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


”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


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


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


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


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


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


”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


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