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September 17, 1990 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-17

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 17, 1990 - Page 13

FOOTBALL
Continued from page 9
yards on six receptions), read the
oily statistic that counts.
The top-ranked Fighting Irish ru-
ed Gary Moeller's debut, 28-24, by
sgoring two fourth quarter touch-
downs, including the game winner
with only 1:40 remaining.
After trailing, 14-3, Moeller's
n-huddle offense left the Irish dazed
aid wheezing, allowing the Wolver-
ijes to come back and eventually
lead, 24-14. Then, the bottom fell
our. A missed field goal, an intercep-
*on, and Irish luck sent the Wolver-
ines to their fourth straight loss in
a#-opening game, equaling the streak
sit for opening game losses from
1934-37.
,In the end,, it was Moeller who
wias dazed. All year long, Moeller
k6oked to the opener with Notre
Dame. All year long, he preached to
his troops, that yes, they could beat
otre Dame. And all year long, he
earched for the perfect ingredient,
the best strategy, that would send the
Irish to their first home loss in 18
games.
It almost worked. But instead of
celebrating a masterful gameplan,
Moeller sat before the press, and
ilaced both hands over his face and
rijbbed hard. He did it again. The
ayes were moist. And he began to
lame himself for a few calls that
old have been second guessed.
After twice succeeding on fourth
down, Moeller elected to have J.D.
Carlson attempt a field goal on
fourth-and-inches at the Notre Dame
19 and the Irish trailing by 10. Carl-
soh missed.
Notre Dame scored on its next
possession.
After driving 45 yards on runs by
.'aughn, Allen Jefferson and Jarrod
Bunch, Moeller called, for Grbac to
pass with a first down on the Notre
Dame 11. Interception.
Soon, Notre Dame scored again,
as quarterback Rick Mirer engineered
the winning drive, which covered 76
yards in 2:53. He completed five of
six passes - the last of which was
an 18 yard rollout right touchdown
crass that was caught by Adrian Jar-
\'ell at the goal line.
"We felt we could beat them,
even though they're a great football
team," Moeller said. "Some of the
calls by me turned out not to be very
good calls. We were going to go for
it on some 4th downg, and we did it
and we were going to try to do ev-
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erything offensively to try and keep
them off the field. I (called for Elvis
to) throw the pass. I made that call
on my own and we didn't execute the
play. So I've got to take that part."
But Lou Holtz summed up the
game in another fashion.
"I don't know yet how we won
the game," Holtz said. "I attribute it
to competitiveness, the luck of the
Irish and the Lady on the Dome."
The luck of the Irish helped con-
tribute greatly. With Notre Dame
pinned in at their own 15 yard line
and facing a 3rd and 15 situation, the
Touchdown Jesus mosaic winked
again on the Irish. Mirer fired a
bomb to Raghib Ismail downfield at
the Notre Dame 48. The ball
bounced off his hands, over two
Wolverine defenders, and into the
hands of Lake Dawson, who rambled
down to the Michigan 40 before
Tripp Welborne brought him down
from behind.
The Wolverines scored the only
two touchdowns of the third quarter
on consecutive possessions. First,
Allen Jefferson ran the ball in from
the one yard line. After Notre Dame
fumbled on the first play of its pos-
session, Grbac found Howard wide
open for a 25-yard touchdown strike.
But then the Irish comeback
began.
And Moeller left with moist eyes.

Mirer turns questions
into exclamation mark
by David Hyman
Daily Football Writer
SOUTH BEND - Rick Mirer called the play.
Rick Mirer took the snap.
Rick Mirer rolled right.
Rick Mirer waltzed into the end zone untouched.
Rick Mirer ran the option to perfection.
The sophomore quarterback's touchdown only 3:32 into Saturday's
game provided the Irish with an early 7-0 lead. More importantly, the
score provided Michigan coach Gary Moeller and his defense with prob-
lems; they were up against more than the drop-back passer they thought
Mirer was.
"The option game always gives you an advantage," Moeller said. "It's
hard to defend against especially when you have (Ricky) Watters and
(Raghib) Ismail in the backfield."
Though Mirer only ran for 12 yards, Notre Dame's ability to run the
option caused Michigan's defense to spread thin. The Wolverines not only
had to stop the run; they also had to contain Mirer from scrambling.
"(Mirer) did a lot of good things out there. I think he's going to be a
very good quarterback," Moeller said.
The Fighting Irish were expected to pass more this year than they did
when Tony Rice ran the team last season. And Notre Dame did pass more.
Mirer threw 30 passes - 28 more than Rice threw in last year's game.
Mirer completed 14 of 23 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown. He
connected on his last five passes during the Irish's winning touchdown
drive that consumed 2:53 in only nine plays.
Notre Dame received the ball on its own 24 and had 4:33 to overcome
Michigan's 24-21 advantage. Mirer marched his team downfield and
capped the drive when he hit receiver Adrian Jarrell for an 18-yard scoring
strike to give Notre Dame a 28-24 lead.
"I had no desire to be the hero," Mirer said. "I just wanted to come out
with a victory. I think a lot of questions about me and the team have been
answered."
Rick Mirer entered the game as the Irish's biggest question mark.

JOSE JUAREZ/Daily.
Notre Dame quarterback Rick Mirer prepares to pass during the second
nuarter Saturday night. Mirer had 30 pass attempts, 28 more than his
predecessor Tony Rice in last year's game.

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