No. 2. Chris Finke First-Quarter Touchdown vs Michigan
Going into the Michigan game, there was a laundry list of storylines to follow and pay attention to, and none of them included to watch for Chris Finke to “Moss” two Michigan defenders for a 43-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
After scoring on the first drive of the season, Notre Dame had converted two straight third downs and were driving on one of the nation’s top defenses. On 1st & 10 from Michigan’s 43-yard line, Brandon Wimbush rolled out right off of a play-action before setting his feet and throwing a bomb downfield.
For everyone watching at home, the sudden pan of the TV camera was hopefully going to reveal a wide open Chase Claypool or Miles Boykin, but instead showed Chris Finke in the endzone and completely blanketed by two defenders. I think I speak for everyone when I say that upon seeing that image, our fists clenched up and we began whispering “oh, no” as the ball sailed through the air for what seemed like an eternity.
Thankfully, Finke came up with the biggest play of his career to-date as he hauled in the 43-yard touchdown pass to give the Irish a 14-0 lead. Not only did the play continue the momentum for Notre Dame, it proved to be one of the most important scores of the game as the offense went cold in the second half, completing just two passes.
Brandon Wimbush was often criticized for throwing up passes and hoping for the best, but in this case it couldn’t have worked out better. The score set the tone for the game and kicked off what would be a career-year for Chris Finke, who would go on to triple his personal bests for receptions and yards in a season.