Wolverines unable to finish comeback vs. Irish
By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Brandon Wimbush connected on a long touchdown pass to help No. 12 Notre Dame jump out to a big first-half lead, Te’von Coney and the defense made it stand with a late takeaway, and the Fighting Irish beat No. 14 Michigan 24-17 on Saturday night as the rivalry returned after a three-year hiatus.
A Green-out crowd welcomed the Wolverines back to Notre Dame Stadium and the Fighting Irish scored fast on their first two drives against a defense loaded with future NFL draft picks. Chris Finke hauled in a deep throw from Wimbush that went through a defender’s hands in traffic for a 43-yard score to put Notre Dame up 14-0 midway through the first half.
Jafar Armstrong’s second touchdown, a 4-yard run with 3:55 left in the second quarter made it 21-3. Ambry Thomas gave the Wolverines a much-needed jolted with a 99-yard touchdown on the ensuing kickoff, but otherwise the Michigan debut of quarterback Shea Patterson was mostly disappointing.
Michigan’s only offensive touchdown came with 2:18 left when Karan Higdon rushed in from 3 yards to pull within seven.
Patterson, the touted transfer from Mississippi, went 20 for 30 for 227 yards and faced steady pressure. Michigan got a final opportunity with 1:48 and got as far as its 45. Patterson was flushed out of the pocket, grabbed by Jerry Tillery and stripped by Khalid Kareem. Coney recovered the loose ball with 46 seconds and sealed Notre Dame’s second straight win against the Wolverines.
When they last met in 2014, Notre Dame snapped Michigan’s streak of 365 consecutive games without being shut out with a 31-0 win. That loss also marked the beginning of the end of Brady Hoke’s tenure as Michigan coach.
Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh does not come into this season fretting his job, but make no mistake his program could use a change in trajectory. The Wolverines are now 9-9 in their last 18 games and Michigan has dropped 17 straight road games against a ranked team, dating to 2006.