Jack Leniart: Michigan at Notre Dame, 2014
To effectively portray the sheer awesomeness that was this game, some context is needed. In the most recent stretch of consecutive seasons playing against each other, Notre Dame was 5-7 against Michigan heading into the 2014 season.
Before the start of the 2013 season, Notre Dame announced that they would remove Michigan from the schedule after 2014. This decision was made in large part to make room on the schedule for ACC opponents as a part of the University’s deal with the conference. In response to this news, the head coach of Michigan at the time, Brady Hoke, said that Notre Dame was “chickening out” of the rivalry.
When the two teams met in 2013, Michigan won by a final score of 41-30 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. After the clock hit zero and the Michigan band finished playing their annoying fight song, the “Chicken Dance” blared throughout the Big House.
Fast forward to 2014. A raucous crowd gathers in South Bend to watch two legendary college football programs play under the lights in Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish took the lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
Michigan was shut out for this first time in 30 years. Brian VanGorder’s defense forced 4 turnovers and sacked Devin Gardner 3 times, which prompted my father to text me, “Now that’s what a real defense looks like.”
The energy inside the stadium never dwindled. Every fan in attendance wanted to lift the players up and make certain that Notre Dame had the last laugh before the series was put on hold. With a few minutes left in the game, the student section began to serenade the Michigan Wolverines.
“Na na na na. Na na na na. Hey hey hey. Good-bye.” It quickly caught on and soon enough the whole stadium joined in.
Officially, the final score of the game was 31-0. However, if you ask literally any Notre Dame fan what the final score of the game was, they will say it was 37-0. On the final play of regulation, Devin Gardner threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. However, the play was nullified by a penalty.