YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Irish Skid Is Longest Since '85

September 28, 1997|From Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Even in victory, No. 6 Michigan didn't look so hot.

And Notre Dame? Well, the Irish played their most inspiring game under new Coach Bob Davie, but the Wolverines won, 21-14, on Saturday, sending Notre Dame (1-3) to its first three-game losing streak in 12 years.

Michigan (3-0), outplayed in the first half, struck for two touchdowns in the first 5:39 of the second half and survived three fourth-quarter fumbles for the narrow victory.

"I thought Notre Dame played their hearts out," said Michigan quarterback Brian Griese, who threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Tai Streets 24 seconds into the third quarter that tied the score, 14-14. "We prepared like they were going to come in and play their best game, and that's exactly what they did. They were not going to give up."

But the Wolverines, who took the lead on Chris Floyd's 14-yard touchdown run a few minutes later, weren't prepared for fumbles by Aaron Shea, Russell Shaw and Griese that nearly cost them the game.

Griese, 16 of 22 for 177 yards, fumbled while handing off to Floyd, and linebacker Jimmy Friday recovered at the Michigan 28 with 5:08 to go. Ron Powlus, 20 of 27 for 205 yards with a touchdown and an interception, handed off to Autry Denson three times for nine yards and, on fourth and one, Denson got the call again.

With the crowd of 106,508 at Michigan Stadium on its feet, Denson hit the line and was stacked up by end Glen Steele and linebacker James Hall. No gain, Michigan ball, 3:26 left. The Wolverines managed a few first downs and ran out the clock.

"Give Michigan credit. They dug in and stopped us on that fourth-down play," Davie said. "I think you have to be able to make a yard and a half to win a football game."

Earlier in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame's Lamont Bryant covered a fumble at the Michigan 47, the Irish drove to the nine, but Powlus' pass was intercepted by Tommy Hendricks in the end zone. The next fumble recovery was at the Michigan 42, but the Irish were forced to punt. The Irish had failed to recover a fumble in their first three games.

Not since Gerry Faust's final Irish team dropped three straight at the close of the 1985 season has Notre Dame sunk so low. And with a game Saturday at No. 20 Stanford, the Irish could find themselves with the school's longest losing streak since 1963.

Los Angeles Times Articles