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Updated: Saturday, September 14, 2002 9:10 PM EDT
NCAA FOOTBALL RECAP
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(21) Notre Dame 25, (6) Michigan 23
MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
Michigan Wolverines
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NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
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SOUTH BEND, Indiana (Ticker) -- Notre Dame was a lot better defensively with 11 men on the field than it was with 10.

Cornerback Shane Walton batted away a two-point conversion with 2:53 left and added an interception moments later as the 21st-ranked Fighting Irish escaped with a 25-23 victory over No. 6 Michigan, their first win over a top-10 foe in four years.

John Navarre pulled the Wolverines within two points with an eight-yard touchdown pass to tight end Bennie Joppru. Notre Dame cornerback Vontez Duff was injured on the preceding play and walked out of the end zone, apparently without telling his teammates.

"Sometimes it gets hectic and there is a lack of communication," Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham said. "We didn't know why he took himself out."

The Fighting Irish had just 10 men on the field and Navarre capitalized by finding Joppru, who had seven catches for 80 yards, over the middle.

Notre Dame regrouped following a timeout and, with 11 men on the field, Walton deflected Navarre's toss to Braylon Edwards.

Michigan (2-1) regained possession with 1:25 left before Walton intercepted Navarre, sealing Notre Dame's first win over a top-10 team since defeating Michigan, 36-20, on September 5, 1998.

"It feels good. To beat a team like Michigan, ranked No. 6 in the country, is a big win for is, the whole football program and the community around here," Notre Dame quarterback Carlyle Holiday said. "We just got to build on it. There will be so much more enthusiasm and energy running through the players for the next couple of weeks."

Notre Dame (3-0) continued its revival under Willingham, who became the first Fighting Irish coach to win his first three games since Dan Devine in 1975.

Ryan Grant carried 28 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns, including a three-yarder that put Notre Dame ahead to stay, 22-17.

"Ryan Grant has progressed each and every week this season," Willingham said. "We are extremely happy with what we are seeing from him."

The game featured the winningest programs in major college football history, but the schools played nothing like it. There were seven turnovers, four by Notre Dame.

"It was a hard-fought football game with a lot of penalties and a lot of turnovers," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "You can't beat a good football team when you turn the ball over like we did. There were far too many penalties."

Michigan was flagged 10 times for 88 yards and Notre Dame eight times for 57 yards.

Navarre completed 19-of-42 passes for 230 yards.

"We didn't execute like we wanted to," Navarre said. "We definitely didn't play as well as we wanted to."

Notre Dame improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1996 and managed its first three offensive touchdowns of the season.

Holiday completed just 8-of-17 passes for 154 yards and an interception. He threw long passes on his first two attempts, connecting on the second one for 41 yards to Maurice Stovall, leading to a one-yard TD run by Grant.

The first half was a series of miscues, beginning with a fumble by B.J. Askew on Michigan's next possession. But the Fighting Irish were unable to capitalize as Nicholas Setta had a 47-yard field goal attempt blocked.

Michigan soon tied it at 7-7 when cornerback Marlin Jackson stepped in front of a pass from Holiday and raced 19 yards into the end zone with 2:58 left in the first quarter.

It was the first interception brought back for a score against Notre Dame since 1998.

Notre Dame appeared to be going in for the go-ahead touchdown early in the second quarter but Grant fumbled at the 1-yard line and Michigan cornerback Zia Combs recovered in the end zone.

Michigan failed to capitalize on a fumble by Holiday when Troy Nienberg had a 32-yard field goal attempt blocked. Michigan has made just one of its six field goal attempts in its first two games.

The Fighting Irish regained the lead at 9-7 when Michigan tackle Courtney Morgan was called for holding in the end zone for a safety.

Michigan committed another costly error when receiver Tyrece Butler fumbled at his own 24 and Holiday scored on a three-yard run with 23 seconds left in the half. Holiday appeared to fumble before reaching the end zone, but the officials still signaled a touchdown.

Philip Brabbs kicked a 19-yard field goal and Chris Perry, who carried 16 times for 78 yards, had a three-yard TD with four seconds left in the third quarter to give the Wolverines their first lead at 17-16.

Grant's second touchdown put the Fighting Irish ahead to stay and Setta increased the lead to 25-17 with a 46-yard field goal.


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