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It’s official: Irish punch ticket to championship

Nov 24, 2012, 11:30 PM EDT

Notre Dame's Theo Riddick celebrates after scoring a touchdown against USC during their NCAA college football game in Los Angeles

That’s it.

Notre Dame is going to the national championship. No really. Notre Dame is going to the national championship.

It wasn’t pretty, but thanks to a hard-nosed effort by Theo Riddick and a gutty performance by Everett Golson, the Irish survived multiple scares by the Trojans and a vallant effort by redshirt freshman Max Wittek. But with the Trojans within nine points and down on the Irish one yard line, Notre Dame’s defense made a heroic goal line stand, keeping the Trojans out of the end zone for four plays and icing a victory with a stop that’ll be remembered for a long time.

Notre Dame won without their best, sputtering routinely in the red zone after moving the ball between the 20s for much of the evening. But on a Saturday where all eyes were on Notre Dame, the Irish exit the Coliseum with a clutch victory, and finish the regular season undefeated.

More to come later, but it’s going to be a special flight home for the Irish, who return to South Bend at 6:00 a.m.

  1. ndfaithful - Nov 25, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    I am just so HAPPY! I believed in these guys all year. Every one of ‘em. I am ND FAITHFUL

    I’m just watching highlights and reading the web.
    Hey – Brindza just kicked another one.
    Oh – hey, look at that – Riddick just picked up another 1st down.
    OMG – Russel just drew another flag in the end zone – lmao!
    Hey – Manti just got another interview. and another pick!
    Oh, and the best one – USC just came up short on the goal line when it mattered. Just like everyone else this year!

    GO IRISH!

  2. oxnardpat - Nov 25, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    I know I am assuming a lot, but if Alabama wins the SEC championship game, it will not surprise me. I am a traditionalist who believes that defense wins championships. Kelly is amazing! He’s known as an offensive innovator at Grand Valley State and Cincinnati, yet he uses the ND brand to bring in awesome defensive recruits, and now they are 12-0. If the Tide win, the two top defensive teams in the country will play for the crystal football, while Oregon, SC, and so many other offensive
    “jungernauts” play in good, but NON-championship bowl games. Do you other ND fans remember the dominant defense of Lou Holtz’s 1988 team? Funny how old time concepts still control the football world, isn’t it? Gotta go and have another shot of tequila! Peace, out, word!

  3. notredameirish1980 - Nov 25, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    Congrats on a great win!
    One question: Why is it SEC when southeastern is one word?
    Another great mystery of life.

    • irishbornraised - Nov 25, 2012 at 2:00 AM

      To distinguish between them and the Southwestern Conference

  4. nd42fn - Nov 25, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    I cried like a baby! Watched the game with my 9yr old son, told him he just watched history being made. He looks at me and says Dad I want to be like Manti and play for Notre Dame. Cool moment

    • ndfaithful - Nov 25, 2012 at 1:22 AM

      So cool. When Lee caught the bomb and landed at the one, Musburger started talking about how there was plenty of time for two scores. My 14 year old turned and looked at me and said “Who says they’re going to score?”. The rest was history.

      Kids get it.

      • papadec - Nov 25, 2012 at 1:39 AM

        ndfaith – my response to Musburger’s comment was – “BULL SHIT – SHUT UP ASSHOLE!” I am so sick & tired of that jerk, and all the other espn hacks that keep drooling over the sec.

      • billjersey - Nov 25, 2012 at 10:32 AM

        Furburger has been an ND hated for over 40 years. He’s more biased than Keith Jackson. Your son is way ahead of his time. Keep it up!

  5. getsome99 - Nov 25, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    Undefeated against 5 of 6 BCS conferences this year. Up next: the SEC. Bring on Bama!

    Go Irish!!!

  6. jpwills19 - Nov 25, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    Just got back from the game, awesome. Was among USC season ticket holders, and they bailed without a word when the goal line stand was completed. Can’t wait for my 7 yr. old son to wake up in the morning so I can give him the wristband Ben Turk threw into the stands.

