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Posted on Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 8 a.m.

Michigan 38, Notre Dame 34: Your comprehensive guide to Saturday's coverage

By Pete Bigelow


The Michigan football team entered the day hoping to make its rivalry with Notre Dame relevant again. They left the field Saturday having accomplished a whole lot more.

The Wolverines rallied for a thrilling 38-34 victory over the Fighting Irish at Michigan Stadium, one of their most topsy-turvy, emotion-filled wins in recent memory.

Storylines were everywhere, and we had plenty of reporters and photographers there to chronicle the action. Check this entry all night; we'll be updating it as our stories come back from the locker room and press box. 

  • Our coverage begins tonight with beat reporter Dave Birkett's game story, which notes that the Wolverines are 2-0 for the first time since 2006, and that Rich Rodriguez has a well-documented history of turning programs around in his second year as coach.
  • The MVP of the game was undoubtedly freshman quarterback Tate Forcier, who had 310 total yards and three touchdowns in his second collegiate game. More than the stats, he showed some moxie under pressure, opines Michael Rothstein.
  • Last year, after an awful loss against Notre Dame, Rich Rodriguez promised the Michigan program would be back. It's been a bumpy road, but after Saturday's huge upset, consider the mission accomplished, writes Pete Bigelow.
  • Speaking of dramatic turnarounds, there hasn't been one quite like the one undergone by Wolverines' linebacker Stevie Brown. He was much-maligned as an oft-beaten defensive back last year; now he's wreaking havoc at linebacker.
  • Report card: Dave Birkett grades the Wolverines on their performance against the Irish. By the looks of it, he's feeling generous tonight.
  • You're looking for statistics? We've got them. Here's your link to tonight's box score.
  • After missing the season's first game due to injury, Brandon Minor returned to the lineup Saturday, and had a fierce impact on the Michigan offense. There's clearly an added dimension with him in the lineup beyond his 106 rushing yards. Jeff Arnold has the lowdown on Minor's return.
  • Notebook: Greg Mathews made a major mistake when he missed a route that led to Forcier's fourth-quarter interception. He felt like he redeemed himself with the winning grab. There's also a review of Michigan's musical selections at the stadium. 
  • Off the field, some all-pro quality tailgating took place. James Dickson was out there to survey the parking lot and came back with this dispatch on the best of the best. Oh, and he's got video too.
  • Here's a collection of notes and tidbits and things overheard before and during Saturday's game, including the reported sighting of a bagpiper playing The Victors beforehand.
  • The "Fire Millen" chants made their way around Michigan Stadium today, with the former Lions president calling the game for ABC-TV. James Briggs thinks he makes a much better broadcaster than pro talent evaluator. 
  • Down the stretch, both Rich Rodriguez and Charlie Weis made decisions that proved pivotal in the game's outcome. Here's how they fared. 
  • We spent the afternoon debating Rich Rodriguez's arrival, Forcier's arm strength and the overall status of the Michigan program and more on our live chat during the game. Here's the recap if you missed it, and be sure to join us for the game next week.

  • Miss the game or want to re-live it? Staff photographers Lon Horwedel and Melanie Maxwell show the scene of the upset in this week's slideshow.
  • Darryl Stonum had a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, U-M's first kickoff return for a TD since Steve Breaston in October, 2005. Here's what the view looked like for the Fighting Irish. 

  • USC put together a marathon, 10-minute-or-so final drive to bleed the clock and score the game-winning touchdown with about a minute left, beating Ohio State, 18-15, in a good game in Columbus.
  • The big upset of the day happened in East Lansing, where Central Michigan took advantage of a second chance -- recovering an onsides kick and stunning the Spartans, 29-27.
  • Northwestern barely survived an upset bid made by the Ron English-coached Eastern Michigan juggernaut. The Wildcats held on, 27-24, courtesy of a last-minute, 49-yard field goal. 
  • It took double overtime, but Wisconsin held on for a win against Fresno State, boosting the Big Ten's record to 5-1 in the early games Saturday.
  • The best of the rest: the Big Ten Conference has recaps on all the other games today, including a lopsided win for Iowa and Indiana's escape against Western Michigan.



Mon, Sep 14, 2009 : 5:46 p.m.

I am a long time Notre Dame fan. Let me just start by saying that i am not hear to start an argument. Michigan is the real deal, no doubt about it. They played a great game in what turned out to be a heartbreaking loss for us Irish fans. That Forcier kid is a force to be reckoned with and will surely be a higlight reel king this year and in years to come (the fact that he's a freshman blows my mind! Talk about a future heisman trophy candidate). I would also no doubt agree that Coach Weis was outcoached and outdone in every aspect by Coach Rodriguez. That being said, does it bother any mature Wolverine fan how poorly that game was officiated? The constant call backs on ND for silly holding calls (mentioned several times by announcers) the inconsistencies for pass interference calls and "excessive celebration," not to mention the strange disapearance of two valuable seconds from the game clock at the last second? As an Irish fan, i hate to see unfair calls come our way, it always takes away from a victory because it doesnt feel earned. Bad calls happen, i get that, but this was one of the worst i've seen in a while, and the fact that the officials seemingly had no interest in correcting their mistakes (most evidenced by the fact that they were caught sprinting off the field immediately after the clock "expired," allowing no one to correct this blatant mistake) is what really bothers me most, especially considering that this is college ball and these are kids playing. I would agree that even if the irish had gotten one more play off, chances are nothing would have happened and the score would be the same. Still, stranger things have happened and the Irish should have been given that chance, no matter how unlikely it would be for them to score. I would really like to hear a michigan fan admit this because i have yet to hear any Wolverine fan mention anything about these controversies.


