Sept. 10, 2011
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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan Stadium)
Score: Michigan 35, Notre Dame 31
Records: U-M (2-0), Notre Dame (0-2)
Next U-M Game: Saturday, Sept. 17 -- vs. Eastern Michigan (Michigan Stadium), Noon
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- For the third straight season, the University of Michigan football team overtook Notre Dame in the final 30 seconds, as junior quarterback Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach) completed a 16-yard pass to senior/junior wide receiver Roy Roundtree (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) with two seconds remaining to give the Wolverines a 35-31 comeback victory in the Under the Lights contest on Saturday (Sept. 10) inside Michigan Stadium. In front of a record crowd of 114,804 fans, the Wolverines clawed their way back into the game from a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter, tallying 28 fourth-quarter points.
Robinson completed 11 passes for 338 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for one more score to go with a team-high 108 yards rushing. The lead changed three times in the final minute and a half of the contest, before U-M scored the go-ahead touchdown to end a 30-second, 80-yard drive.
Fifth-year senior wide receiver Junior Hemingway (Conway, S.C./Conway), who dons the No. 21 jersey, accumulated 165 yards receiving on three catches, including a career-long 77-yard catch that resulted in a U-M touchdown on the next snap. Hemingway scored the first receiving touchdown of the 2011 season on the same night former Wolverine wide receiver and Heisman winner Desmond Howard, who wore the No. 21 jersey from 1988-91, was honored during the pre-game ceremony as the first-ever Michigan Football Legend.
The U-M offense was stagnant in the first quarter, registering only 27 yards of offense, while the Fighting Irish got off to a fast start, driving down the field on their first two drives -- 57 and 83 yards, respectively -- to take a 14-0 lead.
The Wolverines swung momentum in their favor early in the second quarter when senior/junior safety Jordan Kovacs (Curtice, Ohio/Clay) recorded his fourth career interception, stepping in front of Notre Dame wideout Michael Floyd, who finished with 13 catches for 159 yards, near the sidelines to pick off Notre Dame sophomore quarterback Tommy Rees' third-down throw. Two plays later, the Maize and Blue's aerial attack got back on track. Rolling out to the right, Robinson threw an underthrown ball to a streaking Hemingway down the left sideline. Hemingway broke off his route at the three-yard line, jumped in the air for the catch and lunged for the pylon for a 43-yard touchdown to cut Notre Dame's lead in half, 14-7.
The Michigan defense made another big stop on Notre Dame's ensuing drive when senior/junior cornerback J.T. Floyd (Greenville, S.C./J.L. Mann) notched the Wolverines' second interception of the night. Floyd picked off Rees' forced pass near the goal line and returned it to the U-M 18-yard line. The Wolverines did not capitalize on the turnover, punting the ball back to the Fighting Irish three plays later and Notre Dame tacked on a 38-yard field goal to take a 17-7 lead into halftime.
The second half opened with the Fighting Irish driving the football into Michigan territory twice, but the Maize and Blue defense forced a punt and a fumble. However, Notre Dame extended its lead to 17 points on its next drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Rees to sophomore wide receiver T.J. Jones on third-and-nine with 2:13 left in the third quarter.
The Wolverines responded immediately, as Robinson's 77-yard pass-and-catch with Hemingway brought Michigan to the Notre Dame six-yard line. On the ensuing snap, Robinson picked up a Michigan fumble at the one-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter and scampered into the end zone untouched to cut Notre Dame's lead to 24-14.
The Wolverines' comeback continued when junior/sophomore linebacker Brandin Hawthorne (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee) made plays on each snap of Notre Dame's ensuing three-and-out, including a pass breakup and tackle for loss (three yards). Michigan made it a one-possession game five plays later when Robinson lobbed a 14-yard touchdown pass to junior/sophomore wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) in the back right of the end zone.
The defense came up big once again when fifth-year defensive end Ryan Van Bergen (Whitehall, Mich./Whitehall) picked up a fumble by Rees on the Michigan nine-yard line, and then forced Notre Dame to a three-and-out on the Fighting Irish's next possession.
The Wolverines then charged 58 yards down the field over five plays, ending the series when junior running back Vincent Smith (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee) hauled in a screen pass from Robinson and dodged 21 yards through defenders to give Michigan a three-point lead with 1:12 remaining.
The Irish mounted a rally of their own in a 42-second series that concluded with a 29-yard completion to Riddick for the touchdown with 30 seconds left. Michigan completed its comeback on the ensuing drive with Robinson's 16-yard reception to Roundtree for the game-winning score.
The Wolverines will face the Eastern Michigan Eagles next Saturday (Sept. 17) at Michigan Stadium. The third straight home game for Michigan will kick off at noon and will be televised by BTN.
The Michigan-Notre Dame game will air Sunday night (Sept. 11) at 8 p.m. EDT on the Big Ten Network as the BTN Game of the Week.
Contact: Justin Dickens (734) 763-4423