Sept. 15, 2012
Notre Dame 20, Michigan State 3
It was no contest in East Lansing as No. 20 Notre Dame easily handled the No. 10 Spartans on the road.
Golson continued his development, completing 14-of-32 passes for 178 yards and a TD, a 36-yard scoring strike to John Goodman. He also ran for a 6-yard TD in the second quarter that put the Irish up 14-0.
The Irish defense limited the Spartans to 237 total yards and forced a fumble.
The win by the Irish snapped a 15-game home winning streak by the Spartans.
Notre Dame was able to shake off a sloppy start that included George Atkinson running into a teammate on a kickoff return; a false start; and a timeout called before the Irish’s first snap.
The victory propelled Notre Dame to its best start since 2002 and snapped a six-game losing streak against ranked opponents. It was the Irish’s first win over a top-10 team in seven years.
Sept. 22, 2012
Notre Dame 13, Michigan 6
The Irish, all the way up to No. 11 in the AP Top 25 and No. 15 in the coaches poll, got two interceptions from senior linebacker Manti Te’o and five picks overall, and also picked up another virtuoso relief performance from Rees.
But the story of the night was the Irish defense, which held a nationally ranked opponent without a TD for the second straight week.
After giving up 948 yards in total offense to Michigan QB Denard Robinson the past two seasons — both losses — the Irish defense harassed Robinson into five turnovers on the night: four interceptions and a fumble.
The Irish offense did not execute particularly well on offense, with just 239 total yards.
Oct. 6, 2012
Notre Dame 41, Miami 3
The No. 9 Irish completely dismantle Miami, giving up a first-quarter field goal and then shutting out the Hurricanes the rest of the way at Soldier Field.
Cierre Wood and George Atkinson III give Notre Dame its first 100-yard rushing duo in a decade, as the Irish improve to 5-0 for the first time in a decade. Wood has 118 yards rushing and two TDS, and Atkinson adds 123 yards and another TD.
“We felt like we found a way to run the football today,” Kelly said.
The Irish defense limits Miami to 285 yards after the Hurricanes had piled up 1,260 yards and 86 points in their previous two games.