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Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Top 10 moments from 2012: No. 8

By Matt Fortuna

Today brings us to the eighth-most memorable moment from Notre Dame's 2012 season.

As always, my mailbag is open to hear your suggestions on rankings such as these.

Sept. 22, 2012: ND gets revenge on Robinson, UM in night win to cap perfect opening month (Stories here, here and here)

For a Notre Dame fans who watched Michigan quarterbacks rally to last-second wins over the Irish in each of the previous three years, this was perfect. The Irish forced Denard Robinson into the worst performance of his career — on his 22nd birthday, no less — as Shoelace turned it over five times to all but doom the Wolverines' chances.

Everett Golson wasn't much better himself, getting replaced by Tommy Rees early. But Rees came through again for the Irish, even rushing it in himself for the game's only touchdown. (Seriously, who predicted Rees to get more rushing touchdowns than Robinson?)

Michigan had a stretch in the first half of five straight passes getting picked off, as running back Vincent Smith tossed an interception to Nicky Baratti in the end zone.

The win made the Irish perfect through month No. 1, giving them their first 4-0 start in 10 years. At the time, the post-game celebration was considered one of the best scenes of the college football season, with "Oh, What a Night!" blasting over the speakers as the fans -- decked in leis to support Manti Te'o through what was then believed to be a double-dose of tragedy -- stayed in their seats while the players jumped into the crowd.

The revelation of the Te'o girlfriend hoax no doubt takes some luster off the night as a whole -- he recorded two picks, landed on the Sports Illustrated cover the following week and said that the game was the same day as his purported girlfriend's funeral -- but there is no denying what a big win this was for the Notre Dame program as a whole, especially after losing to rival USC at home a year earlier in what was the first Notre Dame Stadium night game in 21 years.

(This was also the same night that Jack Swarbrick handed David Brandon an envelope calling off the series after the 2015 season, but Irish fans will always have this night to remember.)

Previously

No. 10: Rees replaces Golson on final drive, leads Irish to win over Purdue

No. 9: Irish open season in Dublin with rout of Navy