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Michigan Rises to Challenge

The Wolverines, criticized the last two seasons for not winning the big ones, put hurt on No. 2 Notre Dame with a dominant 47-21 victory.

September 17, 2006|From the Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — No. 11 Michigan finally put a Big Blue bruising on second-ranked Notre Dame in a 47-21 rout Saturday -- the most points scored against the Fighting Irish at home in 46 years.

"They deserve their just due," Irish Coach Charlie Weis said. "I think it's important to understand that team just came and whupped us pretty good."

Chad Henne threw three touchdown passes to Mario Manningham, and Michigan intercepted three of Brady Quinn's passes, forced him to fumble and shut down the rest of the Irish offense.

Michigan ended a two-game losing streak against the Irish and a three-game slide at Notre Dame Stadium.

The win probably silenced doubters who questioned Michigan after a 7-5 season and two less-than-impressive wins to open this season.

"This was going to be our big test," said LaMarr Woodley, who returned a fumble 54 yards for a touchdown. "We passed the test today."

Prescott Burgess intercepted a Quinn pass on the second play of the game and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown. Michigan (3-0) was ahead, 26-7, before the Irish (2-1) had their initial first down.

The 47 points were second only to the 51 scored at Notre Dame by Purdue in 1960.

"They stopped us in the passing game. They stopped us in the running game. They beat our defense. They really just beat our complete team," Irish tailback Darius Walker said. "It was a complete team loss."

The win had to be a relief for Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr, who has been under fire for failing to win big games the last two seasons -- twice in bowl games, and twice each to Notre Dame and Ohio State.

"When you can win against a rival like that, believe me, it's special, because it's hard," Carr said.

For Notre Dame, the loss was another setback on its road to restore its storied program. In 2000, there was a 41-9 loss to Oregon State in the Fiesta Bowl when the Irish were No. 10; three years ago it was a 38-0 loss to Michigan; and last year it was a 34-20 loss to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl when the Irish were ranked No. 4.

Weis said he never saw a rout coming. "I was surprised that we collectively, from me on down, laid an egg," he said. "I expected us to have a better performance."

It was only the eighth time the Irish have given up at least 40 points at home.

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