Rick Leach scores in 1978 | gobluefootballhistory.com Go Blue Game Day

Game Day September 1, 2018 – Michigan at Notre Dame

Posted on August 31, 2018 by Barry Gallagher

Yes, it’s finally Game Day – the long-awaited Michigan at Notre Dame game is finally here. Well, not exactly since we have to wait until 7:30 pm tonight.

Is it just me?  Or, has it taken waaaaay too long for September 1st to get here in 2018? Today’s game marks the beginning of year four under Coach Jim Harbaugh. This game has all the hype associated with a top tier bowl game and it’s only the first game of the year for both teams. Personally, I think it’s the BIGGEST game of the day in college football. Michigan hasn’t had this much excitement for a season opener in quite a few years.

Game days are always special days for Wolverine fans and today is no different. Michigan starts season number one-hundred thirty-nine with the usual pressure of great expectations surrounding Jim Harbaugh and his talented Wolverines. If you want all the pre-game hype information there are many fine websites that you can go to for that information.

At Go Blue Football History, we will stick to the history of what has already happened on this day in Michigan Football and how they have fared against today’s opponent – the University of Notre Dame.

Calendar History: The University of Michigan has played a total of three games on the first day of September. So far, the results haven’t been that great. Here is the very short history about Michigan Football on September 1st.

  • September 1, 2001. Michigan’s first game on this date took place in the Big House. The Wolverines defeated Miami of Ohio by a score of 31-13.
  • September 1, 2007. Michigan’s second game on September 1st also took place in Ann Arbor. Unfortunately, the result was very upsetting as Appalachian State ruined the opening day football party with a 34-32 upset win over the fifth-ranked Wolverines.
  • September 1, 2012. Michigan’s third game was not an upset. Instead, it was an old-fashioned butt-kicking in Dallas. Final score: Alabama 41 and Michigan 14.

Today’s game provides the Wolverines with an opportunity to get back on the winning track on this date and even their record at 2 wins and 2 losses on September 1st.

Series History: Today’s game marks the forty-third contest between two of the top programs in the history of college football. It will be the twenty-first game that these two rivals have played in South Bend.

Michigan owns the bragging rights in the series with a record of 24 wins, 17 losses and 1 tie. However, the Wolverines are on the other side of the ledger when playing in South Bend with a record of 9 wins, 10 losses and 1 tie.

The first game between Michigan and Notre Dame took place at South Bend on November 23, 1887. The last series game also took place in South Bend in 2014 (0-31 loss). Michigan’s last win in Notre Dame Stadium took place in 2010. Yes, that was the game when Denard Robinson put on a record-setting show in front of the Irish fans. The Wolverines won 28-14 and Denard recorded the longest run (87-yards) in the history of Notre Dame Stadium. What a run!

History is definitely on Michigan’s side in this series, but not so much in South Bend. The average score of a Michigan-Notre Dame game in South Bend is 20.6 for Michigan and 21.3 for the Irish.

Here is a quick summary of the last six wins in the Michigan at Notre Dame Series:

1)      1942 – Michigan 32 ND 20. Running back Tom Kuzma scored two touchdowns and quarterback George Ceithaml ran for another. The Wolverines punished the Irish defenders with over 300-yards on the ground in the first series game since 1909.

2)      1978 – Michigan 28 ND 14. Rick Leach led Michigan to a solid win in the second “resumption” of the series. Leach played on a bad ankle, but you wouldn’t know it. He ran for a touchdown (see photo above) and threw for three more (2 to Doug Marsh and 1 to Ralph Clayton). Yes, Rick Leach played like an All-American that day. Just like he did all season long!

3)      1986 – Michigan 24 ND 23. Jim Harbaugh records his second straight win over the Irish in the closest game in the history of the series, so far. Harbaugh (an All-American in 1986) was very efficient (15 of 23) with 239-yards in the air and the game winning touchdown to Jamie Morris. The shifty Morris also ran for two scores to help the Wolverine cause. Michigan’s defense forced three turnovers and made some BIG plays when they had to.

4)      1994 – Michigan 26 ND 24. Todd Collins led #6 Michigan to an upset win over the third-ranked Irish. Collins threw for one touchdown to tight end Jay Riemersma. Tim Biakabutuka also scored on a six-yard run. Remy Hamilton kicked four field goals and the last one (42-yards) is the game winner with two seconds on the clock. Right down the middle-Go Blue!

5)      2006 – Michigan 41 ND 27. The highest scoring game in series history went to the Wolverines. Chad Henne threw three touchdown passes to Mario Manningham. Mike Hart turned 31-carries into 124-yards and one touchdown. Michigan’s defense scored the first and last touchdowns of the game (Lamar Woodley returned a fumble for Prescott Burgess returned an interception for a 31-yard score in the first quarter and Lamar Woodley went 51-yards with a recovered fumble). Garrett Rivas added two field goals and five extra points. HUGE WIN!

Thanks to M GoBlue TV for this record setting video!

6)      2010 – Michigan 28 ND 24. The Denard Robinson Show debuts in South Bend and it’s a BIG hit with Wolverine fans.  Robinson rolls up 502-total yards as he runs and passes at will against the turtle-slow Irish defense. The highlight of the game was Denard’s 87-yard scoring run – the longest touchdown run in the history of Notre Dame Stadium.

Denard Robinson 2010 | gobluefootballhistory.com

Denard Robinson put on a memorable performance in Michigan’s last win in the “Little House.” Who will do it tonight? Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Yes, some of greatest Wolverines have stepped up with big days and big plays when it’s Michigan at Notre Dame. Let’s hope that trend continues! Michigan has many players who are capable of some memorable performances in this very important game.


The football programs at Michigan and Notre Dame have both been very good for a very long time. Notre Dame is the higher ranked team (#12) heading into this all-important season opener. At the time of this writing, they are a one-point favorite over the #14 ranked Wolverines. However, I think things will go Michigan’s way at Notre Dame’s “Little House.” Shea Patterson will make plenty of plays and the running game will keep the Irish defense off-balance. Michigan’s defense will be downright “nasty” and Brandon Wimbush will spend most of the evening running for his life.

My Prediction:

I disagree with many of the “experts” on this one. Michigan defeats Notre Dame by a score of 34-10. Shea Patterson leads the Michigan offense and the defense punishes the Golden Domers. Go Blue!


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