SOUTH BEND, Ind., Sept. 10 -- Remy Hamilton knocked through a 42-yard field goal with two seconds left Saturday, his fourth of the game, to lift No. 6 Michigan to a thrilling 26-24 victory over No. 3 Notre Dame. Hamilton's winning kick came just 50 seconds after Notre Dame had taken a 24-23 lead when Ron Powlus hit a leaping Derrick Mayes in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown pass. After the ensuing kickoff, Michigan started the winning drive inside its own 20-yard line. Todd Collins scrambled to the 30, then hit Jay Riemersma with a 25-yard pass that brought the ball to the Notre Dame 45. After a 9-yard completion and a timeout, Seth Smith grabbed a pass and dove out of bounds at the Notre Dame 25 with seven seconds left. 'Our objective was to have a long kickoff return,' said Michigan coach Gary Moeller. 'When that didn't happen, Todd Collins showed great poise in leading the offense down the field and into scoring position.' Hamilton followed with his winning kick, evoking memories of Notre Dame's stunning home loss to Boston College last season that cost the Fighting Irish a chance at the national championship. Hamilton was not even assured of being the kicker for the Notre Dame game. 'Up until this morning, the coaching staff was unsure of who would be handling the place-kicking duties,' Moeller said. 'Now there is no question of who is doing the kicking next week.'
Hamilton, meanwhile, said, 'After Notre Dame scored, I didn't think we had enough time to come back. But the guys on the sideline told me we had 52 seconds and to get ready for a field goal. I never even kicked four extra points in a game, much less four field goals.' Michigan beat Notre Dame for just the second time in their last eight meetings. 'It was a great comeback by Notre Dame followed by a great comeback by Michigan,'said Irish coach Lou Holtz. 'It's disappointing like the Boston College game. We had too many turnovers. 'It's like a lottery. When you lose by one number it hurts more than if you had lost with no numbers. This was a lottery,' Holtz added. Hamilton booted his third field goal with 2:18 left in the game to give Michigan a 23-17 lead, but Mike Miller returned the following kickoff 54 yards to the Michigan 36. Powlus hit Mayes with a 17-yard pass and a pass-interference penalty against Deon Johnson in the end zone moved the ball to the Michigan 2. After a motion penalty sent the ball back to the 7, Mayes cut from right to left across the back of the end zone to grab a Powlus pass and tie the game. Stefan Schroffner's extra point put Notre Dame ahead. Michigan was driving for a score with six minutes left that could have wrapped up the game, but Todd Collins was sacked and fumbled the ball away at the Notre Dame 21. But two plays later, Powlus pulled away from the center too early and fumbled the ball back to the Wolverines at the Notre Dame 34. Michigan drove to the 15 and Hamilton booted a 32-yard field goal to make the score 23-17. Notre Dame fumbled three times, including two by tailback Lee Becton. The Fighting Irish had only 10 turnovers in their last 13 games dating back to the beginning of last season. 'It is tough, because I expect to win every game,' Powlus said. 'It is tough to have something like this happen so early in the season. ' Michigan trailed 17-10 in the third quarter, but scored 10 straight points to grab a 20-17 advantage. The Wolverines tied it on a 3-yard pass from Todd Collins to Riemersma, who was wide open in the back of the end zone. Hamilton thhen booted a 35-yard field goal with 39 seconds left in the period to give Michigan its first lead since the first quarter. Notre Dame took a 17-10 lead with 7:58 left in the third quarter on an 8-yard touchdown run by Marc Edwards, capping a 10-play drive. The Irish moved 65 yards and were aided by an interference call against Michigan on third-and-16. The Fighting Irish scored on their opening drive when Schroffner booted a 33-yard field goal, the first of his career. But the Wolverines stormed right back as Tim Biakabutuka's 10-yard touchdown gave them a 7- 3 lead. On Notre Dame's next series, a 33-yard pass from Powlus to Mayes gave the Fighting Irish first-and-goal on the Michigan 1. But three rushes netted no yards and the Notre Dame called timeout. Powlus rolled left and appeared to be headed for the corner of the end zone. When a Michigan linebacker stepped up to confront him, Powlus lofted a pass to a wide-open Becton in the end zone, giving Notre Dame a 10-7 lead with 71 seconds left in the first quarter. The defenses settled down in the second quarter as only Michigan was able to score, getting a 32-yard field goal from Hamilton with five minutes left in the half. Michigan (741 triumphs) and Notre Dame (724) are the two winningest teams in college football history. The game was the final meeting between the schools until 1997.