Michigan rides momentum after beating Notre Dame

Brady Hoke led Michigan to one of its greatest victories in a
storied history that spans 132 years – and includes a series
against Notre Dame that dates to 1887.

Denard Robinson threw two touchdown passes in the last 1:12,
including the winner against the Fighting Irish with 2 seconds
left, in a game tough to top for entertainment.

The Wolverines’ 35-31 victory was filled with a slew of miscues
in front of an NCAA-record, pompom pumping crowd of 114,804 and a
national TV audience. But the first prime-time game at the Big
House that generated a lot of hype didn’t disappoint anyone not
rooting for Notre Dame.

Hoke got out of the stadium around 1:30 a.m. and went to sleep
about two hours later. That left him little time to enjoy the
win.

”Not really because we have a lot of work to do,” he said
Sunday. ”We have higher expectations. To build a team that can win
the Big Ten championship, we have a lot of things to fix.

”Obviously, it was a passionate night with great support from
the Michigan faithful that created a great atmosphere.”

Hoke refused to give into the buzz that left tens of thousands
of fans in their seats long after the final second ticked off the
clock just before midnight under a full moon.

”We’re a long way away,” Hoke said after getting off to a 2-0
start in charge of college football’s winningest team. ”You’re
going to get sick of me saying that, but we are. The expectation
for this program is way too high for us to think we’re where we
need to be.”

The Wolverines stayed out of The Associated Press poll Sunday,
leading the unranked teams receiving votes, heading into Saturday’s
home game against Eastern Michigan (2-0) and former Michigan
assistant Ron English.

Brian Kelly, meanwhile, is 0-2 in the second year with a program
that ranks No. 2 in winning percentage after starting the season
ranked No. 16 and high hopes. Notre Dame hosts Michigan State (2-0)
on Saturday.

”My mind – you don’t want to know what’s in it,” Kelly said in
his postgame news conference. ”It’s always thinking about every
situation. … I’m always thinking about the next situation,
talking about making a stop. Thirty seconds, I wasn’t feeling
comfortable.”

After going ahead 31-28 on Tommy Rees’ second TD pass to Theo
Riddick with a half-minute remaining, Notre Dame inexplicably left
Jeremy Gallon wide open for a 64-yard reception on the second snap
of the final drive to let the Wolverines get in position to
win.

Robinson lofted the ball into the end zone one play later –
after Hoke went for the win instead of attempting a field goal to
force overtime – and Roy Roundtree leaped to snag it to make
Michigan Stadium perhaps as loud as it has ever been.

”Every time you see this University of Michigan team, you’re
going to see a team that plays together and keeps fighting until
there’s zeros on the clock,” Robinson said after a jaw-dropping,
head-shaking 446-yards, five-score, three-interception
performance.

Desmond Howard still couldn’t believe what he just saw.

Howard was honored as the first ”Michigan Football Legend,” –
one of the many festivities planned in a heavily choreographed
night – and the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner was still in awe the
next day.

”It does not get any better than that,” Howard said Sunday.
”You won’t see anything like that again.”

The Irish ruined their chances to pull away from Michigan – when
they led 14-0 after a quarter and by 17 entering the fourth –
because Rees threw three interceptions and fumbled once, and Cierre
Wood contributed to them turning the ball over five times for the
second straight week.

Notre Dame had its way with the Wolverines on the ground,
through the air and on defense for much of the game.

When the game was on the line, the Irish couldn’t stop Robinson
and his receivers, who bailed out their quarterback by leaping to
catch up-for-grab lobs.

The sensational athlete with a knack for making plays overcame
his largely lackluster performance from the first three
quarters.

”We played as a team,” Robinson said. ”It’s not just
me.”

Robinson probably will get a chance to play another game in
prime time at home next season as a senior because the first game
under the lights in Ann Arbor didn’t lead to a spike in
problems.

”We’re going to have another night game in the future,”
athletic director Dave Brandon said Sunday night. ”It was a
rousing success in terms of the way our fans embraced the
opportunity and the fact that the number of shenanigans was at a
normal level.”

There were 14 arrests, mostly for disorderly conduct, seven
citations, including four for bringing alcohol into the stadium,
and 20 people were ejected from the stadium, according to Diane
Brown of the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety.
The spokeswoman said the total of arrests, citations and ejections
was in line with a game that started at 3:30 p.m. EDT, adding one
fan went into cardiac arrest and was hospitalized in critical
condition.

On the other side of the country, former Michigan assistant
coach Jack Harbaugh watched the game with his son, Jim, the former
Wolverines QB and San Francisco 49ers coach, who potentially
could’ve replace Rich Rodriguez instead of Hoke in January.

”That may be the greatest football game that I’ve ever
witnessed,” Harbaugh said Sunday before the Seattle-San Francisco
game. ”What a minute and 30 seconds. And the poise of Brady Hoke,
unknown to mankind. There were 110,000 people screaming, back and
forth we go, and this guy stands there and … well he did have a
drop of sweat on his brow.”

AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to
this report.

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at www.twitter.com/larrylage