It's never an easy game. It's never free of turnovers. It's never without drama late in the game. In the sequel to 'Under The Lights,' Michigan was able to bend but not break, on it's way to a 41-30 victory over Notre Dame.
Before going under the lights at Michigan Stadium, there was a morning full of festivities, via ESPN's College Gameday. The Wolverine fans were on hand early to see all of the action live in Ann Arbor. Michigan's own Desmond Howard was the main man, showing up on everything from ESPN to even ABC's Good Morning America.
Its fun to see how much this crowd loves @DesmondHoward— Wright Thompson (@wrightthompson) September 7, 2013
Later on, it was time for the lights to come on and there was a surprise in store for the fans of Michigan. #98 was the latest number to be given the 'Michigan Football Legend,' honor. The number was in recognition of the late-great Tom Harmon. None other than QB1 himself, Devin Gardner, came out with his new number and surprised all of the world. It's the kind of number you would typically see worn by a lineman but Gardner was honored to put on #98 for the rest of his Michigan days.
Devin Gardner will now wear No. 98 in honor of Tom Harmon, "Michigan Football Legend": pic.twitter.com/zQ4jKx6OVO— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) September 8, 2013
#17 Michigan came into the game on the same level as #14 Notre Dame, depending on which "expert" you were listening to. Lee Corso himself chose The Fighting Irish to take home the W and it appeared that the national media wasn't leaning one way or another. It seemed, like usual, that this game was going to be a close one and if anything, the perception was that maybe Notre Dame would try to redeem themselves for their last Michigan visit. "Regional rivalry," or whatever you want to call it, this game is a guaranteed dose of suspense, year in and year out.
Before a record-setting crowd of 115,109, Michigan and Notre Dame played a game that wasn't as suspenseful as the original 'Under The Lights,' game two years ago, but the game didn't disappoint.
OH MY GOODNESS! #NDvsMICH— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 8, 2013
#Michigan packed in the largest crowd EVER to watch a college football game. 115,109 in attendance to see the Wolverines play the Irish.— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 8, 2013
Gardner played a superb game in front of a national audience, with the exception of one inexcusable interception. Gardner was constantly under pressure from the best defensive line in all of college football. Michigan's youth on the offensive line was never more evident than Saturday night, when Gardner had to constantly move out of the pocket and use his long strides to break away from pressure. Gardner's interception for a pick-six in the second half is the type of mistake that should typically cause a team to lose a game. However, the Wolverines remained focused and Gardner and company left the mistake in the past. It's that type of mentality, a quick case of amnesia, that makes for a great leader at quarterback. Gardner would finish the game strong and display maturity in the process.
Congrats to UM and @dg1two on a huge win. Gonna be fun to watch that offense grow this year with you at the helm. Congrats bud.— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) September 8, 2013
Devin Gardner for Heisman? WHY NOT!!!— spike albrecht (@SpikeAlbrecht) September 8, 2013
Gardner hype is warranted. I knew he had big time talent but he has showed poise, versatility, & toughness. Go Blue shld be happy!— David Pollack (@davidpollack47) September 8, 2013
So Devin Gardner has thrown/run for 5 touchdowns...or what MSU calls "a season's worth"— Shawn (@DetTigerTalk) September 8, 2013
The quarterback position is a volatile one that gets all the praise and/or all of the blame, depending on the win-loss column. While Gardner is the one who gets feature pieces on ESPN, his other half of a dynamic duo is the one who should get more attention. Jeremy Gallon is a pound-for-pound, one of the best receivers in the country. Until Saturday night, he was the best receiver in college football that, nationally, wasn't be talked about. That's all a thing of the past now.
Gardner and Gallon have a unique chemistry on and off the field. All of the hard work that the two put in over the eight months has been evident on the football field and it's a dangerous 1-2 punch for the Wolverines. Gallon was unstoppable on Saturday night and it wasn't against inferior competition. Notre Dame has a talented defense and Gallon's ability to adjust his routes is a thing of beauty. Gallon had a career game against Notre Dame and it looks as though #98 and #21 are on their way to becoming legends of their own for the Wolverines.
Devin Gardner goes 21-33, 294 Yds, 4 TD, 1 Rush TD as Michigan beats Notre Dame, 41-30. WR Jeremy Gallon scores 3 TD. #NDvsMICH— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 8, 2013
98+21=6— Dylan Heiden (@Dheiden77) September 8, 2013
Deuce-one from Michigan is legit— LaMichael James (@LaMichaelJames) September 8, 2013
Devin Gardner: 21-33, 294 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT / 13 att, 82 yds, 1 TD | Jeremy Gallon: 8 catches, 184 yards, 3 TD— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) September 8, 2013
The Michigan defense is a work in progress that was opportunistic at times, but failed to pressure the quarterback consistently. Tommy Rees may have thrown two interceptions but for the Wolverines to play stellar defense when conference play begins, team #134 will need to sack the quarterback. Michigan has five sacks through it's first two games and Brennen Beyer is the leading the way with two. If Jake Ryan is about to return to action in October, Beyer's move back to the defensive line could lead to an increase in defensive pressure. Keep an eye on Michigan's ability to pressure the quarterback the next couple of weeks, as they play lesser competition before entering Big Ten play.
All in all, it was a great night to be a Michigan Wolverine. After the game, Coach Hoke and Gardner spoke about the good, the bad and the interception.
Brady Hoke is a perfect 16-0 at the Big House as head coach of Michigan.— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) September 8, 2013
Gardner called the end zone interception "a horrible decision" ..— MVictors (@MVictors) September 8, 2013
Devin on off potential: if I limit my mistakes, we can go as far as we want— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) September 8, 2013
What Hoke will remember from tonight: 1. Winning 2. 115,000+ fans 3. Honoring Tom Harmon— Chantel Jennings (@ChantelJennings) September 8, 2013
The past, present and future of the Michigan family was all over Twitter with their thoughts on the game. It was a good victory that was capped off with playing the 'Chicken Dance' song at the end of the game. Classy or not, it is surely a timely celebration. Enjoy the ride home Brian Kelly. What a game for recruits to come for a visit.
Drew Dileo (@TheRealDileo) September 8, 2013
Thanks for all the support. This is why you go to Michigan.— Graham Glasgow (@gglasgow61) September 8, 2013
Taylor Lewan (@TaylorLewan77) September 8, 2013
Denard Robinson (@DenardX) September 8, 2013
PARTY AT ZINGERMAN'S DELI— tommy tomlinson (@tommytomlinson) September 8, 2013