Quarterback Everett Golson led Notre Dame to the 2013 BCS National Championship Game, then was suspended last season for academic reasons. He has returned at a high level this season.
Golson was 23-of-34 for 226 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday as the Irish blasted Michigan 31-0 in the last scheduled game between the schools for the foreseeable future. Golson has thrown for 521 yards, five TDs and no interceptions this season, and the Irish have outscored their two foes 79-17. He threw just 12 TD passes in 2012.
Michigan's NCAA-record streak of 365 games without being shut out ended; the last team to shut out the Wolverines had been Iowa, 26-0 on Oct. 20, 1984. Florida now is the current streak-holder at 323 games without being shut out.
"It was a total butt-kicking, all the way around," Michigan coach Brady Hoke told reporters after the loss on Saturday.
Golson looked sharp in the pocket and on rollouts, showing a nice arm and also some touch. In addition, he had some help, on both sides of the ball. Wide receivers Amir Carlisle and Will Fuller combined to make 16 receptions for 150 yards and three TDs. Their production stood out because the Irish rushing attack managed just 70 yards.
In short, for the Irish to move the ball, they had to throw, and Golson and his inexperienced receiving corps delivered. Coach Brian Kelly called 30 runs and 34 passes, and the balancing act kept Michigan's defense on its heels despite its success against the run.
The Irish's defense was dominant, especially up front. Michigan rushed for 350 yards against Appalachian State last week, an astounding amount for a team that struggled on the ground last season. Last week looks like a result of poor competition, though, as the Wolverines managed just 131 rushing yards against the Irish. Notre Dame also came up with three interceptions of Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, who threw for 189 yards and no touchdowns. He also was sacked three times. Michigan didn't run a play in the red zone in the entire game.
Touted Irish sophomore linebacker Jaylon Smith had 10 tackles, including one for loss, one of eight for the Irish. Junior defensive tackle Jarron Jones -- a first-year starter -- came up big, too, with six tackles, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry.