Notre Dame picks five passes in 13-6 win over Michigan

The SportsXchange

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Notre Dame defense intercepted five passes and held Michigan out of the end zone in a 13-6 slugfest Saturday.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson threw four of those picks, on consecutive pass attempts in the first half.

"I want to say sorry to everyone who watches Michigan football and follows Michigan football," Robinson said. "It won't happen no more. I'm going to be accountable for the rest of the season. I don't want to feel like this no more. In the 22 years I've been living, this is the most disappointed I've ever been in myself."

Michigan receiver Roy Roundtree, who caught three passes for 30 yards, also credited the Irish defense.

"The defenses came at us from all different ways. We tried to tell him, like, 'They're playing this kind of coverage,'" Roundtree said. "But they mixed it up a lot, so you have to give credit to Notre Dame."

Michigan coach Brady Hoke said he never contemplated pulling Robinson and didn't berate him in the halftime locker room.

"The guy has done a pretty doggone good job being a quarterback at Michigan and made some good throws in the first half," Hoke said. "You know, just better decision making and move forward."

Notre Dame entered the locker room at halftime with a 10-0 lead, after a first half marred by penalties and ill-advised passes by both teams. The teams managed three field goals in the second half.

The last time Notre Dame intercepted five passes in a game was in 1988 against Purdue.

Notre Dame sophomore quarterback Everett Golson also looked rough, throwing two interceptions and completing just 3 of 8 passes for 30 yards before coach Brian Kelly pulled him late in the second quarter.

His replacement, junior Tommy Rees, delivered immediate results, driving the team 48 yards, completing 3 of 4 passes, before scoring on a 2-yard run from the shotgun to put the Irish up 10-0.

Notre Dame heads into its bye week before facing Miami Oct. 6 at Soldier Field in Chicago. After the game, Kelly insisted that Golson remains his starter. It was the second time in this young season that he has yanked Golson in favor of the more experienced Rees, but he said he isn't worried about Golson's confidence.

"He needs to just settle down a little bit and he's going to be fine," Kelly said. "He was not as comfortable as I would have liked after playing the Michigan State game where he was in an incredible environment. He'll have a week off to evaluate all the things."

With 12 minutes left in the first quarter, Golson, throwing on first down from his 9-yard line, had his pass intercepted on an underthrown ball down the left sideline. Michigan's Raymon Taylor returned the ball to the Irish 10-yard line.

But the Notre Dame defense responded, sacking Robinson twice and pushing Michigan back to the Notre Dame 25-yard line. Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons missed a 43-yard field goal attempt wide left.

Late in the first quarter, Robinson drove his team 75 yards on 11 plays, completing 5 of 6 passes. But with first-and-goal from the Irish 10, Smith's attempted pass in the end zone fell into the hands of Notre Dame freshman safety Nicky Baratti.

After a 1-yard run by Theo Riddick and two overthrown passes by Golson into the end zone, Notre Dame took a 3-0 lead with 10:09 left in the first half on a 33-yard field goal from Kyle Brindza.

On the first play of the next drive, Robinson threw his third interception. Notre Dame linebacker Manti T'eo returned the ball to the Michigan 39. But the Irish were unable to capitalize. Golson completed two passes, setting up a first-and-goal at the 10, but then threw an interception in the end zone.

On the following drive, it was Robinson's turn. After rushes of 3, 8 and 3 yards, Robinson lofted a pass over the middle that was tipped into the hands of T'eo near midfield.

Things settled down for both teams in the second half, in what ultimately became a defensive battle.

T'eo, who had two interceptions, led a defense that didn't allow a touchdown for a second straight week. He described the atmosphere in the Irish locker room after the game.

"Four years ago when I decided to come here, I didn't know why," he said. "It's starting to unveil itself why. We know how good we can be. The sky is the limit for not only this defense, but this whole team."

NOTES: Michigan, heading into its bye week before opening its Big Ten schedule against Purdue, is off to its first 2-2 start since former coach Rich Rodriguez's nine-loss debut season. ... Notre Dame has not allowed a rushing touchdown over the last eight quarters and has allowed just 36 points -- the fewest over the first four games since 1975. ... Robinson's four interceptions were the most by a Michigan quarterback since Demetrius Brown threw seven against Michigan State on Oct. 10, 1987. ... T'eo was the first Irish player to record multiple interceptions against Michigan in the 40 games in the series.
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