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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Ismail's two TDs of 88 and 92 yards lead Irish
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Sept. 16, 1989

In a war between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan, the difference is a "Rocket." Notre Dame sophomore Raghib Ismail, nicknamed "The Rocket" by an eighth-grade track coach, scores two touchdowns on kickoff returns to lead the defending national champion Irish to a 24-19 victory before 105,912 fans in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound speed demon (he has been timed at 4.28 in the 40) takes the second-half kickoff on a short jog and breaks free down the sideline for an 88-yard touchdown to boost Notre Dame's lead to 14-6.

The next time Michigan has to kickoff - after a fourth-quarter field goal cuts the Wolverines' deficit to 17-12 - one might have thought that coach Bo Schembechler had learned his lesson and would have his kicker avoid booting the ball to Ismail. Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz tells his team that Michigan is going to squib kick.

It doesn't happen. Michigan keeps deep. The Rocket takes it on his eight and blasts out of a couple of arm tackles on his way to a 92-yard touchdown.

"He's faster than the speed of sound," Schembechler says, "and we didn't tackle him."

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