Sept. 15, 2007
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – Michigan took care of Mike Hart’s guarantee with ease.
Hart ran for 187 yards on 35 carries and scored two touchdowns, and Ryan Mallett threw for three scores, leading the Wolverines to a 38-0 win over Notre Dame on Saturday.
Michigan handed the Fighting Irish their worst loss since beating them by the same score in 2003.
The Wolverines (1-2) avoided their first 0-3 start in seven decades.
Notre Dame (0-3) is winless after three games for just the second time in school history, putting coach Charlie Weis in unwanted company with Bob Davie.
The Fighting Irish have lost five straight for the first time since the 1985-86 seasons, Gerry Faust’s last year and Lou Holtz’s first.
In an unprecedented matchup of the storied programs, Michigan looked like it might not be that bad while the Fighting Irish appeared to be even worse than expected after losing to Penn State and Georgia Tech by a combined 51 points.
Hart backed up his prediction of a win with a sensational performance, even against a defense stacked to stop him. His freshman quarterback was efficient in his first career start.
Michigan’s defense suddenly was swarming to the football after giving up 73 points in losses to Appalachian State and Oregon.
Freshman Jimmy Clausen was 11-of-17 for just 74 yards and an interception. He was sacked seven times, leading to Notre Dame’s rushing total of minus-6.
Notre Dame prevented Clausen from taking more abuse in the fourth quarter, and had to use Evan Sharpley because backup quarterback Demetrius Jones stunned the team by not showing up for a team meal or the bus trip to Ann Arbor on Friday. Fittingly, Sharpley threw an interception just as it seemed that Notre Dame might avoid a shutout.
The Fighting Irish did move the ball enough on the ground on their final drive, however, to avoid breaking their school record of minus-12 yards rushing.
In three games, Notre Dame’s offense hasn’t scored.
Mallett was asked to throw just 15 times, and he connected on seven passes for 90 yards and TDs to receivers Mario Manningham, Adrian Arrington and Greg Matthews.
Senior quarterback Chad Henne, who had started each of his 39 games at Michigan, is out with what appears to be a knee injury. Coach Lloyd Carr has refused to give details, but Henne watched the game with a brace that seemed to be protecting his right knee.
It was ugly right from the start for Notre Dame.
The first snap sailed over running back Armando Allen’s head, and the Fighting Irish lost 27 yards on their first two drives.
Notre Dame fumbled five times in the first half, losing two of them, and Clausen threw an interception, helping Michigan take a 31-0 lead.
The Wolverines just coasted in the second half, perhaps ending their stay in the national spotlight.
For the first time since The Associated Press started ranking teams in 1936, Michigan and Notre Dame were both unranked. They also entered the game winless for the first time, not counting openers.
Hart guaranteed a win over Notre Dame soon after Oregon beat the Wolverines 39-7, handing them their worst loss since 1968, and a week after being upset by Appalachian State and becoming the butt of Jay Leno’s jokes.