Notre Dame uses strong defensive effort to down Michigan

Five straight Michigan passes, five interceptions.

Notre Dame picked off Denard Robinson four times and forced six turnovers, as the 11th-ranked Fighting Irish grabbed a 13-6 win over No. 18 Michigan Saturday night.

At one point in the first half, the Fighting Irish (4-0) picked off five consecutive passes by the Wolverines, who had several threats at the end zone, but could only muster a pair of Brendan Gibbons field goals.

Tommy Rees came in for a struggling Everett Golson and scored on a two-yard run in the second quarter. Kyle Brindza added a pair of field goals.

"I think it's another step in the process of consistency that I've talked about. Before you can go from being a good team to a great team, you have to exhibit some form of consistency in performance, and you have to play week in and week out," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. "Our kids have had three tough opponents early in the season as we're trying to find ourselves offensively with Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan in consecutive weeks."

Robinson finished 13-of-24 with 138 yards through the air. He also ran for 90 yards for the Wolverines (2-2).

Manti Te'o had two of the interceptions for the Fighting Irish, who had lost to the Wolverines three straight times in the final 30 seconds.

Notre Dame's first offensive play resulted in an interception as Raymon Taylor picked off Golson deep in Irish territory. Despite starting the drive at the 10, the Wolverines were unable to capitalize as Robinson was sacked twice before Gibbons was wide right on a 43-yard field goal attempt.

Running back Vincent Smith had a pass picked off by Nicky Baratti, as he stepped in front of Drew Dileo in the end zone in the final minute of the opening quarter.

Te'o grabbed an errant Robinson pass early in the second quarter, which led to a Brindza 33-yard field goal.

Bennett Jackson chipped in with a pick on Michigan's next offensive play, but Golson was intercepted in the end zone on the ensuing possession. With 2nd- and-goal at the 10, Golson rolled right and lofted a pass that was grabbed by Thomas Gordon

Robinson again failed to produce points, as Te'o took a deflected ball over the middle for another interception.

The Irish then marched 48 yards in eight plays, keyed by a 24-yard connection from Rees to TJ Jones, moving the ball to the 6. The Irish were given a reprieve thanks to a pass interference call on 3rd-and-goal. On the next play, Rees, from shotgun formation, raced up the middle to the end zone with 1:21 left in the half.

On the final play of the half, Robinson's long pass was intercepted by KeiVarae Russell.

"We had some opportunities in the red zone obviously in the first half to put some points on the board," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "We had interference penalties that keep a drive of theirs alive twice, and that's just we're not playing fundamentally sound enough. But we just talked about what the score was, where we're at, things that we need to improve on."

It got worse for Robinson, who drove his team to the Notre Dame 16, but on 3rd-and-3, he fumbled the ball away after a five-yard run.

Gibbons made a 33-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, but Brindza countered with a 39-yard boot with 6:46 remaining.

Gibbons split the uprights from 31 yards out with 3 1/2 minutes left, but the Irish ran out the clock, thanks in part to Rees' huge 38-yard strike to Tyler Eifert down the right sideline to convert a 3rd-and-4 situation.

At the game's conclusion, fans at Notre Dame Stadium waived Hawaiian leis in support of Te'o, who lost his girlfriend on Wednesday after her long fight with leukemia. Te'o's grandmother passed away less than 24 hours earlier.

"Four years ago when I decided to come here, I didn't know why," Te'o said. "It's starting to unveil itself why, why I felt that I was told to come here. I can't thank my team enough. I can't thank the students and just the fan base around the world, Notre Dame and non Notre Dame fans. They've been really great."

Despite the QB change, following the game, Kelly affirmed Golson is still the starter over Rees.

Game Notes

Notre Dame has blanked its opponent in the first quarter in all four games this season ... Notre Dame is 4-0 for the first time since 2002 when the Fighting Irish captured the first eight contests ... Michigan holds a 23-16-1 advantage in the all-time series ... Robinson moved into first place in career total offensive yardage (9,438) at Michigan, surpassing previous record holder Chad Henne (9,400, 2004-07) ... Rees was 8-of-11 for 115 yards, while Golson was 3-of-8 for 30 yards with a pair of interceptions.