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Notre Dame Football

Extra Special: Irish topple No. 1 Clemson in 2OT

November 8, 2020

A tale of two halves Saturday night inside Notre Dame Stadium required a pair of addendums.

Fourth-ranked Notre Dame then penned a Hollywood ending.

Getting an overtime-forcing touchdown toss from Ian Book inside the final moments and a third rushing touchdown from Kyren Williams, the last one in double-overtime, plus a suddenly swarming defense, the Fighting Irish stunned top-ranked Clemson, 47-40, before a rushing-the-field crowd of 11,011.

It was the Notre Dame program’s first home win against a No. 1-ranked team since Florida State here in 1993 and the Irish’s first double-overtime game since their season-opening loss against Texas in 2016.

“Yeah it was, for me, just watching our team … handle themselves in the fourth quarter, handling themselves in adversity, as a coach, those are the special moments,” Kelly said. “Yeah, we won the football game. Certainly excited about that but more so when you watch your players exhibit resolve and exhibit grit and refuse to lose a football game to a team that was No. 1 in the country and oh by the way hadn't lost a game in the regular season in 36 games.”

The Tigers (7-1, 6-1 ACC) tried a final desperation pass-and-lateral play on the final snap of the second bonus session, as they faced fourth-and-24 from the 39, and it was snuffed out as students engulfed players on the field in Notre Dame’s 23rd-straight home triumph..

Book had capped an eight-play, 91-yard drive on a goal-line toss to Avery Davis from inside the 5 for the overtime-forcing touchdown with Jonathan Doerer’s extra point.

But D.J. Uiagalelei found Cornell Powell for a 24-yard strike on the first play of overtime, and Uiagalelei plunged in for the score a play later.

Notre Dame answered with the first of Williams' two 3-yard scoring darts in the extra sessions.

As far as fast starts, Notre Dame hardly could have asked for anything better to open the clash.

The Fighting Irish won the coin toss; they elected to receive the ball.

And officially one play later, Kyren Williams had run by and away from the Clemson defense for a 65-yard touchdown.

After a quick defensive stop, ND boosted its edge to 10-0 less than 10 minutes into the game as Jonathan Doerer drilled the first of his two field goals in the opening half.

Doerer’s chip-shot came only after the Irish had a fourth-and-1 touchdown from just beyond the 1-yard line negated by a false start. 

The Tigers answered with a Uiagalelei strike to a streaking Cornell Powell for a 53-yard catch-and-score.

Again, undaunted Notre Dame answered the bell. The Irish drove inside Clemson’s 10 but the drive fizzled; Doerer’s second triple made it 13-7.

Then Owusu-Koramoah delivered one of those plays that could stand the test of time in Irish lore.

As Travis Etienne bobbled the pitch, Owusu-Koramoah snatched possession and outraced Etienne into the end zone for a 20-10 lead.

After another takeaway, when Owusu-Koramoah stripped Amari Rodgers on a reception and Nick McCloud recovered, Doerer delivered the Irish’s largest edge, 23-10, when Doerer’s kick was true from 45.

Clemson answered with B.T. Potter’s third field goal for a halftime margin of 23-13.

The Irish amassed 519 yards' offense and held Clemson to 473. Most impressive, the Tigers were thwarted on the ground with only 34 rushing yards.

Notre Dame also forced three Clemson turnovers and had just one of its own, when Book nearly scored a key second-half touchdown but instead fumbled into the end zone and saw the Tigers recover the loose ball.




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