Notre Dame's summer of discontent is over - the Irish are back in the business of winning big games again.
Jarious Jackson threw two touchdown passes in his first start and Autry Denson ran for another during a lucky 13-minute span of the second half as the 22nd-ranked Irish upset No. 5 Michigan 36-20 on Saturday.
In beating the defending co-national champions, the Irish posted their most important victory in years and ended Michigan's 12-game winning streak in record fashion.
Notre Dame's point total was the most against the Wolverines in the 28-game history of the series, usually marked by close games.
After the game, players tried to carry coach Bob Davie off the field but the game hadn't ended yet. But when it did, students rushed the field, surrounded players and patted their helmets as they headed to the locker room in a single-file line.
Jackson took a half to warm up but finished with 62 yards rushing and 96 passing with an early interception. Denson carried 24 times for career-best 162 yards, including a career-long 58-yarder on Notre Dame's first play, and two TDs. Tom Brady, in his first start for Michigan, was 23-of-36 for 267 yards and had a 1-yard TD run.
The win eased much of the pain endured by the Irish during a long, hot summer, one in which a former assistant won an age discrimination suit and an NCAA investigation began into current and former players taking gifts from a booster.
For now, the Golden Dome is tarnished no longer, as a determined bunch of Irish defenders made big plays in the second half and the new option attack took care of the scoring.
Trailing 13-6 at the half, the Irish scored on five straight possessions to put away Michigan before a cheering crowd of 80,225, the 137th consecutive sellout, at Notre Dame Stadium.
After cutting the lead to 13-9 on the third of Jim Sanson's field goals, this one a 32-yarder, Michigan's Clarence Williams fumbled the kickoff and Tony Driver recovered at the Wolverines 34. Seven plays later, Jackson, who sat behind Ron Powlus for three years before getting his chance, hit a wide-open Dan O'Leary to put the Irish ahead 16-13 with 7:42 left in the third period.
Then, fullback Ray Jackson fumbled and Irish linebacker Grant Irons recovered on the Michigan 35. On the next play, Jackson nearly stumbled and fell as he dropped back, but he regained his balance and connected with Raki Nelson on a 35-yard TD pass with 5:02 left in the period.