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Snap Judgments: Notre Dame escapes 29-26

Nov 3, 2012, 8:20 PM EDT

Pittsburgh v Notre Dame Getty Images

The scene was set for the all too familiar. Notre Dame, highly rated and coming off a gigantic victory, was ready to choke away its season.

Kyle Brindza left four points on the board. Both Tommy Rees and Everett Golson threw mind-numbing interceptions. Notre Dame’s vaunted rush defense gave up 172 yards to Ray Graham. Add in Cierre Wood‘s goal-line fumble in overtime and Irish fans couldn’t help but remember catastrophic collapses of the years past.

But somehow the Irish escaped.

Trailing 20-6 in the fourth quarter, the Irish rallied almost in spite of themselves. Golson captained the improbable comeback, making magical plays while still clearly learning on the fly. Notre Dame’s defense stiffened, forcing a chip-shot field goal that looked like a moral victory but turned into a crucial stop.

And when Kevin Harper’s 33-yard field goal sailed wide right in double-overtime, the Irish finally took advantage of their chances and ended the game thanks to the legs of Theo Riddick and Golson.

Notre Dame certainly didn’t help their chances or convince voters that they deserve to be in the National Championship game on January 13th. But they survived the scare of the season, pulling a victory out of the clutches of certain defeat, and cashing in some of that luck that used to be associated with the team in South Bend.

At a time of year where style points matter, the Irish earned none. But this football team was never going to win any beauty pageants. And thanks to Golson’s heroics, the defense stiffening and some good breaks, the Irish are still alive.

Notre Dame is 9-0.

  1. washhtsirishlover - Nov 4, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    OK, my snap judgments and first impressions were this:

    Good: Golson came thru when needed most; we didn’t give up and implode when down 20-6 and our late game defense. Saw a stat somewhere were we outgained Pitt in the 4th quarter and OT by 223-21 yards.

    Bad: Our running game seemed to be running in sand. Every yard was brutallly fought. Golson and Rees throwing those int’s.

    Ugly: Special teams not being so special, punt returns(might as well get Goodman back there) and a missed extra point and field goal by Brindza. Our rush defense getting carved up by the #76 ranked rushing offense.

    These are all nit picking. Overall we have to be pleased that Golson is progressing. It’s like two steps forward and one step back. Growing pains with him. Our defense became stout at the end, which to me is extremely impressive. We are mentally tough, Louis Nix coming in while sick showed everyone what a warrior he is. Like someone said earlier, to be at this point of the season 9-0 is more than anyone could have expected.

  2. bblack55 - Nov 4, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    The 4th quarter and OT showed ND’s superiority – the game certainly didn’t reflect that. Kelly is still 100% when it comes to having the right QB in the game at the end. And Paul Longo has to get a lot of credit – the Irish have been stronger in the 4th quarter than any of their opponents – a far cry from the Weis years.

  3. mungman69 - Nov 4, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Notre Dame didn’t look too good against a poor Pitt team.

  4. stlducks - Nov 5, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    Ndfaithful please don’t let your homerism show so much. Oregon gets this no defense crap every year. St they great at D? No. but there good eggnog with that unstopable offense. They always give up points because they are on the field constantly since they scope so fast.
    No easy nd keeps up with Oregon if they ever way nd beats USC either.

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