"As you might expect I'm awfully proud of the way our team played," said Lloyd Carr during Saturday's post-game press conference. His Michigan Wolverines had just finished dismantling the 15th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish before an NCAA record crowd of 111,726 at Michigan Stadium.
"I think our defense really was the difference out there today, they gave us great field position," Carr said. "Any time you shut out a team of the caliber of Notre Dame you've done some unbelieveable work. The defensive stop after we turned the ball over on the first possession was major."
The Wolverine defense held the Fighting Irish to 140 yards in total offense. Heading into next week's game at Oregon, Michigan has given up a total of 10 points this season. That's half the point total the vaunted 1997 defense had given up at the same point in their season.
Carr also had praise for the special teams, "The kicking game was sound, I thought the returns early were tremendous in terms of allowing us to take control of the game early."
The 38 point margin was the largest ever in the series, and the most points scored by either team against each other. It was also the first time Michigan had shut out Notre Dame since 1902. "Notre Dame is a great football program and a great rival," Carr said. "I don't think it was easy. I think we earned (the win)."
Michigan tailback Chris Perry rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries. For the season he has 549 yards on 80 carries, an impressive 6.9 yards-per-carry average. He also has 7 TD's on the season. "He's started where he left off," Carr said. "Late in the season a year he ago played very well and he's off to a great start." Carr had praise for the entire offense, "It goes back to the fact that we have some weapons offensively. He's surrounded by a lot of good football players. That means if you are going to jam up the run we're going to hurt you some with the throw."
Perry had one fumble. "It was a disappointment," Carr said. "I think it was the safety who made the hit, it was a great hit. We hate turnovers, the players don't like to turn the football over but you gotta give that safety credit for a great play."
Michigan is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 1999. "I knew in my heart that this team had tremendous motivation." Carr said. "They've worked extremely hard going back to when the season ended a year ago through the winter and the spring."
Commenting on Saturday's performance, Carr said, "I didn't think it my wildest imagination I would have thought anything like this could happen. It was our day."
Looking ahead, Carr said, "We have a lot of season to go. Dealing with success is more agreeable than dealing with losing but it's no less difficult."
Michigan has had some difficulty winning on the West Coast recently. With losses to UCLA (2000) and Washington (2001) the Wolverines look to change their fortunes when they visit the Oregon Ducks in Eugene on September 20, "We'd like to win one out there, it's been a while," Carr said. "We're going into a very difficult place to play against an outstanding program that's well coached and plays very, very well in Eugene. It's a great test for us back-to-back."
We'll have more from the Q&A session, as well as player comments. Stay tuned.
Carr: "Today was Our Day"
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