ANN ARBOR, Mich. — On a rain-soaked evening, the eighth-ranked Notre Dame football program found struggled to find an offensive identity, falling to No. 19 Michigan 45-14 at Michigan Stadium.
The Wolverines outgained the Irish 437-180, including 303 rushing yards where the Irish had allowed an average of just 155.0 rushing yards per game entering the contest.
Quarterback Ian Book finished 8-of-25 passing for 73 yards and a touchdown. In relief, sophomore Phil Jurkovec finished with 60 yards and a touchdown on 3-of-4 passing. Linebacker Drew White totaled a career-high 11 tackles to lead the Irish defense.
How It Happened
Each team got extra chances thanks to special teams miscues on their opening drives, but it was Michigan that capitalized first. Though Michigan was flagged for roughing the kicker on Notre Dame’s first punt attempt, the Irish couldn’t convert on the fresh set of downs and Jay Bramblett pinned the Wolverines at their own seven-yard line.
The Irish forced a three-and-out on the next series, and even blocked the ensuing punt from the Wolverines’ endzone. The ball skittered to the Michigan 38, where Jonathan Jones attempted to cover the loose ball. After a scrum, however, the Wolverines emerged with possession and ultimately settled for a field goal with 5:25 left in the first quarter after driving to the Irish two-yard line.
That lead quickly ballooned to 17-0 as the Wolverines found the end zone on their next two possessions, dominating in the running game where Notre Dame couldn’t find any offensive rhythm. Michigan racked up 167 rushing yards, while the Irish amassed just 52 total yards in the first half.
Notre Dame got on the board late in the third quarter when Book found tight end Cole Kmet for a wide-open touchdown after a pass interference penalty extended the Irish drive. Instead of the three-and-out, the Irish put together a seven-play, 57-yard drive pull within 17-7 with 5:27 left in the third.
Michigan had an answer. With the help of a pair of pass interference calls against the Irish, the Wolverines marched 75 yards in six plays, culminating in a Shea Patterson touchdown pass to Jonathan Peoples-Jones to make it 24-7 inside the three-minute mark of the third quarter.
The Wolverines added three more touchdowns in the fourth quarter before Jurkovec gave the Irish their second touchdown on a 14-yard toss to Javon McKinley with 3:45 left in the game.
- Representing Notre Dame at the coin toss were captains Khalid Kareem (a Michigan native), Julian Okwara (his brother, Romeo, plays for the Detroit Lions), Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott. The Irish won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.
- With 14 pass attempts by Michigan, it marked the fewest by an Irish opponent since Navy attempted just six passes (completing three) in a 41-24 Notre Dame win on Oct, 10, 2015. The last school other than a military academy to attempt fewer than 20 passes in a game against Notre Dame was NC State, as the Wolfpack went 7-for-14 passing in a game played during Hurricane Matthew in Raleigh on October 8, 2016.
- Three current members of the Notre Dame football program have now started at the quarterback position against Michigan: Sr. Associate Athletics Director (Football) Ron Powlus, quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees and current QB Ian Book. Both Powlus and Rees started against the Wolverines on two occasions and Rees saw action in four games.
- With 11 tackles in the game, Drew White set a new career-high (previously seven vs. Virginia).