If one man could single-handedly win a football game, Everett Golson did just that.
Notre Dame's senior quarterback could do no wrong throughout Saturday's game, seemingly allowing his offense to do whatever he wanted against a defensive back group who did not have Jabrill Peppers see game action and Raymon Taylor missing most of the game with an undisclosed injury. Golson led the Irish with 23 completions for 226-yards and 3 touchdowns in a 31-0 blow-out over rival Michigan. It was the first time since 1984 that Michigan (1-1) had been shutout.
"I think that he's (Golson) matured," said Michigan coach Brady Hoke. "I think I said that this week coming in, he's a much better quarterback than he was two years ago. Just watching the Rice game, I would say the same thing after watching our game."
In a game where the score was so lopsided, Michigan out-gained the Irish 289-280.
"We lost a lot of momentum," senior quarterback Devin Gardner said. "Football is a game of momentum and we lost a lot of it. Not converting on third downs, we missed a lot of third downs. We did a lot of good things in stretches, it may not seem like it with the score. We did a lot of good things. We are going to put this behind us, it's only the second game of the season."
Gardner, who had a solid game statistically week one, seemed to revert to his old form throughout the game. Throwing two interceptions on two poor throws and losing a fumble, it was the key plays the Irish needed to make a difference in the game.
"One (interception) was a miscommunication I know for sure," Gardner said. "Another one might've been trying to do a little bit too much. When the game gets out of hand you got to try to do as much as you can to try and win the game."
Leading 21-0 at halftime, Notre Dame didn't let Michigan off the hook by letting them back into the game. Quite the opposite, by scoring an easy 12-yard touchdown pass from Golson to receiver Amir Carlisle to make the score 28-0, the Irish effectively put the game out of reach. It would also go on to kick a field goal to make the score 31-0.
"I feel like sometimes we made plays and sometimes we didn't," senior linebacker Jake Ryan said. "It's got to be a basis of every single time we make a play. Keep going as an offense, keep going as a defense and stick together."
Early in the game, Michigan would have two lengthy drives stall due to senior kicker Matt Wile missing two field-goals. It was the closest the Wolverines would get to scoring during the entire contest. The lone bright spot, arguably, was junior receiver Devin Funchess. Seeing a team high nine receptions, he finished with 107-yards.
The Irish would answer back with drives of their own. A one-yard Cam McDaniel run would open up the scoring to make it 7-0 Notre Dame. The Irish would also go on to score twice in the second quarter to increase its lead to 21.
"We will bounce back," Hoke said. "Because this is a very resilient, hard working group of young men who know what it takes to win."
With the running game working so well last week, the Wolverines saw the same success disappear in an instant. Sophomore De'Veon Smith, Michigan's leading rusher, finished the game with 31-yards on seven carries. Smith's counterpart, Derrick Green, gained 28 yards on 13 carries and averaged about 2-yards per carry.
No matter how they spin it, the Wolverines were thoroughly embarrassed Saturday night.
"It's embarrassing," redshirt junior center Jack Miller said. "It's definitely not the way we wanted to end this series and go out and perform tonight. But it's over with, we're fresh off it and it hurts but all we can can do is move forward next week and try to be better.
"Like Coach Hoke said, it's a long season. By no stretch of the imagination are we down and out."
Saturday's meeting was the last time Michigan and Notre Dame will face each other in the foreseeable future.
Michigan will head back home to Ann Arbor to face the Miami (OH.) Redhawks on Sept. 13 at 3:30 p.m.