By Larry Lage
The Associated Press
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Devin Gardner threw four touchdown passes, including a victory-sealing connection to Drew Dileo with 4:18 left, and the dual-threat quarterback wearing No. 98 to honor Tom Harmon ran for a score to lead No. 17 Michigan to a 41-30 win over No. 14 Notre Dame on Saturday night in front of an NCAA-record crowd of 115,109.
The Wolverines (2-0) had a pair of 14-point leads, but the Fighting Irish (1-1) refused to get routed.
Notre Dame pulled within a TD early in the fourth quarter when defensive end Stephon Tuitt made a diving interception in the end zone.
Kyle Brindza made a 40-yard field goal with 9:15 left to pull Notre Dame within four points.
The Irish were called for pass interference twice on the ensuing drive and Gardner later took advantage with a 4-yard TD to Dileo.
Tommy Rees threw a second interception with 1:29 left.
Michigan has won four straight at home against the Irish.
That winning streak will stand for a while because the two storied programs won't play at the Big House again anytime soon. Notre Dame opted out of its contract with the Wolverines, making next year's game in South Bend, Ind., the last guaranteed matchup in a series that dates to 1887 and cancelling three previously scheduled games.
Soon after the Irish walked off the field, the "Chicken Dance" blared and fans danced in the stands. Four months ago, Michigan coach Brady Hoke told a group of Wolverines supporters that Notre Dame was "chickening out" of the series.
Gardner got the last laugh on the field. He was 21 of 33 for 294 yards. His one interception was costly, though. Trying to avoid a sack in the end zone, he flipped a pass to no one in particular that Tuitt came up with to giveNotre Dame hope.
Gardner also ran 13 times for 82 yards and a score.
Michigan's Jeremy Gallon had career highs with three TDs and 184 yards receiving. Fitzgerald Toussaint gave the Wolverines just enough of a running game, gaining 71 yards on 22 carries and he also turned a short pass into a 31-yard catch on the final scoring drive.
Rees was 29 of 51 for 314 yards with two TDs and two interceptions — both to Blake Countess. The first pick helped Michigan take a 27-13 lead at halftime. TJ Jones had nine receptions for 94 yards and a TD. Amir Carlisle ran for 64 yards on 12 attempts for the Irish.