Notre Dame was $550,000 and one victory richer. Gerry Faust was far richer.

The Irish defeated Michigan, 23-17, Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 59,075 at the first night game played in Notre Dame Stadium, and a national television audience.

It also was the first game of the second season of Notre Dame's Faust, the coach with a 5-6 rookie record and the spotlight of scrutiny shining on his face. Saturday night, Faust refused to squint.

His defense held Michigan to a shocking 41 yards rushing. It had eight sacks, for loses of 34 yards, of Michigan quarterback Steve Smith. "We couldn't run the ball," Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler said.

"Defense, this game was yours," Faust said in the locker room, in a voice more hoarse than normal. His players continued to enjoy the celebration of 1-0.

Faust's offense had bullied for 419 yards. It got a 13-0 halftime lead and it set up the first three field goals in the college career of senior walk-on Mike Johnston. "These are the signs of a great team," Faust told his offense.

Yet, more than anything, this was a victory for Faust, 47, who deserved a postgame stogie more than anyone. But Faust doesn't smoke.

While many were ready to set his job security ablaze after last year's 5-6 record provided the match, Faust just kept doing what he always has done.

"He needed this very much. The last time I saw Coach Faust this happy was after we beat LSU in his opener last year," said senior safety Dave Duerson, who intercepted a Smith pass on the Notre Dame 30-yard line-with two minutes remaining and the Wolverines driving for what could have been a game-winning touchdown.

"I have never seen him this happy," said senior tight end Tony Hunter, who caught seven passes for 76 yards.

"Whether he's the greatest or not, no one works harder. It's great to finally see this," said fullback Larry Moriarity, who gained 116 yards on 16 carries.

After three quarters, Notre Dame led, 23-7. But Michigan retaliated with 10 points in the fourth quarter to close to 23-17. Ali Haji-Sheikh kicked a 42-yard field goal with 13 minutes left, Rick Rogers caught a deflected 39-yard touchdown pass from Smith with 7:38 left and it was a six-point game.

But this was a night for Gerry Faust, when his name was being cheered.

"Of course, we won our first game last year, too," he said, smiling. "So I'll just keep my mouth shut."