Rocket Launch: Ismail Leads #1 Irish over #2 Michigan

Over the span of three decades, Notre Dame-Michigan grew into a rivalry as heated and legitimate as any other in college sports.  This weekend marks the 41st meeting between the two schools (Michigan leading the series (23-16-1) and will be the second to last time the game will be played as Notre Dame has elected to end the series in 2014.  

Through the years this annual clash has produced some of college football's most memorable moments.  However it was only once when the stakes were at its peak, as the rivalry took on added significance when the top-ranked Irish strolled into Ann Arbor  for a showdown with the second-ranked Wolverines.  A rainy afternoon caused both sides to play conservatively, but unfortunately for Michigan there was no grounding the Rocket.  

Raghib "Rocket" Ismail was a 5-foot-10-inch flanker who ran a 4.28 40-yard dash and led the country the previous season with an average of 36.1 yards per return.  And on this day, the Rocket emerged from the rain on two occasions to take the air out of the Michigan "Big House." Ismail returned the second-half opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown to put Notre Dame up, 14-6. Then in the fourth quarter, after Michigan cuts its deficit to 17-12, Ismail breaks through a wall for a 92-yard touchdown return.  The defending champs held on to their No. 1 ranking and would later extend their winning streak to a school record 23 games.