Notre Dame defensive back William David Williams, center, nearly blocks the punt of Michigan punter Zoltan Mesko (41) during the first quarter.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Irish Upset By Wolverines

Sept. 16, 2006

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – No. 11 Michigan finally put a Big Blue bruising on the second-ranked Fighting Irish in a 47-21 rout Saturday – the most points scored against Notre Dame at home in 46 years.

Chad Henne threw three touchdown passes to Mario Manningham, and the Wolverines intercepted Brady Quinn three times and shut down the rest of the Irish offense.

Prescott Burgess intercepted Quinn on the second play of the game to set the tone. The Wolverines were ahead 26-7 before the Irish had their initial first down.

The Wolverines (3-0) ended a two-game losing streak to Notre Dame (2-1) as well as a three-game slide at Notre Dame Stadium. The 47 points were second only to the 51 scored at Notre Dame by Purdue in 1960.

It was a huge win for Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, who had been under fire for failing to win big games the past two seasons – twice in bowl games, and twice each to Notre Dame and Ohio State. Carr, though, improved to 4-1 against No. 2 teams and 16-6 against Top 10 teams.

For Notre Dame, the loss was another setback on its road to restore its storied program. In 2000, there was a 41-9 loss to Oregon State in the Fiesta Bowl when the Irish were No. 10; three years ago it was a 38-0 loss to Michigan; and last year it was a 34-20 loss to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl when the Irish were ranked No. 4.

It was just the eighth time the Irish have given up at least 40 points at home.

The Wolverines jumped on Notre Dame mistakes, including a pass that sailed through the hands of tight end John Carlson to Burgess, who returned it 31 yards for a touchdown. Then Manningham was left open for a 69-yard touchdown catch and David Grimes fumbled a kickoff return that set up a 2-yard TD run by Mike Hart, who finished with 124 yards on 31 carries.

Henne then threw TD passes of 20 and 22 yards to Manningham to make it 34-7. The 34 points were the most allowed in a half by Notre Dame since 1998 when the Irish gave up 42 points in the first half in a 45-3 loss at Michigan State.

The 34 first-half points by an opponent were the most since Purdue scored 45 in its’ 51-19 win in 1960.

Quinn, touted as the Heisman Trophy favorite, was just 3-of-13 passing for 14 yards before going 7-of-7 for 71 yards in leading the Irish to a touchdown drive just before halftime, cutting the score to 34-14.

Michigan held Notre Dame to 4 yards rushing on 17 carries and 245 total offense, 1 yard more than the Irish had against Michigan last season in their worst offensive output under Charlie Weis. The difference Saturday is Notre Dame gained most of its yards well after the game was decided.

Notre Dame’s two top receivers, Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight, didn’t have their first catches until Michigan was ahead 34-7.

Hart had his third straight 100-yard game. The Wolverines improved to 12-1 in games when he runs for 100 or more yards.

It also was a big day for Henne, who last season was heavily criticized for his performance in Notre Dame’s 17-10 victory.

Henne got off to a rocky start Saturday, throwing a pass that was picked off by Chinedum Ndukwe. Ndukwe returned it 51 yards to the Michigan 4 to set up Notre Dame’s first score. But he finished the day 12-of 22 for 220 yards.

Quinn, who has never had a big game against Michigan, struggled again. He threw three interceptions and fumbled a ball that LaMarr Woodley returned 54 yards for a touchdown. He was 24-of-48 for 234 yards.