ANN ARBOR—Jim Harbaugh desperately needed a significant victory to change the conversation, at least temporarily, about the job he’s doing at Michigan.The Wolverines delivered.Zach Charbonnet ran for two touchdowns in the first half and Shea Patterson threw for two scores in the second half, helping No. 19 Michigan rout No. 8 Notre Dame 45-14 in driving rain Saturday night.The Wolverines (6-2) ended an eight-game losing streak against top-10 teams under Harbaugh, who needed a signature win in his fifth season that likely won’t end with the Big Ten title he and college football’s winningest program desperately covet.
”Some of the tests that the team has gone through, you can make a lot of growth from it,” Harbaugh said. With the lopsided loss, the Fighting Irish (5-2) knocked themselves out of the College Football Playoff picture on the rain-filled night that seemed to affect them much more than Michigan.
”Clearly a very disappointing night for Notre Dame,” coach Brian Kelly acknowledged.
The Irish took advantage of a questionable call on pass interference to set up Ian Book’s 7-yard TD pass to Cole Kmet to pull within 10 points late in the third quarter.Michigan responded with Patterson’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones on the ensuing drive, which got off to a good start with Hassan Haskins’ 49-yard run. The former linebacker finished with career-high 149 yards on 20 carries.Charbonnet had 74 yards rushing on 15 carries, giving Michigan a tandem of running backs to control the game behind an offensive line that created huge holes.Patterson threw his second TD early in the fourth quarter.