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Michigan-ND rivalry's best games

The Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry is one of the biggest and oldest in college football.

Michigan played Notre Dame in the Irish's first football game in 1887, and, with some breaks in the middle, the teams have been rivals since.

"This is important," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "This has always been a game where you get, for both teams, I remember Coach [Bo] Schembechler talking about this, it's a game where you get a gauge of where you are at as a team.

"It's always been in the national spotlight and gives you expectations of how your guys are going to play."

Now, WolverineNation looks at the top five Michigan-Notre Dame games of the modern era leading up to Saturday's matchup at 8 p.m. at Michigan Stadium.

Date: Sept. 10, 1994

Result: No. 6 Michigan 26, No. 3 Notre Dame 24

What happened: Michigan coach Gary Moeller was a stickler and a Michigan man. His Wolverines had lost four of their last six games to Notre Dame. And he had decided that he would not allow the Fighting Irish football tradition to go any further than the field.

So he stayed put in the Notre Dame Stadium visitors' locker room.

The Fighting Irish were always the second to come onto the field, but Moeller and the Wolverines weren't anywhere to be seen. Per NCAA regulations, if there's a disagreement as to which team enters the stadium first, it automatically must be the home team.

Much to Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz's dismay, he brought the Irish onto the field and Michigan quickly followed ... to a sea of boos from the Irish fans.

It was a back-and-forth game that featured the first home appearance of much-hyped Notre Dame quarterback Ron Powlus. With 52 seconds to play, Powlus' pass to wideout Derrick Mayes tied the game at 23, and with the extra point and less than a minute remaining the Irish held onto a small but seemingly sturdy lead.

At this point, one of the Wolverines' student athletic trainers began to take the field-goal kicking net around the field and up the tunnel. After all, Michigan was nowhere within field-goal range and an Irish win seemed almost inevitable, so why not get a head-start on getting the equipment onto the truck?

But then senior quarterback Todd Collins, who had chosen Michigan over Notre Dame, led a charge up the field that got the Wolverines within kicking distance. As Collins began to light it up, junior kicker Remy Hamilton began preparing himself for the biggest kick of his career.

"I looked around and Remy says, 'Hey Jon, where's the kicking net?' Well here's the guy walking across the field taking it up that tunnel," Michigan football equipment manager Jon Falk said. "I screamed, 'Hey come back! I need the net! I need the net!' [Remy] looks at me and says, 'What am I going to do to warm up?' And I said 'Hey, practice right here like there is a practice net. Just keep moving your leg, Remy.' "

With seven seconds to go, Hamilton took the field for a 42-yard attempt. Having never had the weight of a win or loss on one of his kicks before, Hamilton split the uprights and was in his teammates' arms before the ball even reached the ground.

Notre Dame Stadium erupted into cries of elation and shouts of befuddlement.

With a seemingly impossible comeback for Notre Dame (although, one minute prior, the Wolverines' comeback had been seemingly impossible as well), Michigan fans rushed the field. And with two seconds to go, the officials had no option but to flag the fans and give Michigan a 15-yard penalty. But it was to no avail as the Irish were quickly taken down on the punt return.

It was a game that is remembered for Hamilton's kick and the battle of quarterbacks -- the relative unknown Collins who threw for 224 yards while going 21 of 29 and the highly regarded Powlus, who completed just 15 of 27 for 187 yards.

"After the game I went over to [Hamilton] and said, 'Maybe that warming up isn't that big of a deal anyway,' " Falk said.

Significance to season: The victory propelled Michigan into the top five in the rankings, but the Wolverines stumbled the rest of the way to finish 8-4 and in third place in the Big Ten. They played in the Holiday Bowl against Colorado State and won 24-14.

Historical significance: It would be more than a decade before Notre Dame played Michigan again while being ranked in the top 10.

They said it: "I still get goose bumps every time I watch it," Remy Hamilton said. "You appreciate it more now because you realize the stage and I guess I kind of took it for granted. It was my first start and I knew the history of Michigan and Notre Dame. I just was, as you say, young and dumb, and didn't really know the importance of it. When you get older you realize, 'Wow, that was a big kick and you won't ever have another kick like that.' "

Chantel Jennings covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. She can be reached at jenningsespn@gmail.com.