The Final Lead Change is the One That Sticks: Michigan 38, Notre Dame 34

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FINAL: Michigan 38, Notre Dame 34

Clausen's Hail Mary failed, and this back-and-forth slugfest is finally over. For those counting at home, there were so many lead changes today that you lost count.


With Seconds Left, Michigan Takes Back Lead

Unbelievable.Michigan's Tate Forcier threw to Greg Mathews for a touchdown with 11 seconds left. 38-34, Wolverines.


Armando Allen Rushes for 18, Then Runs In For Two-Point Conversion

This team just capitalized on their momentum in a huge way. Following Allen's touchdown, Clausen faked a pass and discreetly pushed the ball to Allen, who ran in for the conversion uncontested. 34-31, Notre Dame.

Allen, though, was called for unsportsmanlike conduct following the conversion, and Michigan stands to benefit with good field position.


Floyd Leaves Game

Notre Dame's Michael Floyd is hurt, but nothing is known about his injury just yet. This is a big loss for the Irish; Floyd has 131 receiving yards for the day.


Forcier Intercepted, Irish Have Ball in Michigan Territory

Terrible possession for Tate Forcier. He attempted to get rid of the ball while on his way down and was almost intercepted. Moments later he seemingly couldn't get on the same page with his receiver, and he was intercepted. All of a sudden, Notre Dame has all the momentum.


Golden Tate Holds On, Clausen Throws a Third TD

Over the last few minutes, Golden Tate suffered a couple of dropped passes. He held on to this bullet from Jimmy Clausen, though, and then spun to elude his defender and breezed to the end zone.

Notre Dame attempted to make it a three-point game, but failed the two-point conversion. Michigan 31, ND 26.


No Kicker? No Problem.

Rich Rodriguez has shown no faith in his fifth-year senior kicker, Jason Olesnavage, denying him a 50 yard field goal opportunity and instead putting the reigns in the hands of his true freshman QB, Tate Forcier, who in his two career games has already become a star on the college scene. On a fourth and four at the beginning of the fourth quarter on Notre Dame's 31 yard line, Rich Rod called for a QB draw and Forcier sliced and diced his way to a 31 yard TD scramble.

Earlier in the game, Rodriguez called for a pooch point by Forcier on a previous fourth down play. Forcier, doing his best Jeff Feagles impression, planted the ball inside the five yard line.

Michigan is now in serious control of this game, leading 31-20 with 13 minutes to play in the game. Stay tuned.


Through Three Quarters, Starting RBs Impress

Notre Dame's Armando Allen has 14 carries for 92 yards, while Michigan's Brandon Minor has accepted the ball 12 times for 97 yards.


Wolverines Reclaim Lead

And a few plays later, Michigan takes advantage of the fumble. Forcier tosses to Kevin Koger in the end zone, and Olesnavage converts the PAT. 24-20, Michigan.


Michigan Misses FG, But Recovers Fumble on Ensuing Possession

The Wolverines' Olesnavage shanked a field goal, albeit at a tricky angle. Moments later, though, Notre Dame running back Jonas Gray coughed up the ball.


Just Before the Half, Michigan Adds a Field Goal

Wolverines kicker Jason Olesnavage kicks a 39-yarder just before the half. The score is now 20-17, Notre Dame.

Notre Dame's offense in the first half has been impressive. Jason Claussen is 13 for 18 with 190 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Armando Allen has produced 93 yards from 13 carries.


Tausch Puts Another Through the Uprights, 20-14 Notre Dame

I'm a genius. I made the bold, foolhardy prediction that the Quarrelsome Irish would attempt more field goals today, and they have. Tausch is now 2-for-3 on the day.


Clausen Throws Another, 17-14 Notre Dame

This time, he completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd. Notre Dame's 11-point deficit is now a 3-point lead.


Clausen Connects With Tate, 14-10 Michigan

ND's Jimmy Clausen hit Golden Tate for a four-yard touchdown throw. Also worth reiterating that Golden Tate is an actual name that someone actually has.


Good News, Bad News For Tausch

Notre Dame's Nick Tausch made good on his second field goal attempt. His ensuing kickoff, though, was returned by Michigan's Darryl Stonum for 94 yards. 14-3, Michigan.


Minor Threat: Michigan Up 7-0

Tate Forcier's 40-yard pass to Greg Mathews sparked a drive that ended with Brandon Minor's punch into the end zone. The successful extra point makes it 7-0, Wolverines.


Tausch's Attempt Was the First of His Career

Notre Dame kicker Nick Tausch managed to win the starting job from a junior this summer. His first-ever college field goal attempt didn't pan out, but Michigan's defense should ensure that he gets another chance or two this afternoon.


Michigan Halts Notre Dame's Opening Drive, Tausch Misses FG

Notre Dame made a strong opening drive behind Armando Allen's 24-yard run, but the Wolverines managed to stop the Irish at their 15. Nick Tausch missed the field goal, and Michigan's offense is taking the field.


