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 SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -Michigan and Notre Dame will be knocking helmets on the football field for another two decades.
The two storied programs agreed to a 20-year contract extension Monday that will have them playing annually through 2031. The series was set to expire after the 2011 season.
``The Notre Dame-Michigan game has been a red-letter date on the football schedule for a long time, so it made perfect sense to make certain the rivalry continues annually long into the future,'' Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White said.
The schools are 1-2 in wins and winning percentage in college football. Michigan is 860-282-36 with a .745 winning percentage, while Notre Dame is 821-269-42 with a .744 winning percentage. Michigan leads the all-time series 19-14-1. The Fighting Irish and Wolverines played which only twice from 1909-77, but their early season meeting has become a staple of the college football season over the last two decades.
``It is a game our players and alumni, and every college football fan, deserves,'' Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. ``I am ecstatic they were able to come to an agreement.''
The rivalry dates back to 1877, when some Michigan students taught the game to Notre Dame students. There was so much bad blood between the two schools, though, they stopped playing after the Irish earned their first victory in 1909 after eight straight losses.
The schools played again in 1942 and 1943, splitting the games, before resuming the series in 1978. Since then, they have met in all but six years.
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who never saw the Irish play the Wolverines while he was a student at Notre Dame, called the announcement great news.
``This rivalry is good for both schools and college football,'' he said.
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