News and Notes

*Instant replay played a big part in the Notre Dame-Michigan game on Saturday. Luckily for the Irish, the calls were justifiably made their way, angering Wolverine fans so much that bottles of water were raining down upon the field. Instant replay was installed last year in the Big 10 Conference and is used by a lot of football programs in major conferences.

Both major reviews happened in the fourth quarter. After Chad Henne hit Jason Avant for 54 yards on fourth-and-four, Henne tried a quarterback sneak. After hurling himself into the line, a few second later the Irish's Chinedum Ndukwe came out of the pile with the ball. After the reviewing the play, the referee ruled the fumble happened, recovery for Notre Dame, and a touchback.

The second incident occurred when Brady Quinn was tackled by free safety Willis Barringer. The ball seemed to come loose after the Irish quarterback hit the ground. On the field, it was ruled a fumble. But after further review, the referee changed it to down by contact. Both head coaches had their own take on the role of instant replay during the game.

"The one time I thought was really ridiculous is that they're told is to error on the side of safety because they have replay," Weis said. "That's my one big complaint with the college rule versus the NFL rule is that sometimes it's to cover their butt because clearly he was down (on Quinn fumbling the ball). They told me right then that because they have instant replay, they're told to make that call in that way because they know it can be corrected upstairs where that not the rule I'm used to dealing with.

"On the other hand, I'm really happy they had it right down there at the goal line. That ball went out on the snap, not on the goal line."

Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr just hopes the decisions were the correct ones.

"I can't comment because I did not see the replay," Carr said. "Certainly, I'm confident and hopeful that those calls were properly made, because if they weren't, then that would obviously be an issue. I just assume that all of the calls were good. I can't comment on something I haven't seen."

*Notre Dame did a fantastic job of not letting game breaker Steve Breaston hurt them in the return game. They kicked the ball off in the opposite direction he was standing and if he did catch it, they pinned him into a corner. Breaston caught six punts for 31 yards and returned two kickoffs for 30 yards. A job well done on special teams.

"We tried not to kick the ball down the middle too much," kicker and punter D.J. Fitzpatrick said, who added a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to make it 17-3 Notre Dame. "On punts, I had a so-so day. I really got a hold of a few of them today and we're fortunate he didn't break any big ones on us today.

"We spread the net. We covered good and wrapped up and made good tackles. We tried to pin him in the corners and not give him a lot of field to work with and we're fortunate to go out there and execute it."

*The win Saturday afternoon was a big one for Notre Dame. The 2-0 start by head coach Charlie Weis is historic. He is the first Irish coach since Knute Rockne to win his first two games on the road. But in classic Weis-fashion, the first thing he told his team after the game was not about Michigan.

"I have mixed emotions because I'm so happy for our team that they won a tough game on the road that I start worrying about their heads and getting beyond themselves so to speak," Weis said. "We start worrying about Michigan State already. People think when you say that, you're saying it the wrong way. Trust me, that was the first thing we talked about when we got in there."

After two games on the road, even the players are itching to get back to South Bend.

"Yeah, it'll be nice to get a chance to go home," Darius Walker said. "We've been on the road the last couple weeks in a row. We're kind of missing the home cooked meals. We're ready to get back home. It should be a good one."

*More praise for the job the defense did: they held Michigan to 5-of-18 on third down conversions and sacked Chad Henne twice but also got constant pressure on him during the game. If you take out the long 54-yard pass to Jason Avant, he only caught four balls for 36 yards. Breaston was a non-factor as he caught only one pass for nine yards. The effort from that side of the ball is worth the praise.

"Our defense came up big," defensive end Chris Frome said. "Everyone expected an offensive game. Our defense stepped up when it had to.

"A lot of coaches teach bend but don't break. We went and got it back when we were backed up in the red zone.

"We were trying to be the most physical team on the field. In the red zone, it just magnifies that. We were ready for everything down there. That's a great Michigan down there. That's the biggest offensive line I think I've ever seen. It's a great team so it's a great victory for us."

*Notre Dame's captains for the game were Quinn on offense, Brandon Hoyte on defense, and Casey Cullen on special teams. Michigan's captains were defensive tackle Pat Massey, wide receiver Jason Avant, and cornerback Darnell Hood.

*Michigan now leads the all-time series 18-14-1. Notre Dame is 7-10 at Michigan Stadium after Saturday's win.

*The last time the Irish held the Wolverines to 10 points was back in 1987. On that day in September, Notre Dame came up to Ann Arbor and won 26-7. Top Stories