Michigan's Comeback Falls Short, 17-10

In yet another strange U-M-ND game, game, Michigan got down inside the Notre Dame 5 yard line twice in the 4th quarter without scoring, and outgained the Irish in total yards. But the only thing that counts is the final score -- and in that regard the Wolverines fell just short.

Notre Dame took the opening kickoff and promptly drove 76 yards in twelve plays, led by 5-6 passing by QB Brady Quinn and 32 rushing yards by Darius Walker, to take a quick 7-0 lead.

The Wolverines and Irish traded punts three times before the Wolverines took the ball at their own 44 with 19 seconds left in the first quarter and Steve Breaston ran an end-around for 30 yards. Four plays later Garrett Rivas kicked a 38 yards field goal to make it 7-3.

After trading punts again, Notre Dame drove for their second and final touchdown of the day, going 72 yards in twelve plays. Quinn was 4-6 passing on the drive, and Walker gained 44 yards on the ground, including back to back runs of 14 and 17 yards. With 4:25 to play in the half, Notre Dame led 14-3.

After taking the kickoff to their own 25, Michigan tried to mount a final first half drive, but starting guard Matt Lentz went down for the rest of the half with a minor injury, and Michigan couldn't move the ball. At the half it was Notre Dame 14, Michigan 3.

Some First Half Stats:
First Downs: Notre Dame 14, U-M 5
Rushing Yards: ND 91, U-M 51
Passing Yards: ND 97, U-M 62
Total yards: ND 188, U-M 113

As far as some individual stats for the half, Derek Walker had 94 yards rushing and 22 more in pass receptions, and Brady Quinn was 14-22 passing for 97 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Notre Dame was double-teaming Jason Avant and Steve Breaston, and Chad Henne was just 8-17 passing for 62 yards. Mike Hart had also limped off the field late in the first quarter after gaining just 4 yards in 3 carries, and he never returned.

The second half was dominated by Michigan -- except for getting the ball into the end zone.

The Wolverines opened the half by driving from their own 19 to the Notre Dame 12, led by a 23 yard gain by Kevin Grady and three passes from Henne to tight end Tyler Ecker. However, Henne threw an interception at the goal line on an underthrown pass, and the Wolverine drive was thwarted.

The two teams traded punts twice, with U-M losing field position each time, before Notre returned a punt 19 yards to the Michigan 33, and four plays later kicked a 42 yard field goal to increase their lead to 17-3 with 14:11 left in the game.

The 4th quarter was one of drive after drive by Michigan, but most of them ended in disaster.

Michigan began the 4th quarter by punting, but Notre Dame fumbled on their first play at he Irish 23. But Michigan gave the ball back on downs at the Notre Dame 5 yard line (Henne and Jason Avant mis-connected on a 4th down pass in the corner of the end zone) with 9:28 left in the game.

Notre Dame was stopped and punted the ball to the Michigan 39 with 6:44 left. The Wolverines got nowhere in 3 plays, but went for it on 4th down -- and Jason Avant took a pass 54 yards to the Notre Dame 1 yard line. However, on the next play Chad Henne fumbled the ball into the end zone on a quarterback sneak, and the Irish recovered it for a touchback.

However, the Michigan defense stopped Notre Dame in three plays, and Steven Breaston returned the ND punt 15 yards to the 50 yard line. Henne completed an 18 yard pass to Ecker, but then went nowhere in three plays. On 4th and 3 from the Notre Dame 25, Henne threw a touchdown pass to freshman receiver Mario Manningham to make the score 17-10 with 3:47 to go.

Once again the Wolverine defense stiffened and Notre Dame went three and out. A short Notre Dame punt rolled dead at the Michigan 42 yard line with 2:11 left.

A storybook ending was all set up, but it was not to happen. Chad Henne threw four straight incomplete passes. Game over.

Some Second Half Stats:
First Downs: U-M 10, Notre Dame 3
Rushing Yards: U-M 91, ND 13
Passing Yards: U-M 161, ND 43

Some final game stats:

Michigan gained 114 yards on the ground to Notre Dame's 104, and 223 yards in the air to Notre Dame's 140, for 337 yards total to Notre Dame's 244.

Kevin Grady gained 79 yards on 18 carries; Darius Walker had 114 yards on 26 carries.

Brady Quinn was 19-30 for 140 yards and 2 TD's; he was sacked 3 times. Chad Henne was 19-44 for 223 yards and 1 TD; he was sacked twice.

Tyler Ecker had 7 receptions for 74 yards.

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