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The Notre Dame Road Stadium Tour: Michigan Stadium

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Michigan Stadium is large.
Michigan Stadium is large.

Notre Dame will be playing in six road stadiums this year and Michigan Stadium will be the first of the 2011 season. This also brings us to the end of the Notre Dame Road Stadium Tour as the stars have aligned perfectly to bring this to you the week of the matchup versus the Wolverines of Ann Arbor.

If you've missed any of the previous installments, click on the names below:

Heinz Field

Ross-Ade Stadium

Stanford Stadium

FedEx Field

BB&T Field

Now, we go to the Big House....

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Opened: 1927

Capacity: 109,901

Surface: FieldTurf

  • Before Michigan played in the Big House, they hosted opponents at Ferry Field. Notre Dame was 1-1 against the Wolverines in their old home. Before Ferry Field opened (we're going way back in history now) the Irish were 0-3 on the road against Michigan.
  • Michigan Stadium originally cost $950,000 to build when it opened in 1927.
  • The Wolverines beat Ohio Wesleyan 33-0 in the first game inside Michigan Stadium.
  • Michigan's new reconfigured seating makes it the third largest non-racing stadium in the world, behind only May Day Stadium in North Korea and Salt Lake Stadium in India. As such, the Big House is the largest stadium by capacity in the United States and in all of college football.
  • Last year, a $226 million renovation of the stadium was complete, making that renovation over twice as expensive as Stanford's new stadium in Palo Alto, California.
  • The home opener last year against Connecticut in the post-renovation era, set a NCAA-record for attendance with 113,090. You can bet that mark will be challenged this year during Michigan's first-ever night game when Notre Dame comes to town.
  • Every home game for Michigan since November 1975 has featured at least 100,000 people in attendance, a streak of over 200 games.
  • The Big Chill at the Big House, a NCAA game between Michigan and Michigan State, set a world record for most spectators to watch a hockey game. 104,173 watched the Wolverines shut out the Spartans 5-0.
  • Electronic scoreboards were installed in 1930, the first ever used in the country. The university has built two massive new scoreboards that are ready for use in 2011.
  • For the first 47 years of its use, the Big House was covered in natural grass. In 1969, they switched to artificial turf. In 1991, they switched back to natural grass. However, since 2003 Michigan made yet another switch and currently uses FieldTurf.
  • Notre Dame Stadium was built in likeness of Michigan Stadium, which in turn was built in the likeness of the Yale Bowl.
  • Notre Dame is 6-8 all-time inside Michigan Stadium, but did not play at the Big House for 18 years after it was built.
  • The first game Notre Dame played inside Michigan Stadium in 1943, was also the very first No. 1 vs. No. 2 game in AP history. On that day, the top ranked Fighting Irish would defeat the Wolverines 35-12. Michigan would then refuse to play Notre Dame for another 35 years.

  • The Irish have currently lost their last two games at the Big House and are 1-5 in their last six appearances in Ann Arbor.
  • For Irish coaches who have played more than one game inside Michigan Stadium: Faust 0-2, Holtz 3-1, Davie 0-2, and Weis 1-2.
  • Notre Dame has been ranked in 12 out of their 14 visits to the Big House---Michigan has been ranked 11 times.
  • 2007 was the only time both the Irish and Wolverines came into the game at Michigan Stadium unranked.
  • Notre Dame has been ranked No. 1 in the country entering Michigan Stadium on three occasions: In 1943 with Leahy, 1981 with Faust, and 1989 with Holtz. The latter game was also another No. 1 vs. No. 2 game, an Irish 24-19 victory. That was also Michigan coach Bo Schembechler's last season---he retired without a national title.
  • Michigan has been ranked in the top 10 an astonishing 10 times out of the 14 visits Notre Dame has made to Ann Arbor in games played at the Big House.