Notre Dame's defense cleaned up the offense's miscue after the Irish's first series, and it came up big again near the end of the first quarter as the second quarter began scoreless.
Quarterback Everett Golson threw an interception on Notre Dame's first offensive play and then was nailed with a facemask penalty trying to make the tackle, giving Michigan the ball on the Irish's 10.
Notre Dame's defense responded by dropping running back Fitzgerald Toussaint for a 2-yard loss then sacking Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson on the next two plays for losses of three and 10 yards. Prince Shembo had the first sack, and Stephon Tuitt had the second.
Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons missed a 43-yard field goal attempt to leave the game scoreless with 9:46 to play in the first quarter.
Notre Dame wasn't able to do much with the ball though as it moved from its 25 to the 40 before having to punt.
Robinson was able to find success on his third series of the game, completing five passes for 59 yards and moving the Wolverines to the Irish's 10-yard line.
But Michigan tried its second trick play of the game from the 10 having running back Vincent Smith attempt a pass that was intercepted by Notre Dame freshman safety Nicky Barratti in the end zone.
The defense has done its part to start the game, but Notre Dame's offense has to get going. The Irish had 19 yards and one first down in the first quarter.