savoy along the left sideline and completed the 17-yard toss. Savoy stepped out of bounds at the five, stopping the clock with 22 ticks left.

Forcier appeared to complete the game-winning pass on the next play, when he found Savoy alone in the left side of the end zone. However, Savoy couldn't hang on to the ball. Then, on 2nd-and-goal, Forcier stepped back and to his left and hit Mathews just in front of the goal line. Mathews stretched to his right to make the catch and stepped into the end zone, as the Wolverines took a 38-34 lead.

"He's kind of a unique individual," Rodriguez said of Forcier. "Everything around him may be going crazy, and yet he's still calm in the middle of the storm. Some guys have that quality and he's one of them."

Time ran out on the Irish after the kickoff, sealing the win for Michigan.

The last-minute victory came only after Notre Dame erased a deficit of its own. Just after the fourth quarter began, the hosts went for it while faced with a 4th-and-3 at the Notre Dame 31. The risk paid off, as Forcier ran the distance up the middle into the end zone, pushing Michigan's advantage to 31-20.

But the Irish got back within a score with 9:46 to play, when Clausen completed a 21-yard TD pass to Tate. The two-point conversion failed, keeping their deficit at 31-26.

Notre Dame then caught a huge break on the next drive, when Forcier's pass went directly to Kyle McCarthy just past midfield after it appeared the intended receiver didn't cut left. McCarthy took a winding return and was eventually tackled at the Michigan 36.

Notre Dame used the ground game to reach the end zone, as Allen carried the ball on the final two plays of the drive. He ran for nine yards on a 3rd- and-2, then dashed eight yards across the goal line.

The visitors went for two and got the conversion after Clausen made a nice behind-the-back handoff to Allen to make it a 34-31 game with 5:13 left on the clock.

"There were plenty of opportunities on offense, defense and special teams to win that game," Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis said. "We can't pout and say we should have won the game. We had a chance to close it out on offense and on defense."

Michigan struck first when Minor scored on a two-yard run with 4:12 left in the opening quarter. His 22-yard rush on the prior play set up the touchdown.

Nick Tausch's 34-yard field goal with 46 seconds left got Notre Dame on the board, though Darryl Stonum's 94-yard kickoff return pushed the Wolverines' lead to 14-3.

The Irish reached the end zone on their next drive -- a seven-play, 76-yard progression that Clausen ended with a four-yard TD strike to Tate.

After a Michigan punt, Notre Dame reached the end zone again, this time on an 11-yard pass from Clausen to Floyd just past the midway point of the quarter. Tausch hit a 42-yarder with 2:41 to play in the half, and Jason Olesnavage connected on a 39-yard kick with time expiring to bring the Wolverines within 20-17 at the break.

On the first drive of the second half, Michigan came away with no points despite getting to the Notre Dame one-yard line. On the ensuing Irish possession, Jonas Gray fumbled moments after taking a handoff and Michigan recovered at the Irish 26.

The Wolverines made the most of the opportunity, as, on 3rd-and-goal, Forcier rolled left and completed a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Koger with 7:55 on the clock, giving Michigan a 24-20 lead.

Game Notes

Allen finished with 139 rushing yards on 21 carries for the Irish...Michigan holds a 21-15-1 advantage in the all-time series with Notre Dame. The Wolverines also have won five of the last six meetings at Michigan Stadium...The Irish won last year's matchup, 35-17, at home...Michigan offensive lineman David Moosman appeared to hurt his left wrist in the fourth quarter, on the play McCarthy made his interception.

09/12 21:11:04 ET