There was another miracle comeback under the Golden Dome on Saturday. Only this time, Notre Dame was the victim instead of the victor.
Remy Hamilton kicked four field goals, including a 42-yarder with 2 seconds left, to give sixth-ranked Michigan a 26-24 victory over No. 3 Notre Dame in a sensational seesaw game."Every kicker thinks about making a winning field goal," said Hamilton, a redshirt sophomore from Boca Raton, Fla., who had attempted only one field goal in his career prior to Saturday. "I'm a hero now. I could be a goat next week."
Michigan has been victimized by several Notre Dame comebacks since the series resumed in 1978, including a late touchdown pass by Rick Mirer in 1990 and Reggie Ho's winning field goal in 1988. But this time it was the Wolverines (2-0) staging an amazing rally to beat the Irish (1-1) for only the second time since 1987.
"It seems like Notre Dame does it to us every time," said Michigan senior quarterback Todd Collins. "When we had an opportunity to get the ball back, I said, `OK, let's do it to them.' "
Ron Powlus, Notre Dame's highly touted sophomore quarterback, looked like he would be the hero after throwing a 7-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Mayes with 52 seconds left to put the Irish ahead 24-23.
"I thought we had won it," said Powlus, who was 15-of-27 for 187 yards and two touchdowns.
But Collins, who was 21-of-29 for 224 yards and one touchdown, came up with some heroics of his own. He opened the winning drive with a 15-yard scramble, then completed three passes as Michigan drove to the Notre Dame 24 before Hamilton booted his final field goal.
Collins was in the grasp of an Irish defender when he threw the last pass, a 9-yarder to Seth Smith, who dove out of bounds with 7 seconds left.
Notre Dame then called a timeout as the play clock was about to expire because the Irish thought they had an extra man on the field. The delay didn't bother Hamilton.
"I was out there stretching trying not to think about what this kick meant," he said. "Coach (Gary Moeller) just told me to go out there and make the kick."
As he was about to go on the field to attempt the kick, Hamilton got encouragement from Mike Gillette, a former Michigan kicker whose last-second miss of a 49-yard field goal allowed Notre Dame to escape with a 19-17 victory in 1988.
"Right before the kick, he came up to me and said, `Come on, Remy, you can do it,' " said Hamilton, who made two 32-yarders and a 35-yarder against Notre Dame before his game-winning attempt.
Michigan fans stormed the field after the kick, but the game wasn't over until the Wolverines squibbed a kickoff and tackled Notre Dame's Pete Chryplewicz as time expired.
"This hurts," said Irish coach Lou Holtz. "It was a great comeback by Notre Dame, followed by a great comeback by Michigan."
Notre Dame trailed 23-17 after Hamilton kicked his third field goal with 2:15 remaining. But Powlus, who threw four TD passes in his debut against Northwestern last week, led the Irish on a quick scoring drive after Michael Miller returned the kickoff 55 yards to the Michigan 36.
Mayes leaped high in the back of the end zone to grab Powlus' pass, which just cleared the outstretched hands of safety Chuck Winters.
"It was a great pass by Ron and I went up and made the catch, but that really does't matter now," said Mayes, who had seven receptions for 106 yards.
Two of Hamilton's field goals were set up by fumbles by Irish tailback Lee Becton, who hadn't lost a fumble in 233 carries since the third game of the 1992 season.
Michigan's touchdowns came on a 10-yard run by Tim Biakabutuka and a 3-yard pass from Collins to Jay Riemersma.
Aided by a pass interference call against Michigan's Tyrone Noble, Notre Dame took a 17-10 lead in the third quarter on an 8-yard touchdown run by Marc Edwards. But Michigan rallied to take a 20-17 lead later in the period on the TD catch by Riemersma and Hamilton's 35-yard field goal.
Notre Dame took the opening kickoff and drove to the Michigan 15, where Stefan Schroffner booted a 32-yard field goal.
Michigan, playing without injured star running back Tyrone Wheatley, scored a touchdown on its first drive with the help of a freak play.
Facing a fourth-and-1 at the Notre Dame 12, Hamilton attempted a 29-yard field goal. The kick was blocked by Irish cornerback Bobby Taylor, but Michigan's Che Foster caught the ball in the air behind the line of scrimmage and ran for a first down. Two plays later, Biakabutuka burst up the middle for a TD that put the Wolverines ahead 7-3.
Notre Dame responded with an 80-yard, 14-play scoring drive that ended with a 1-yard pass from Powlus to Becton. Powlus rolled left and found a wide-open Becton just over the goal line to give the Irish a 10-7 lead with 1:11 left in the first quarter.
The score was set up by a 33-yard reception by Mayes, who broke a tackle at the Notre Dame 15 before being knocked out of bounds at the 1.