Instant Reaction: Notre Dame Falls to Michigan 41-30

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Some quick thoughts and stats on the Irish's 41-30 loss to the Michigan Wolverines.

Devin Gardner threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns and Michigan WR Jeremy Gallon had a career performance with 184 yards on eight catches and three touchdowns as Michigan kept Brady Hoke undefeated at home with a 41-30 victory over Notre Dame in the final game between the two teams at Michigan Stadium.

On a night where Michigan honored famous former players (Gardner wore the #98 jersey of Tom Harmon), Gardner was almost perfect, and the weaknesses of the Notre Dame defense reared their ugly head for another week.

Some thoughts and observations:

  • This is clearly not the 2012 defense.  460 total yards against.  294 passing.  166 yards rushing. Oof.
  • The Irish offense was pretty solid.  410 total yards. 314 passing. 96 rushing.  Two turnovers though...
  • Speaking of those turnovers, those were Notre Dame's first turnovers of the season: A pair of Tommy Rees interceptions.
  • Tommy Rees injured his left knee, but was able to finish the game.  A blue wrap was clearly visible and the ESPN broadcast crew made a point of mentioning it quite a bit during the third quarter.  He seemed fine but was moving a little gingerly in the 4th quarter.
  • Andrew Hendrix came in at the end of the 1st half to throw a hail mary pass to the end zone.  He instead threw a 40 yard bullet that was knocked down well short of the goal line.
  • Amir Carlisle led all Irish backs in carries and yards, with 64 yards on 12 carries.  GA3 would rush 5 times for 37 yards and McDaniel only had one carry.  Eric, Larz and myself were all wrong from our podcast earlier this week where we assumed that McDaniel would be the workhorse tonight.
  • Three Irish running backs got carries tonight: Carlisle, GA3 and McDaniel.  Pretty decent night for our running backs but as the Irish were down two scores for most of the game, the offense didn't run it as much
  • At halftime, Gardner was responsible for 230 of Michigan's 268 yards (50 rushing, 180 passing).  Jeremy Gallon was responsible for 123 of those passing yards.
  • At the end of the game, Gardner was responsible for 376 of Michigan's 460 total yards of offense (294 passing, 82 running).  Jeremy Gallon was responsible for 184 of the 294 passing yards.
  • Rees struggled throwing on the run, probably because of the knee injury.
  • Tuitt had the first defensive touchdown for the Irish this season with an interception in the end zone on easily the Irish's best defensive rush of the night.  While Tuitt got the score, give a lot of credit to Collinsworth for a great contained rush that kept Gardner inside the hashes.
  • Tuitt's TD was also the first play officially reviewed via instant replay.  Yes, it was a scoring play, but Michigan asked for a challenge, so I'll count it.
  • Brindza had a very good game at kicker replacing Nick Tausch, hitting FGs of 24, 40 and 44 yards.  He also made every extra point.  It appears that he has cemented his spot as kicker and punter.
  • TJ Jones led all Irish receivers for the 2nd straight week with 94 yards on 9 catches and a touchdown.
  • Michigan and Notre Dame each ran 73 plays.
  • The Wolverines ran for 166 yards and Gardner was responsible for 82 of them.
  • Fitzgerald Toussiant made his appearance in the 4th quarter, with a 22 yard run and a 30 yard catch.  He would finish with 102 total yards so those two plays represented half of his offensive output.
  • Red-zone penalties killed the Irish.  Michigan scored 14 points off end-zone pass interference calls on Notre Dame.
  • Two deflected passes resulted in two different outcomes for ND.  One was Jones' TD and the other was a catastrophic interception.  Both in the same end zone, too.
  • Kelly put the game on Tommy Rees' shoulders and while he performed a degree better than his 2011 game in Michigan Stadium, his two interceptions were both very damaging, as Michigan scored a touchdown off one and effectively ended the game on the other.

The Irish get Purdue back in South Bend on Saturday.  Game recap for Michigan coming early next week.

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