  7. ndforeverbeautiful - Nov 25, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Its been a sweet season for sure. I am new to the blog but after the 93 season I never thought ND would ever reach for greatness again. I’m happy I’m wrong. I am a die hard ND fan and watched or listened to every game since I was 4. This season has been very special. I hope to raise my children with the same passion for ND football as my dad gave to me.

    On a side note, its going to be a very sweet feeling to see Mark May have to wear that leprechaun suit. After all his disrespecting of the ND program it is fitting. I can’t help thinking that he is somehow tarnishing that beautiful green!

  8. smartestjones - Nov 25, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    I have been reading for years but never posted. i thought tonight was time. Nude, bern, jerseyshore, notredan, even Dick Asman, I am fired up to share this with you. Keith, I am fired up that you got to write that post. F-ing A. What a great feeling. When I was a freshman and cheering for Pawlus’ Heisman candidacy in the “new” stadium, I never realized it would take so long but this is worth it. As there are 44 days until the ‘ship, I have to say that I fully endorse Manti as Heisman. If Case Keenum wasn’t Heisman material last year, why would Johnny Case Football be Heisman this year? Also, where is Reilly? I am so fired up. WOOOOOOOOOO

    • dickasman - Nov 25, 2012 at 3:28 AM

      Hey babe! ***waves hello***

    • sharptux44 - Nov 25, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      I’m picturing Ric Flair reciting every word of your post and its making me laugh

  9. papadec - Nov 25, 2012 at 4:39 AM

    Gotta give Mark May some credit for keeping his word – he wore most of a leprechaun outfit on the show tonight. Not enough to want a poster of it though!

    • bernhtp - Nov 25, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      This was a big meh. He only put on a jacket for a few seconds. He thinks that this fulfilled his obligation under his promise/boast. It didn’t. He’s a loser.

  10. danirish - Nov 25, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    It’s 2nd and 1 goal to go! Irish opponent lines up and gives it to a MAC truck! Irish defense stuffs it for a 1 yard loss! Tuitt with the intial hit.

    It’s 3rd and 2 goal to goal! Irish opponent lines up and gives it to Chuck Norris up the middle! OH! What a hit by Manti T’eo for a loss of a yard!

    It’s 4th and 3 goal to go! Irish opponent gives it to Chuck Norris driving a MAC truck, he swerves and OH! What an incredible hit by Nix assisted by Zeke Motta!

    Irish win! Irish win!

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO IRISH!

  11. danirish - Nov 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Some thoughts:
    1. USC qb is going to be good
    2. THEO! THEO! THEO!
    3. MANTI! MANTI! MANTI!
    4. Is it me or does TJ Jones quietly have great games – its WHEN he catches the ball. Him and Eifert always seem to catch a long pass on long 3rd downs (see #2)
    5. E. Golson – man is he going to be good!
    6. This team is special

  12. bills4 - Nov 25, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    It’s official, Irish come so close but get slaughtered by Alabama and are now a forgettable story!!!

    • ndforeverbeautiful - Nov 25, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      Are you sure it will be Alabama? I remember just a few weeks ago Alabama was being hyped up to the level of beating Pro teams. How well did that go for them?

      • irishdrg1 - Dec 1, 2012 at 6:19 PM

        Got beat by a middle of the pack Big 12 team LOL

  13. 4horsemenrideagain - Nov 25, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Still to happy and excited to put together anything logical so instead I’ll just re-post a tweet I read this morning:

    Robby Toma @RobJob293

    Headin to Miami for the natty!!! Let me know if you guys need tickets!!!
    @KingJames @DwyaneWade

  14. nchdomer - Nov 25, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Great game and a great ending. I think they are destined to beat Bama for the title.
    Among the many, many good things to come from the game was the goal line stand. I suspect that we will now see that highlight juxtaposed against the “Bush push” highlight that seems to be on constant replay. Nice to have our counterpoint, finally, to all of the USC highlights against ND.

  15. 1historian - Nov 25, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    I promised long ago never to say this again, but I was lying:

    Somewhere in south Florida there is a young man about 19 or 20 years old, 6’6″ 270 lbs. with uncommon athletic gifts.

