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Sunday, September 8, 2013
What we learned: Week 2

By Matt Fortuna

Notre Dame fell to 1-1 on the season with a 41-30 loss at rival Michigan. Here's what we took away from the performance.

1. This D has some work to do. The loss of Manti Te'o and other seniors has already proved to have a much bigger impact than any of us expected. Devin Gardner had his way with the Irish on Saturday night, as the defense allowed 460 yards and had several big missed tackles. Notre Dame has now given up outings of 42 and 41 points in two of its last three games.

2. Brindza is the answer at kicker. A small victory for Notre Dame at the end of this one is that it appears to have found reliability again in Kyle Brindza, who handled duties for much of last season. A week after missing his only attempt in reserve action against Temple, Brindza connected on all three tries, including two from 40-plus yards.

3. It's a shame this rivalry is going away. Another great atmosphere and some more big plays marked the final meeting (for the foreseeable future) between these two in the Big House. The stadium playing the chicken-dance song at the end was the latest jab in the tit-for-tat that's gone on since Notre Dame opted out of the series before last year's game. The schools will meet one final time in this series next year at Notre Dame Stadium, and despite the difficult logistics and the understandable flexibility that the Irish needed with their schedule moving forward, that is just too bad for fans of a game that never disappoints.