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Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30

The SportsXchange

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The largest crowd in college football history -- announced at 115,109 -- saw Michigan beat Notre Dame 41-30 in just the second night game in the history of Michigan Stadium.

The Wolverines used a dynamic three-touchdown performance from wide receiver Jeremy Gallon and two interceptions by Blake Countess to outlast the Fighting Irish. Gallon had eight receptions for 184 yards in the best performance of his career.

Michigan led by two touchdowns at the half and maintained that margin as the game moved into the fourth quarter, but with about 12 minutes left a huge turnover shifted the momentum in Notre Dame's favor.

As Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner was backpedaling in his end zone against an intense rush, he tried to throw the ball away, but his weak lob was intercepted for a touchdown by Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt. That cut Michigan's lead to 34-27.

A stalled drive and a poor punt put the Fighting Irish right back to work near midfield, and after a 40-yard field goal from Kyle Brindza, Notre Dame was down just 34-30 with more than nine minutes left.

Needing a score for some breathing room, Michigan, aided by two third-down pass interference calls on the Irish, got a touchdown on a short pass from Gardner to Drew Dileo for a 41-30 margin with about four minutes left.

Notre Dame's hopes ended when Countess intercepted Tommy Rees in the end zone with less than two minutes to play.

Despite the two-touchdown halftime deficit, the Irish did not panic, sticking to their plan and methodically grinding out a 90-yard scoring drive, with Rees hitting tight end Troy Niklas with a 20-yard TD pass to pull Notre Dame within 27-20 with about five minutes left in the third quarter.

Gallon's third touchdown catch late in the third quarter made it a 34-20 Michigan advantage, but Gardner's ill-advised throw soon followed and the game quickly got tighter.

Michigan picked its way inside the Notre Dame 30-yard line early in the game and Brendan Gibbons nailed a 44-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. The Wolverines used the big play to stretch the lead to 10-0 as Gardner found Gallon over the middle in Irish territory. Gallon spun out of a tackle and raced 61 yards for a touchdown.

Notre Dame quickly answered with a long drive orchestrated by Rees, who hit TJ Jones in the back of the end zone for the score from 4 yards. Brindza's extra point pulled the Irish within 10-7.

Brindza tied it with a 44-yard field goal early in the second quarter, but Gardner connected on four passes before scoring on a short option run and Michigan went back on top 17-10.

The lead was cut to 17-13 by a 24-yard Brindza field goal with five minutes left in the half, but Gardner quickly broke a 35-yard run to get Michigan back down the field. From there, Gibbons kicked a 38-yard field goal for a 20-13 lead.

A Countess interception and 29-yard return set up the Wolverines at the ND 23 and Gardner hit Gallon with a 12-yard scoring pass to give Michigan a 27-13 lead at the half.

NOTES: Gibbons' 15th straight field goal early in the game set a Michigan record. ... Notre Dame and Michigan have won 20 national championships between them, 11 for the Fighting Irish and nine for the Wolverines. ... Gardner wore the number 98 in honor of Tom Harmon, who in 1940 was Michigan's first Heisman Trophy winner. ... Notre Dame's defense entered the game with just 14 rushing touchdowns allowed in its last 31 games, best in the nation.
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