At Michigan, players are defined by their performances in rivalry games.
Jeremy Gallon went out under the lights, in front of 115,109 fans, the largest crowd in Michigan Stadium history and put his stamp on Saturday's 41-30 win over Notre Dame.
For much of his career, Denard Robinson was the focal point of the Wolverine offense. But when injuries forced Devin Gardner under center last year, things changed.
During the final five games of of the 2012 campaign, Jeremy Gallon emerged as the Wolverines’ top playmaker with 31 catches for 511 yards.
And it looks like Gallon has no intentions of slowing down.
Gallon showed himself worthy not only of the spotlight on the college football’s biggest stage, but also of the iconic jersey number he wears. He had a career day, setting personal bests right and left, with eight catches for 184 yards and three touchdowns for a blistering 23-yard per reception average.
He also had an additional 14 yards rushing.
Gallon, wearing the No. 21 jersey made famous by Wolverine Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard, dazzled the fans at Michigan Stadium and baffled the Notre Dame defense.
With tonight’s performance Gallon has established himself as the Wolverines’ top receiving threat and as a player who opposing defenses need to account for on every down—whether he is going out for a pass or carrying the ball out of the backfield.
Even with Notre Dame pressuring Devin Gardner throughout the game, using a variety of stunts on the defensive line alongside blitzes, he consistently found Gallon for big plays.
Gallon scored the first touchdown of the game for the Wolverines with a 61-yard reception in the first quarter. He then added two more touchdowns, a 12-yard reception in the second quarter and 13-yard catch in the third quarter.
The only thing that prevented him from inflicting more damage on the Irish was an apparent leg injury late in the fourth quarter. Gallon returned to the field but was more decoy than a threat after the injury.
With Notre Dame “withdrawing” from future games at the Big House, it will be a long time before a Wolverine player has the opportunity to beat the Irish in college football’s biggest stadium.
While the game wasn’t as dramatic as the last time these teams played under the lights, Gallon gave Wolverine fans memories that will last until the next time these teams meet here—whenever that may be.