Few Notre Dame players have had so much of their career defined by moments against Michigan.
Tommy Rees certainly has. There's been good times and bad ones too along the ride for the Irish senior quarterback.
It definitely didn't start well. As a true freshman in 2010, Rees got thrust into a game against Michigan at Notre Dame Stadium when Dayne Crist was dinged up on a play.
And even though a freshman was in the game, Brian Kelly didn't seem to change his game plan when he asked Rees to throw the ball for the first time.
"It was flea flicker," Rees says looking back. "I threw it a little behind Theo (Riddick) and it got intercepted in my first collegiate pass. Not a great way to start your career but it was a learning experience."
Rees barely lasted in the game. He was even replaced by walk-on Nate Montana.
A year later, Rees was the Notre Dame starter as the Irish arrived at the Big House for the first night game ever at Michigan Stadium. Turnover Tommy became the nickname that day as Rees gave the ball up three times. But Rees redeemed himself late in the game, throwing a touchdown pass with 30 seconds left to Riddick to give Notre Dame the lead. The celebration never happened. Denard Robinson led Michigan back and stole a sure thing win for Notre Dame away with two seconds left.
"It was a tough loss for us," Rees says of the 2011 game. "It was a game we played hard and well in and thought we would come out with a win."
Last year, Rees wasn't the starter but Everett Golson was brutal. And Rees the "closer" came in to save the day doing the unthinkable as he rushed for the game's only touchdown as the Irish survived 13-6. It was a season saving performance for a team that ultimately would play for the national championship.
"That was a big win," Rees explains. "A great team win. Physical brand of football throughout that game. It was a good win for us at home."
Saturday Rees and Michigan clash for the final time as Tommy looks to even his series with the Maize and blue.
"It's exciting," Rees says. "We've had a really good week of preparation. Going up there and playing Michigan, it's an exciting time. We've had some good games since I've been here. It will be good for us seniors being the last time we play Michigan."
Notre Dame and Michigan will kickoff at 8pm Saturday at the Big House.