ANN ARBOR -- Seven days removed from guaranteeing a Michigan victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, senior running back Mike Hart made good on his word.
Behind a workmanlike performance that included a long run of just 14-yards, senior running back Mike Hart galloped for 187-yards and a pair of scores to lead the Michigan Wolverines (1-2) past the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-3) on Saturday afternoon at Michigan Stadium.
"We played Michigan football today," Mike Hart said. "The defense came out and played, the special teams came out and played and the offense came out and played. When you have that, it's hard to lose."
After the Irish chose to receive the opening kickoff, it didn't take long for the Wolverines to get on the board. A poor snap out of the shotgun left Notre Dame pinned on their own 1-yard line, and the Maize and Blue defense forced a three-and-out to set up a 39-yard field goal from kicker Jason Gingell.
Not long after, Hart made it 10-0 with a 2-yard score following a forced fumble and fumble recovery by Michigan freshman defensive back Donovan Warren.
"You had two teams coming in 0-2, you're playing at their place you figure you're going to get their best effort, now you know they weren't going to lay-down," Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said following the game. "We knew if we got on top of them it could turn very well for us, but obviously when you turn the ball over three times in the first half of the game leading to 17 points we obviously started the game the wrong way."
Hart made it 17-0 minutes later, this time from five-yards out, after Notre Dame's second straight fumble. Linebacker Chris Graham jarred the ball loose at the 38-yard line, and Brandon Harrison pounced on the ball to set up the Wolverines third score.
The Wolverines expanded their lead minutes later, this time behind the first career touchdown pass of quarterback Ryan Mallett, after intercepting Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen. Johnny Thompson stepped in front of the Clausen pass near the 50-yard line to give the ball back to the Wolverines. Mallett then connected with sophomore wide out Greg Mathews for a 26-yard score to blow the game open.
"I think he did a good job. He didn't throw any interceptions -- that's all I wanted," Hart said on Mallett. "He had a couple QB exchange problems, but besides that he did a great job. He made a lot of the right reads and he was patient. He let the receivers make the plays."
Mallett added his second touchdown pass of the game with just 25-seconds left in the first half.
"It was everything I dreamed of -- a win. That's all I wanted in my first start. My team played great. That's what we want to do. We're improving right now," Mallett said.
In the third quarter the Wolverines added the final points of the game when Mallett connected with Mario Manningham from 13-yard line.
On the defensive side of the ball, the U-M defense allowed -6 rush yards while sacking Notre Dame's Clausen eight times. Sophomore Brandon Graham led the charge with 3.5 sacks. Captain Shawn Crable added two more along with 2 other tackles for a loss.
Next up, the Wolverines move into Big 10 play with the Penn State Nittany Lions coming to Ann Arbor next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30.
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