Key Matchup is in the Trenches

Michigan and Notre Dame fans watched their season opening games with nervous anticipation, while their rivals watched with anticipated schadenfreude. But both teams came out and comfortably handled their overmatched visitors, setting up this weekend's big showdown in Ann Arbor. The Irish open as three point favorites according to, but for Notre Dame to win, Irish fans say the offensive line must give junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen time to throw:

The biggest problem for the Irish is going to be in the trenches. To keep the offense moving, they'll need to contain the speed, size and talent of the Wolverine front. Brandon Graham is likely a future first round pick, and he's joined by freshmen Mike Martin (red shirt) and Craig Roh (true). There's some beef up there with a history of terrorizing Notre Dame quarterbacks, and this will be one of the tougher tests for the Irish offensive line after doing a very capable job in dealing with Nevada's pass rush. I don't think it's a stretch to say the caliber of athlete on Michigan might be slightly more polished than those hailing from the great city of Reno. We will address this later, but unless the Michigan secondary has gotten considerably better, I'm comfortable with the passing attack being able to pick them apart if there's time for Clausen to make any sort of read. If the line starts breaking down and chaos reigns, cover your eyes, as it's going to be a long, drunk afternoon for the Irish faithful.

On the other side of the hate-fest, Michigan blogger Brian Cook thinks the Wolverines front four present the kind of test Jimmy Clausen and his line haven't yet mastered:

Before the season I was seriously down on this matchup but after watching four different members of Michigan's defensive line tear through the Western offensive line—a veteran unit extremely well-versed in pass blocking—and Donovan Warren try to get a grip on his new super powers, I actually think this tilts more towards neutral.

The main concern is when Notre Dame does something like, oh, I don't know, keep nine guys in to block and run a one-man route with Golden Tate. Everything was going swimmingly in the Western game until they pulled a similar stunt and though the burned corner doesn't figure to play on Saturday unless disaster befalls the secondary, free safety Troy Woolfolk also picked up an ugly –3 in UFR for his part in the play.

Michigan need pressure from the front four against regular (non max-pro) sets, and eventual pressure against the max pro. All of Michigan's guys this year are high motor sorts who will get after the ball; no Terrance Taylors or Will Johnsons who aren't much use against the pass. When the starters are in, Michigan should get pressure, and Clausen still hasn't proven he can deal with pressure.


Denard Robinson Is Quite Fast

Even the Notre Dame blog The Blue-Gray Sky's exhaustive review of Michigan's personnel and overall strategic framework cannot deny one inescapable fact: Michigan qb Denard Robinson simply blazes:

Amidst savvy notes on Michigan's new defense (more pro-style, with a hybrid linebacker/lineman position a la USC's "Elephant" spot) and Michigan's revived offense, there is the requisite venom you should expect here:

Envy Notre Dame's players on Saturday: only inches and seconds stand between them and their next opportunity to inflict pain on Michigan and earn victory against a vile opponent. Notre Dame can win this game. Notre Dame must win this game. Notre Dame will win this game.

Mmmm. Coming up on happy hour, and we're already dipping into the whiskey and haterade. It's a heady, potent blend, and is best consumed slowly leading up to gametime.

Yep, As We Said: They Hate Each Other

SB Nation's Maize N' Brew has an extended history explaining "why Notre Dame sucks so much." It's quite detailed and hilarious ... unless of course you're an Irish fan. In which case, don't read this:

In 1947, both Notre Dame and Michigan fielded undefeated teams that traded spots at the top of the AP poll for the majority of the season. Notre Dame, by virtue of non-conference cowardice, did not play a bowl game that year, while Michigan went out to Pasadena and thumped #8 USC by 49-0.

However, as was the custom, the AP title was given out before the bowl games, and the press had already awarded the trophy to Notre Dame. In a poll conducted after the bowl games, the writers decided to reverse that decision and give the title to Michigan citing a better offense and the shellacking of USC. Notre Dame, being the cheating, lying, sacks of suck that they are, still has the AP trophy from that season and sites that year as a National Championship year despite the second, more accurate poll.


Notre Dame, Michigan Renew Rivalry, Mutual Hatred of Each Other's Fans

Notre Dame and Michigan renew their rivalry this weekend, a matchup full of tradition, pageantry, and mutual respect between opponents long accustomed to taking the field of battle, looking across the way, and seeing a mirror image of their own hard work and dedication to friendly, courteous competition. 

Their fans, however, hate each other with the passion of a 100 volcanoes spewing magma at once. To wit:

But Mr. Weis, as presently constituted, is a drain on our Nation who consumes far more than he can ever hope to produce. His unattractive physical traits are dangerously mixing into our genetic pool. His unbridled arrogance harms efforts to create a peaceable nation for the good of the people. I urge you to consider my case – Charlie Weis must die for the good of our country.

Notre Dame responds with the cunning indoctrination of child soldiers in the war against the Schembechler Republic:

It's that kind of party. Feel free to throw a brick through the window and put your feet on the table, because it's being chopped into firewood later anyway.

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