Originally created 09/14/03

Irish go down without a fight



ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Even Notre Dame couldn't provide a tough test for Chris Perry and Michigan.

Perry ran for three touchdowns and caught another as the fifth-ranked Wolverines dominated both lines and posted the most lopsided victory in their storied rivalry with Notre Dame, winning 38-0 Saturday.

After blowout wins to open the season against Central Michigan and Houston, the 15th-ranked Irish (1-1) were supposed to challenge Michigan.

But with Tony Pape and the offensive line clearing huge holes for Perry, and Larry Stevens, Gabe Watson and Pierre Woods wreaking havoc in Notre Dame's backfield, this turned into a blowout of historic proportions.

In a rivalry known for its nailbiters - nine of the past 11 meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer - Michigan posted the first shutout in the series since its 23-0 win in 1902.

The biggest margin of victory in the previous 30 meetings between the two winningest teams in college football history was 23.

After a fumble on its opening drive, Michigan controlled every aspect of the game. The Wolverines, who are 3-0 for the first time since 1999, have outscored their opponents 133-10 this season.

Perry has been a major reason for the success. He hurdled defenders, broke tackles and made a one-handed grab on his way to gaining 177 total yards.

He caught four passes for 44 yards from John Navarre and ran 31 times for 133 more, giving him 549 yards rushing through three games.

Perry wasn't the only star for Michigan, which gained 439 yards. Steve Breaston set up the Wolverines with electrifying punt returns, Navarre went 14-for-21 for 199 yards and the offensive line received a standing ovation when it was replaced en masse with just over five minutes left.

Tyrone Willingham's West Coast offense sputtered once again against an aggressive Wolverines defense, generating only 140 yards and not making it inside Michigan's 35 all game.