By Will Burchfield
It was announced yesterday that Michigan and Notre Dame, two of the most storied programs in college football history, will resume their gridiron rivalry beginning in the 2018 season. The Wolverines and Fighting Irish have played 42 times since 1887, with Michigan holding a 24-17-1 edge. Their rivalry was suspended following the 2014 season when Notre Dame opted out, ending a streak of a 12 straight years with a game.
But the bitterness and strife will resume in 2018, with at least one more meeting to follow the ensuing year. And though nothing has been set in stone beyond 2019, the two schools are engaged in talks to extend the rivalry moving forward.READ MORE: Mayor Duggan Urging Detroiters To Take Advantage Of Auto Insurance Amnesty By Dec. 31
Today, though, let’s take a moment to look back. Here are our picks for the top five games of all time between Michigan and Notre Dame.
5. Sept. 16, 2002: (20) Notre Dame 25 – 23 Michigan (7)
In the first meeting between the two teams after a two-year hiatus, the Irish triumphed on a late interception by Shane Walton to seal a sloppy 25-23 win. The game featured a combined eight turnovers – four for each team – and a two failed two-point conversions, including one by Michigan in the dying minutes that would have tied the game at 25. It was Walton who broke up that play, as well, cementing his legacy within this historic rivalry.
4. Sept. 13, 1986: (3) Michigan 24 – 23 Notre Dame (NR)
In Lou Holtz’ Notre Dame coaching debut, he led his team back into the Top 25 polls…despite a heartbreaking loss. The Irish racked up 455 yards of total offense and had a chance to win the game on a field goal with 13 seconds remaining, but John Carney’s 45-yard attempt sailed wide. For Michigan, senior quarterback Jim Harbaugh completed 15 of 23 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the defeat, Notre Dame was ranked No. 20 in the next week’s poll, the first time ever a team cracked the top 20 after a loss.
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3. Sept. 16, 1989: (1) Notre Dame 24 – 19 Michigan (2)
In the most recent clash between these two behemoths as the top-ranked ranked teams in the country, the Irish took their 13-game winning streak on the road and headed home unscathed. The undisputed star of the game was Notre Dame sophomore Raghib “Rocket” Ismail, who silenced the sellout crowd at Michigan Stadium with two scintillating kickoff returns for touchdowns. The slender 5’10 Ismail was the first player ever to accomplish this feat against Michigan.
2. Sept. 20, 1980: (8) Notre Dame 29 – 27 Michigan (12)
In a see-saw game that featured four lead changes, including three in the final 3:03, Notre Dame ended up on top on the strength of a 51-yard field goal as time expired. The Irish jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but the Wolverines roared back ahead, 21-14, in the third quarter. A pick-six and a four-yard plunge by Phil Carter gave the Irish a 26-21 lead late in the fourth, but a Craig Dunaway touchdown reception thrust Notre Dame back in front with 41 seconds to go. That set the stage for kicker Harry Oliver, who made up for missing an earlier extra point by drilling the game-winning field goal.
1. Sept. 10, 2011: (NR) Michigan 35 – 31 Notre Dame (NR)MORE NEWS: FDA Advisers Vote To Recommend Authorization Of Pill To Treat COVID-19
In the first night game ever at the Big House, the Wolverines shined bright, delivering a thrilling come-from-behind, last-second victory. Michigan trailed 24-7 entering the fourth quarter, but stormed back to take a 28-24 lead with 1:22 left. Just when the celebration was taking hold in Ann Arbor, the Irish marched down the field and jumped back ahead, 31-28, with 30 seconds remaining. Not to be outdone, the unstoppable Denard Robinson led the Wolverines on a furious 80-yard drive, capped off by a 16-yard pass to Roy Roundtree with two seconds left. Robinson racked up a staggering 108 yards on the ground and 338 yards in the air, rushing for one touchdown and throwing for four more.