(Saturday, September 11th)
Final Score: Michigan 28, Notre Dame 24
South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Denard Robinson's one-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner as the Michigan Wolverines slipped by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 28-24, in a non- conference affair at Notre Dame Stadium.
Robinson finished the afternoon with an astounding 258 rushing yards and also converted 24-of-40 passing for another 244 yards through the air as he got the Wolverines (2-0) into the win column for the second straight week. Robinson's efforts on the ground again set a new school-rushing mark for quarterbacks, after putting himself at the top of that list in the season opener a week ago.
"That was amazing. Our team obviously came together and the defense played well, and we just put it together," Robinson said.
Notre Dame (1-1) quarterback Dayne Crist converted 13-of-25 passing for 277 yards and two touchdowns through the air and also gained 19 yards and scored once on four carries in the setback.
"Obviously incredibly disappointed. You can't ever feel good about a loss," Crist said. "Proud of the way the guys battled back, but at the end of the day never happy with a loss."
A one-yard plunge by Crist gave the Irish an early 7-0 advantage, but on the play he apparently suffered an injury that required him to sit out the rest of the half. In the absence of Crist head coach Brian Kelly sent in backup signal-caller Tommy Rees, but his very first pass attempt was intercepted by the Wolverines. After that Rees joined Crist on the sidelines as third-string quarterback Nate Montana, the son of former Notre Dame star Joe Montana, made an appearance.
The Wolverines tied things up at seven apiece midway through the opening period with a 31-yard strike from Robinson to Roy Roundtree. The slot receiver finished the day with eight receptions for 82 yards.
A one-yard plunge by Stephen Hopkins late in the frame gave the Wolverines a 14-7 lead. Before the first half could end, Robinson again grabbed the spotlight as he raced 87 yards for the touchdown to put the Wolverines ahead by a score of 21-7.
Crist made his return in the second half and wasted little time making an impact, hitting TJ Jones with a 53-yard TD pass, even though it appeared Jones let go of the ball prior to crossing the goal line.
Later in the third Crist guided the Irish deep into Michigan territory, but the home team had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by David Ruffer to cut the deficit to 21-17.
With 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter the Irish began a drive on their own nine-yard line, but on the first play they were whistled for a holding penalty and sent back to the five-yard line. On the next snap Crist dropped back into his own end zone and then stepped up to the goal line, throwing deep over the middle where he connected with Rudolph at the 45-yard line. Slipping behind the defense, Rudolph rumbled his way into the end zone at the other end of the field, completing the second-longest pass play in Notre Dame history and giving the Irish a 24-21 advantage.
The only pass play in program history to stretch longer than the Crist-Rudolph combination took place in 1981 when Blair Kiel and Joe Howard put together a 96-yard pass play versus Georgia Tech.
With plenty of time left on the clock, Michigan went back to work and moved the ball methodically down the field. With just under two minutes remaining the Wolverines were stuck at the 35-yard line and were facing a fourth-and- inches, but Robinson made it look easy as he leaned in over the right side to give the visitors a new set of downs and eventually capped the 12-play, 72- yard drive with the winning score.
"I think more than anything else, from my perspective, we challenged our football team at halftime to make sure that everybody knew the kind of football that we were going to play and create our own identity and personality," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. "We battled down, 21-7. We came back to get the lead there. But, again, disappointing in the last drive that we weren't able to hold Michigan out."
Notre Dame had one last gasp and, aided by a personal foul for a hit out of bounds, found itself deep in Michigan territory with just six seconds to play. Crist settled back in the pocket and, with time expiring, threw into the end zone, but his effort sailed out of play and ended the home team's chances of pulling off the miracle win.
A week ago Robinson established a new rushing record for Michigan quarterbacks when he gained 197 yards on 29 attempts in the 30-10 win over the UConn Huskies at home. Robinson became the ninth quarterback in NCAA history to rush and pass for 200 yards in a single game, the last player to turn the trick being Pat White of West Virginia in 2006, under the direction of head coach Rich Rodriguez as well.
Robinson also set a new standard for single-game rushing by a quarterback in the Big Ten Conference, topping the 217 yards produced by Mike Kafka for Northwestern versus Minnesota in 2008.
Last season Michigan defeated the Irish in Ann Arbor by a score of 38-34, giving the Wolverines a 21-15-1 advantage in the all-time series between the programs.
09/11 23:19:15 ET