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Saturday, September 10, 2011
Irish capitalize on first red-zone opportunity

By Matt Fortuna

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Admit it. You were holding your breath there, right?

Tommy Rees hit Theo Riddick for a six-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal, giving the Irish an early 7-0 lead with 9:05 to go in the first quarter. Rees actually fumbled the snap on first-and-goal from the 9 before diving on it to recover.

Notre Dame got to the red zone thanks to a 21-yard pass from Rees to Michael Floyd, who is now the Irish's career leader in receiving yards.

More impressive, Notre Dame's defense forced consecutive three-and-outs on Denard Robinson and Michigan, despite Robinson's first-play run of seven yards. Louis Nix got the start at nose guard for the Irish tonight, and John Goodman actually returned the first two Michigan punts, not Riddick.

It's obviously early, but this is exactly the kind of start Notre Dame needed from both sides of the ball.