Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Recap, highlights and analysis of Fighting Irish football

UND.com: Irish Knock Off No. 8 Michigan, 28-20

Using the ingredients that vaulted the Fighting Irish to wins in Willingham's first eight games two years ago, Notre Dame used a stingy defense, an opportunistic offense and a key special teams play to beat Michigan 28-20 on Saturday. Willingham and the Irish have been the target for much criticism while losing 10 of 15 since that 8-0 start in 2002. Now, there's renewed hope in South Bend for a turnaround after a third straight win over Michigan in South Bend. The difference this time was an unexpected offensive star for the Irish.

Freshman Darius Walker, who didn't even play a week ago in a deflating loss to Brigham Young, ran for 115 yards on 31 carries and two fourth-quarter touchdowns. He is the first Notre Dame freshman to rush for more than 100 yards since Julius Jones had 146 yards against Navy in 1999.

"I didn't even know who that was running the ball," cornerback Marlin Jackson said. "He's a good player and he had a good game."

NY Times: After a Sloppy Start, the Irish Upset Michigan
South Bend Tribune: Did Gipper's ghost help dig up the echoes?
Chicago Sun Times: Irish players feel unity as chain gang
Chicago Sun Times: Irish looking to build on win
Chicago Tribune: Irish upset produces new life, new star

More Notre Dame coverage: The Backer (great name for an N.D. blog). Brand new N.D. Law student Brendan Loy has a blog and has pictures from the game. Robert Cox says the Irish earned it, LA2AL says Irish no longer have excuses, and Damn the Muse is pumped up.


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