Mon, Sep 14, 2009 : 11:53 a.m.

This Michigan fan from Columbus Ohio can't believe how fantastic the Big House is! My first visit and it won't be my last. What a awesome game! Forcier is going to only get better and it will be fun to watch! Have a great season Michigan and definitely beat Ohio State! Can't wait to watch it among all my Ohio State friends.


Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 4:05 p.m.

Oh happy day. Nothing like a big victory to silence the pundits (broadcasters included). What a heartfelt, gutsy, exciting performance by our Wolverines... let the play on the field do the talking, one Saturday at a time. Hats off to the team and coaches - well done, this one feels so good.


Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 12:33 p.m.

I'm as excited as anyone, but there's still a lot of football to be played this season. Despite MSU's loss, they always get up for Michigan and it will be in EL. Iowa looked much better yesterday, as did OSU. PSU we already know will be tough, and I think Wisconsin on the road at night will be difficult, too. Purdue also almost knocked off Oregon in Eugene last night. While I think Michigan can beat anyone on the schedule, they are also capable of losing to anyone if they don't bring their A game like they have so far this year. I'll soak up this game for the rest of today, then it's time to move on to EMU (who almost knocked off Northwestern last night!). I agree with RWbill, we need to get D Robinson in the game more next week, if possible, to get him some reps not just in the running game, but in the passing game as well. Right now he has become much easier to stop because everyone knows what he's going to do when he comes in.


Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 12:11 p.m.

Awesome.. Awesome JUSt Flat out incredible. This Rivalry gopes Back yrs. this one will go down in history books for sure. Thnk-you Wolverines.. Thank-you Spartans for SuCKING.. OSU for Blowing that one & Chips for Busting Sparties Chops.. Hope for nothing but the BeST this yr BLUE!.. Thank-You, Thank-You, YESSSSS this Season Hopefuly will Overpower Last yrs Messup.. Yessssss I will see ya :ive when i can & True Blue fan At Heart Frank "The Tank" Francetic


Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 11:54 a.m.

I predicted on this blog that the maize and blue would turn Notre Dame into a bunch of little"hand puppets". By golly we did! TF is the man, so is Minor and Stonum, Matthews, Graham, et al... RR has officially returned Michigan to prominence. I predicted Michigan would win 9 games, maybe 10. They may go to a BCS bowl games as an "at large bid" if they don't win the Big Ten outright. I do predict Michigan will also take OSU to the woodshed in the Big House. Oh yeah, I was euphoric and giddy watching the crestfallen, blubbering Irish fans sniveling in the stands. "Would you like some cheese with your whine" Mr Weiss. I can't beleive these ND fans are claiming Michigan held to pop TF free. Dream on whiners......


Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 11:04 a.m.

Way to go coach, way to go kids. Great to see them overcome all the bs and stay focused on the task at hand. GO BLUE!


Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 9:29 a.m.

Wow, I can't believe some of the comments here, euphoria is a powerful drug! I'm as big a fan of the Blue since 1964, but c'mon! Serious defensive problems exist and one twist of TF's ankle and we're screwed. Get Shoelace some reps at QB the next 2 weeks running more of the playbook in game situations so he can become a true alternative for Tate for a couple of series each half. These guys are young, there will be a week or two when things aren't going to go right or they'll do stupid things. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, but damn it IS exciting isn't it? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!


Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 8:35 a.m.

Rich Rod-RI-Guez! Clap. Clap. ClapClapClap! Rich Rod-RI-Guez! Clap. Clap. ClapClapClap! Rich Rod-RI-Guez! Clap. Clap. ClapClapClap! Rich Rod-RI-Guez! Clap. Clap. ClapClapClap! We will be 7-0 going into the Penn St. game. Jim Tressel will NEVER win another game against Michigan. This is great.


Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 8:13 a.m.

Way To Go! Wolverines Tate Forcier Rocked the Big House :-) Go!!! Blue!! Ha Ha Notre Dame :-) i loved the look on the Notre Dames fans faces in the stands at the final score of the game. The camera crew showed it over and over again. :-) What a gr8 game


Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 7:08 a.m.

I hope all the "experts" on ESPN, ABC, etc, will eat their words. Pretty much everyone except for "Air Jordan" Klepper from the Big Ten Network seemed to have predicted that the Fighting Irish would run over our Wolverines.


Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 1:18 a.m.



Sat, Sep 12, 2009 : 11:15 p.m.

I love watchin Michigan Football when Michigan Football is Michigan Football. Awesome game today. Forcier proved hes the real deal, that last drive took some nerve and he showed us all that hes got it. Tune up next week against EMU then bring on the Big 10!!! Bummer about OSU, Big 10 coulda used that one after Sparty dropped to Central.


Sat, Sep 12, 2009 : 9:40 p.m.

I liked this game!!! Tate is for real! Offense and Defense are alive! Now it is a race to see how fast everyone improves every week. We might have a shot at the Big Title if everyone can stay healthy and continue to believe. As a 55 year fan I think anything with MIchigan is possible. TRADITION is a powerful thing.


Sat, Sep 12, 2009 : 9:13 p.m.

How sweet it is.