Notre Dame didn’t disappoint in the renewal of its rivalry with Michigan, as the Irish took control with two early scores and held on for a 24-17 win over the Wolverines on Saturday night at Notre Dame Stadium.
The Fighting Irish (1-0), which were ranked No. 11 in the country, beat the No. 14 Wolverines (0-1) with a heavy dose of quarterback Brandon Wimbush, a powerful run game and a stifling defense that held Michigan to 10 points until late in the contest.
Wimbush led the Irish with 170 yards passing and a touchdown, which went to Chris Finke on a 43-yard toss in the first quarter, and that gave the Irish a 14-0 lead. Wimbush also led the Irish with 59 rushing yards, part of 132 yards on the ground.
Wimbush and the Irish held a 21-10 lead at the break. Wide receiver Jafar Armstrong scored twice on rushing touchdowns to help build that double-digit lead for Notre Dame. But the Irish only scored a field goal in the second half, as Michigan’s defense adjusted. But thanks to Notre Dame’s overall defensive, effort, the Wolverines were on their heels most of the night.
Notre Dame held Michigan to 58 yards on the ground, which made life difficult on Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, making his first start for the Wolverines after transferring from Ole Miss. Patterson ended up throwing for 227 yards and an interception. He also left the game briefly in the second half with an injury and was replayed by Dylan McCaffrey, the son of NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey. The younger McCaffrey was 4-of-6 for 22 yards.
Michigan scored the first half on Ambry Thomas’ electrifying 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, along with a short field goal by Quinn Nordin. But the Wolverines were unable to build on Thomas’ electrifying play, gaining fewer than 100 yards on offense in the first half.
Michigan made it close in the fourth quarter, as Karan Higdon’s 3-yard touchdown run (part of 72 yards rushing for the game) and another Nordin field goal cut the Irish lead to 7 points in final minutes.
Patterson had a chance to navigate the Wolverines to a game-tying field goal, but a Khalid Kareem sack and forced fumble, which was recovered by Te’von Coney, in the final minute sealed the win for the Irish.
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