    He is saying one word to himself – “damn”

    • irish4006 - Nov 26, 2012 at 5:21 PM

      And a 50 something old man, living out of mom’s social security checks, is deriving a great pleasure from the young man’s misfortunes. Give it a rest, 1loser…

      Now that we know why he left, give the man some credit for doing the right thing. Becoming a parent may be more important to some people than football. He will likely be able to go to NFL with his talent, regardless of which school he attends.

      ND is number one, the defense is number 2 (should actually be #1 since we don’t play cupcakes and played 3 of the top 4 pre-season Heisman favorite QBs with some legit offense) even without him; and you find a way to bring Lynch back in the conversation!

  16. irishirish777 - Nov 25, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Bama or UGA will be a handful, no doubt. But the Irish have 6 weeks to work out the details whoever they face. ND is hungry for this win and will play their hearts out! Bama and UGA are good but in the end won’t hang for 60 mins. Keep the faith and let’s bring home the win ND. GO IRISH!!

  17. norcalirish - Nov 26, 2012 at 6:50 AM

    I watched that game with my best buddy, who just so happens to be a graduate from that school down south. We both lost our voices.

    Insanity.

    Road tripping from California around the 1st. Anybody know of any can’t miss activities/festivities/events during the proceeding weekend? WTH is the FanFest?

    Oh…and can I get 2 tickets please? Lol

    • irishdrg1 - Dec 1, 2012 at 6:24 PM

      Got beat by a middle of the pack Big 12 team LOL and I got hotel, air and rental car, taken care, need tickets please lol

  18. nd42fn - Nov 26, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    The last time The Fighting Irish won the National Championship game I was seven years old. I’ll admit it I don’t really remember much but I remember sitting with my Grandpa Clark watching them play and his love for the Irish and how he talked about going to South Bend to watch games or to Soldier Field when ND Stadium was under construction. When I was older Grandpa would tell me stories about while over seas serving during WW2 him and his guys who all were Irish freaks as Grandpa called would use the The Irish as a means to remember home. That’s how I’ve gotten to love “our” Irish. When I started playing football in high school Grandpa went to Notre Dame and bought every darned grey ND football T-shirt it seemed like and so I could wear them under my pads. I always dreamed of playing or walking on but I blew my knee out my senior year and have become a hopeless Irish freak. There’s not a whole lot I get excited about (wife gets annoyed by this) but the world comes to a halt when anything Notre Dame comes up. I now have two sons myself one is 9 and the other is 15 months, the nine year old thinks he’s Manti T’eo and knows more about Manti then Manti knows about himself. The baby knows how to say Touchdown Noootre Dame with his arms up. Win or lose in the National Championship game I think Coach Kelly has done a heck of a job with our Irish and these young men need a huge pat on the back for dealing with all the heartaches they’ve been through. Plus they never let all the critics telling them that they don’t belong or Notre Dame is a history lesson that will never be a national threat. Jason Clark

  19. boyshole25 - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    You’re all on crack the sec is gonna smack them around like the priests do to them each Sunday

  20. almoose - Nov 27, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    ND was just great! I think that playing the SEC and beating them would be just super! Kelly doing better with his temper with the players and coaches. He needs to be careful with the refs and his temper so he does not grab one. Got close Saturday. Needs a guardian to get him back in the box when he loses it! Can’t have a Hayes incident as it could cost the game the school and the coach. Coach Kelly think about it as you are a wonderful coach for the school!

  21. irishirish777 - Dec 3, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Lots of people are on-believers that the Irish can defeat Alabama. I believe they can! This wasn’t supposed to be a year that we expected to go to the big game but it turned out this way. The Irish have the players to make it happen and the time to prepare. So glad the students will get to go for half price…that should give some Irish spirit there. ND have played their best games at away games and I can’t wait to see the Alabama fans stunned in the stands after the Irish get the victory. They don’t think they can lose but Jan 7th will prove all. Let’s get to it Irish and come home with the victory. GO IRISH!!,!!!,!!!

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