Big Blue Dismantle Fighting Irish: Still Have Much To Prove

Julie ReichlmayrContributor ISeptember 16, 2009

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 12:  Quarterback Tate Forcier #5 of Michigan gets congratulated by teammate Darryl Stonum #22 after Forcier scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter against Notre Dame at Michigan Stadium on September 12, 2009 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Domenic Centofanti/Getty Images)

Quarterback and true freshman Tate Forcier perfectly summarized his game-time performance after a spectacular 38-34 win for the Wolverines: “I don’t get nervous.”

And thank goodness for that. In comparison to the thousands of fans at the edge of their seats during the entire game, it’s fortunate that at least one guy—the guy, I should say—was able to maintain composure.

I cannot help but compare that game to a rollercoaster—the ups and downs were almost too much to handle. The kind of ride where it’s not until the end that you realize how much fun it really was.

Michigan nabbed the second possession first score of the game. Review of a 40-yard touchdown run by junior halfback Armando Allen, who stepped out of bounds, voided pass from Jimmy Clausen. The Irish settled with a field goal.

A beautiful, field-length run by Darryl Stonum secured an early 14-3 lead by Michigan.   Another early start for the Wolverines—the game looked promising even this early on.

- The coaster gains momentum.

A touchdown pass to Michael Floyd and a field goal later, the Irish had aggregated 14 unanswered points. 

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- You know the pit-of-your-stomach rush you get when inching closer to the top of a huge coaster? I think every Michigan fan had that feeling at this point in the game.

In the final minutes of the first half, Denard Robinson and Tate Foricer worked furiously to gain yardage until Jason Olesnavage was able to bring the Wolverines within 3 points of the Irish leading into the 3rd quarter.

-  And the coaster coasts within inches of the final descent.

The Wolverines began the second half with intensity. A 60+ yard drive, in a little more than 3 minutes, brought the Wolverines to a 31-20 lead into the 4th. After an Irish touchdown and failed two-point conversion, Forcier than made one of few mistakes during the game and landed a pass to the Irish, who answered with yet another touchdown.

-  BAM. The fans are flying down a hill at what seems a million miles per hour—with no end in sight.

Big Blue refused to let the Irish lead for long—Forcier’s touchdown pass to Greg Mathews in the final 11 seconds of the game secured a hard-fought, whirlwind win for the Michigan Wolverines.

-  And the cart slams to a standstill. You refocus, wait for your stomach to re-set, and can’t help but yell, “What a ride!”

The Wolverines deserved that victory against the Irish. A solid return appearance by Brandon Minor, and equally impressive play from Darryl Stonum, Kevin Koger, and of course, Tate Forcier, sealed a Michigan win in a close and highly-contested game.

Persistence in throwing air balls was incredibly haughty of the hyped Notre Dame team.  Although the Irish most likely did not go into the game with a push over mentality, this was a recapitulated slap in the face to Michigan.

Not enough, however, to shut down the undoubted “Forcier” behind the Michigan offensive, and ultimate Michigan victory.

If the Wolverines strengthen their defensive line, improve overall tackling, increase quarterback pressure, and get a few sacks here and there, there is no reason a 4-0 record cannot be achieved in the next couple weeks.

Anything can happen this season.

It is certain that Michigan will at the very least match their 2008 win total.  It is probable that they will achieve much more than that.

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