A Sept. 11 Sports article incorrectly said that Charlie Weis was the first Notre Dame head coach to win his first two games on the road since Knute Rockne in 1918. Weis is the first new Notre Dame coach since Rockne to begin the season with two road wins. Other first-year Notre Dame coaches have won their first two road games, but not to start the season. (Published 9/14/2005)
Notre Dame 17,
A mere two games into his Notre Dame tenure, Charlie Weis has joined Knute Rockne in the record books.
And even though he isn't interested in any comparisons to the famed Fighting Irish coach, if Weis keeps winning games like he did Saturday at No. 3 Michigan, he might not have a choice.
Brady Quinn threw two touchdown passes in the first half and the 20th-ranked Fighting Irish held on to beat the Wolverines, 17-10, making Weis the first Notre Dame coach to win his first two games on the road since Rockne in 1918.
"If I answered by dignifying that, [Bill] Parcells and [Bill] Belichick would humiliate me," Weis said about his coaching mentors when asked about his connection to Rockne. "I've just coached two games and they've played two games. Let's come back and revisit that in about 10 years."
Notre Dame (2-0), which won at then-No. 23 Pittsburgh last week, snapped the Wolverines' 16-game winning streak at Michigan Stadium and handed them their first loss against a nonconference team at home since 1998. The Irish -- two years removed from losing, 38-0, in Ann Arbor -- also won at Michigan for the first time since 1993.
"I'm happy for the team, but I worry about their heads," Weis said. "I told them to enjoy this tonight, but not too much. You don't want to have a big win like this, then lay an egg at home the next week."
Notre Dame hosts Michigan State on Saturday.
Weis helped New England win three Super Bowls as Belichick's offensive coordinator, and earned his first championship ring with the New York Giants as one of Parcells's assistants.
Against Michigan, the offensive guru began with a shotgun formation and an empty backfield. The Irish didn't use a huddle at times during the opening 12-play drive and didn't have a third down.
"I think that sent a message to start the game like that," said Quinn, who ended the impressive possession with a five-yard touchdown pass to Rhema McKnight.
The Wolverines (1-1) slowed down Notre Dame's offense, but they squandered several chances in the fourth quarter to pull within a touchdown before finally capitalizing on their third opportunity.
"We just made too many mistakes in the red zone," Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr said. "You can't get the football down there and give it away like we did and expect to win a game like this."
On a fourth and three, Chad Henne lofted a 25-yard pass to Mario Manningham with 3 minutes 47 seconds left to make it 17-10.
The Wolverines then forced Notre Dame to punt, but four incomplete passes later, the Irish were celebrating on the sideline. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, players ran into the end zone to celebrate with their fans.
"Coming into the Big House and getting a win can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Notre Dame's Victor Abiamiri (Gilman) said. "You want to do everything you can to let it sink in."
Notre Dame didn't need much help to beat the Wolverines for the third time in four years, but instant replay overturned two calls in its favor in the fourth quarter.
On a sneak from inside the Notre Dame 1, Henne was ruled down, but a review showed that he fumbled and that the Irish's Chinedum Ndukwe recovered the ball in the end zone. On the ensuing possession, officials ruled that Quinn fumbled, but a review showed that his knee was down, allowing the Irish to keep the ball deep in their territory.
Each time, Michigan's student section responded by throwing water bottles and other debris on the field.
"I'm confident and hopeful those calls were properly made because if they weren't, that would obviously be an issue," Carr said.
Quinn was 19 for 30 for 140 yards and Darius Walker ran for 104 yards for the Irish. D.J. Fitzpatrick's 43-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter gave Notre Dame a 17-3 lead.