Defense Dominates as Michigan Crushes Notre Dame
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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan Stadium)
Score: Michigan 38, Notre Dame 0
Records: U-M (1-2), Notre Dame (0-3)
Attendance: 111,178
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Sep. 22 -- vs. Penn State (Michigan Stadium), 3:30 p.m.

Boxscore | Player Participation | Postgame Notes | Quotes | Photos

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan football team (1-2) won its first game of the 2007 season Saturday afternoon (Sept. 15) with a balanced 38-0 victory over the University of Notre Dame (0-3) in front of 111,178 fans in Michigan Stadium. Providing a relentless pass rush, the Wolverine defense collected eight sacks and 14 tackles for loss while it forced three fumbles and two interceptions. The Irish were held to 10 first downs and a net 79 yards on 55 plays.

Leading the defense was senior linebacker Chris Graham(Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central) with seven total tackles and a forced fumble. Sophomore defensive lineman Brandon Graham(Detroit, Mich./Crockett Technical HS) added four tackles, including 3.5 sacks for a minus 23 yards. Co-captain and fifth-year senior Shawn Crable(Massillon, Ohio/Washington HS) also got into the action with five tackles for loss for minus 16 yards and two sacks.

Offensively, the Wolverines featured an aggressive rushing attack led by senior running back Mike Hart(Syracuse, N.Y./Onondaga Central HS), who rushed for 187 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 35 carries. In his first career start, freshman quarterback Ryan Mallett(Texarkana, Ark./Texarkana [Texas] HS) completed 7-of-15 passes for 90 yards and three scores. Mallett's primary target was junior receiver Mario Manningham(Warren, Ohio/Warren G. Harding HS), who hauled in two passes for 35 yards and a touchdown. Senior receiver Adrian Arrington(Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Washington HS) also chipped in with a pair of catches for 15 yards and a score.

The Wolverines jumped out to an early 10-0 lead. U-M took advantage of great field position on its opening possession, driving 22 yards in six plays before senior kicker Jason Gingell(Northville, Mich./Catholic Central HS) knocked through a 39-yard field goal attempt. Ball control issues that caused a Notre Dame fumble on its first drive continued to affect the Irish on their next possession, as a fumble by quarterback Jimmy Clausen would be recovered by freshman Donovan Warren(Long Beach, Calif./Polytechnic HS) at the ND 21-yard line. Following the turnover, Michigan took just five plays before Hart found the end zone on a two-yard score, giving the Wolverines a 10-0 lead with 7:34 remaining in the first quarter.

Hart again hit pay dirt later in the first half on a five-yard scamper, stretching the U-M lead to 17-0 at the 14:39 mark of the second quarter. The three-play drive was set up by a forced fumble by Chris Graham and a recovery by junior Brandon Harrison(Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne HS) at the Irish 38-yard line. A 22-yard completion from Mallett to Manningham on first-and-10 put Michigan in scoring range.

Irish turnovers continued to cost Notre Dame, as a Clausen pass intercepted by senior John Thompson(Detroit, Mich,./Crockett Technical HS) at 48-yard line set up Michigan's fourth scoring drive of the first half. The possession covered 48 yards in five plays and culminated in Mallett's first career touchdown pass, a 26-yard strike to sophomore Greg Mathews(Orlando, Fla./Edgewater HS).

Mallett would throw his second career score, a five-yard pass to Arrington, to give the Wolverines a 31-0 lead with 25 seconds remaining until halftime. The touchdown capped off an 11-play, 56-yard drive that featured five rushes for Hart -- all to the left side of the offensive line -- for 29 yards. Hart finished the first half with 26 carries for 135 yards.

Mallett's strong play continued in the second half, widening the Michigan advantage to 38-0 on a 13-yard touchdown pass to Manningham with 4:55 left in the third quarter. Hart fueled the 11-play, 79-yard drive with six rushes for 48 yards, including three runs of more than 10 yards. Michigan's 38-0 lead held until the final horn, as the U-M coaching staff worked many young Wolverines into the game throughout the fourth quarter.

Michigan opens the Big Ten Conference season against 14th-ranked Penn State Saturday (Sept. 22) at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines and Nittany Lions will kick off at 3:30 p.m. EDT on ABC Television.

Contact: David Ablauf (734) 763-4423


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