5 notable Notre Dame-Michigan moments

September, 5, 2013
9/05/13
1:37
PM ET

AP Photo/Tony DingNotre Dame and Michigan will play their last scheduled game at The Big House Saturday night.
A storied series that ends next year will play its final meeting at the Big House Saturday night (8 ET on ESPN/WatchESPN). Because of Notre Dame's scheduling agreement with the ACC, its series with Michigan ends after next season. The schools haven’t scheduled any future meetings, so next year’s game in South Bend will be the final one for at least a while.

In preparation for Saturday's game, here are five of the most notable moments at the Big House in this historic rivalry.

2011: Michigan 35, Notre Dame 31 - Late drama under the lights
Hard to top this finish: three touchdowns in the final 1 minute, 12 seconds of the game. The final one was the game-winner, a 16-yard strike from Denard Robinson to Roy Roundtree with 2 seconds left to give Michigan the win.

The stage was set as this happened to be the first night football game played at the Big House, gleaming under the recently installed permanent lights. With his team at the Notre Dame 16-yard line, coach Brady Hoke could have called for a field goal to send the game to overtime. Instead, he put the ball in Robinson's hands and watched him throw the winning touchdown.

2009: Michigan 38, Notre Dame 34 - Irish could have iced it
A key win in Rich Rodriguez’s tenure came after a few questionable play calls from Charlie Weis. Trailing 34-31 with less than 20 seconds left, Tate Forcier connected with Greg Mathews for a five-yard touchdown to give Michigan the 38-34 win.

On the previous drive, when Notre Dame could have run down the clock, Weis called for two pass plays. Both were incomplete, sparing Michigan its remaining timeouts. That gave Forcier and company the ball back with 2 minutes, 13 seconds left and two timeouts to set up the game-winning drive.

1991: Michigan 24, Notre Dame 14 - The Catch
The game forever remembered for “The Catch.” On a fourth-and-one with Michigan holding onto just a 17-14 lead, Elvis Grbac lofted a pass that eventual Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard reeled in near the back of the end zone.

Michigan coach Gary Moeller made the play call and stuck with the call even when Grbac called a timeout after seeing coverage he didn’t like. "When it works, it takes a guy like Elvis to throw it, a guy like Desmond to make it work and make me look smart," Moeller said.

Howard finished the season with 950 receiving yards and 19 receiving touchdowns, two rushing scores, and a kick and punt return for a touchdown as he went on to earn the Heisman.

1989: Notre Dame 24, Michigan 19 - 1 vs. 2
You can’t have a bigger matchup in the rankings than this: No. 1 Notre Dame against No. 2 Michigan, only the second one-vs.-two meeting in series history. Michigan was making its season debut while top-ranked Notre Dame started its season a week earlier with a win against Virginia in the Kick-off Classic.

Raghib “Rocket” Ismail stole the show, returning two kickoffs for touchdowns in the second half. This would be Bo Schembechler’s last showdown with the Irish as he retired from coaching after the season.

1979: Notre Dame 12, Michigan 10 - The Block
The 1991 game had “The Catch.” This had “The Block.”

Down two points late in the fourth quarter, Michigan lined up for what would have been a game-winning field goal. But Notre Dame’s Bob Crable leaped over the center – stepping on the center’s back for momentum – and blocked the field goal attempt to hold on for the win. Crable’s move eventually led to a change in the rule on how defenses can rush kick attempts.

Scott Beaman and Jon Stewart contributed to this post.

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