In Michigan’s send off of archrival Notre Dame the Wolverines, not only handed the Irish a defeat but blared the “Chicken Dance” song right after the last snap.
The two college football staples have played since 1887—two years after the first gas automobile was developed. However, the Irish opted out of their contract with Michigan, making next year’s game in South Bend, Ind., the last guaranteed matchup.
An NCAA-record crowd of 115,109 in Ann Arbor, Mich., celebrated the No. 17 Wolverines fourth straight home victory against No. 14 Notre Dame, 41-30. The electrifying game was also selected the Week 2 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of theYear contest.
Leading Michigan was quarterback Devin Gardner, who threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 82 yards and a score. His main target was Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon, who had career highs with three TDs and 184 yards receiving.
Notre Dame pulled within a TD early in the fourth quarter when defensive end Stephon Tuitt made a diving interception in the end zone of a pass Gardner was trying to throw away to avoid a safety. Then Irish kicker Kyle Brindza nailed a 40-yard field goal with 9:15 left to pull Notre Dame within four points, 34-30.
However, Gardner sealed the victory with a 4-yard TD pass to Drew Dileo that put the Wolverines ahead for good, 41-30, with 4:18 left.
A national panel of experts selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest. Each week’s winner is considered for the award honoring the best College Football Game of the Year at the end of the season. Last season’s winner was Texas A&M’s 29-24 shocking upset of Alabama in a Southeastern Conference showdown.
This committee is currently chaired by Jack Lengyel, the former athletic director at the United States Naval Academy. Lengyel was also a college football coach best known for being the head coach who resurrected the Marshall University football program, as depicted in the 2006 film, “We Are Marshall.”
Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy, also known as America’s Sports University, donates the painting and $5,000 to the general scholarship fund of the annual winner.