Michigan dominates the Irish

Michigan's last victory against the Fighting Irish on Sep. 7, 2013.

Michigan's last victory against the Fighting Irish on Sep. 7, 2013.

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With 2:01 remaining, the Michigan Wolverines had stormed back against the No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions. After being down 21-0, Shea Patterson had brought the Wolverines all the way back to within 7. The score was 28-21 in State College as the crowd rose to their feet for the Wolverines fourth and goal from the Penn State three yard line.

As the play clock wound down to two seconds, Patterson received the snap. The six man Nittany Lion pass rush was swarming as Patterson dropped back in the pocket. With the Nittany Lion defense quickly approaching, Patterson lept and threw a dart to wide receiver Ronnie Bell.

It slipped through his fingers. Turnover on downs, the Wolverines lose yet another heartbreaker in the Harbaugh era.

Tears were shed by Bell when the realization came that the loss would erase any chance that the Wolverines would’ve had of winning a Big Ten Championship or being admitted into the College Football Playoff.

As the emotions settled and the week went by, the Wolverines had no time to rest as they prepared to face another top ten opponent, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

On Sept. 1, 2018, the maize and blue took the field “under the lights” in Notre Dame –– Patterson’s first game for the Wolverines. The unfamiliar transfer quarterback struggled, leading to the Irish winning by a score of 24-17.

Over a year later, Patterson is in his senior year for the Wolverines, and he is hoping to get his revenge against the Irish. This game was again “under the lights,” but this time it took place in Ann Arbor in anything but ideal conditions. It was a cold, rainy night as the teams took the field in the top 20 matchup.

The No. 8 ranked Irish began with the football, and with an offense led by quarterback Ian Book. In part due to the weather, the Irish were unsuccessful on their first drive, and they were forced to punt the ball to the Wolverines.

After a three and out, a similar result seemed to be inevitable as the punt team trotted onto the field for the Wolverines. Only the Irish partially blocked Will Hart’s punt causing the ball to become live, for either team to recover. Wolverine freshman sensation Dax Hill jumped on the ball immediately, gaining possession for the home team.

Patterson and the rest of the Wolverine offense did not squander this second chance. After a nine play, 65 yard drive, the offense was stopped on third and goal\; they were forced to settle for a field goal, giving the Wolverines a 3-0 lead.

The crowd was electric following the score, and the thousands inside of the big house didn’t seemed fazed in the slightest by the dreadful climate.

Following two straight completions on the Irish’s following possession, the punt team was back on the field, as the Wolverines took over at their 41 yard line.

The Wolverines began to assert their dominance up front as running backs Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonett were handed the ball again and again. As the Wolverines were able to rush for all eight plays for the possession, the Irish had no answer to the attack. The drive was eventually capped off by a seven yard touchdown run by Charbonnet, increasing the Wolverine lead to 10-0.

As the Irish received the ball, the Wolverine defense again forced a punt and Ian Book looked flustered by Don Brown’s defense. As the offense received the ball, the Irish again struggled to defend the Wolverines on the ground. This time the Wolverines did complete one pass for 12 yards, but still the result was the same. Another touchdown for the Wolverines, courtesy off a second touchdown run for Charbonnett, this time of only one yard.

After this, neither side seemed to be able to get anything going on offense until the half. As the halftime whistle transpired, Harbaugh and the Wolverines didn’t show any remorse whilst heading to the locker room as they hoped to put away their rivals as soon as possible.

As the third quarter began, both defensives dominated, leading to consecutive three and outs for both sides. But a defensive pass interference on third and ten against Don Brown’s defense gave the Irish the first first down of the half by either side. Book capitalized on this miscue, cutting the Wolverine lead to 17-7, via a seven yard touchdown pass to Cole Kmet.

The tide was beginning to shift, and Patterson needed to respond. After an incomplete pass, Haskins was handed the ball and took off. The Irish were finally able to bring him down after a 49 yard gain, setting the Wolverines up on the Irish 26 yard, threatening to increase their lead once again.

After two pass interference calls against the Irish, Patterson threw his first passing touchdown of the game to wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones. The seven yard score and a Jake Moody extra point increased the Wolverine lead increased to a score of 24-7.

After the third-down penalty gave the Irish their first points, the Wolverines played with discipline and it showed. The Irish offense only gained a total of nine yards following their touchdown, other than a garbage time score, in which the game had been all but won by the home team.

The Wolverine offense was having a party in Ann Arbor on Saturday night, as they were able to produce three straight touchdown drives to conclude the game, including a 26 yard touchdown pass by backup quarterback Dylan Mccafrey to freshman receiver Mike Sainristil.

As the clock hit zero, Harbaugh and the rest of Wolverines celebrated following their 45-14 domination against the Irish. The Wolverines will not face off against the Irish until 2033, and Ann Arborities were satisfied with this temporary ending to the rivalry.

Though the Wolverines hope to make a College Football Playoff may be gone, they still have four games remaining on their 2019 campaign: two of which are against their rivals, the Michigan State Spartans and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Until then, the Wolverines will travel to College Park to face the Maryland Terrapins next weekend, hoping to continue their momentum after this emotional victory.

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