Notre Dame D Legit: 9 TD In 12 Games; Plus, Epic USC Goal-Line Stand Play-By-Play
Notre Dame finished the year No. 2 in scoring defense (10.3 PPG) behind Alabama (9.3 PPG).
Remarkably, the Fighting Irish surrendered just nine touchdowns in 12 games this year (7 pass, 2 rush) including six TDs over their final 10 games. (Stanford scored its lone TD on defense.)
It's an amazing feat in this day and age of hugely potent passing attacks and dual-purpose QBs tearing up defenses each and every Saturday.
Here's a game-by-game look at the 9 TDs scored against 12-0 Notre Dame this season, and then the play-by-play on the epic fourth-quarter goal line stand against USC.
Note the Irish did not give up a single rush TD until the eighth game of the year and against the mighty Oklahoma offense, which averaged 41.7 PPG.
Navy (7-4) – 25-yard TD pass (score: 50-10)
Purdue (6-6) – 2-yard TD pass; 15-yard TD pass (20-17)
Michigan State (6-6) – 0 TD (20-3)
Michigan (8-4) – 0 TD (13-6)
Miami (7-5) – 0 TD (41-3)
Stanford (10-2) – 0 TD (20-13 OT); one defensive TD
BYU (7-5) - 6-yard TD pass; 2-yard TD pass (17-14)
Oklahoma (9-2) – 1-yard TD run (30-13)
Pitt (5-6) – 16-yard TD run; 9-yard TD pass (29-26 3OT)
Boston College (2-10) – 0 (21-6)
Wake Forest (5-7) – 0 (38-0)
USC (7-5) – 11-yard TD pass (22-13)
Not a lot of patsies on the schedule, either.
Alabama, the No. 1 defense statistically, enjoyed games against mid-major teams like Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic and Western Carolina, the worst team (1-10) in the Southern Conference of the FCS (the former Div. 1AA).
Should be interesting to see which defense really is the best if the Crimson Tide gets past Georgia in the SEC title game.
The USC Goal-Line Stand
The Notre Dame season was highlighted by a series of epic goal-line stands, perhaps most notably in the 20-13 overtime win against a very good Stanford team. The 10-2 Cardinal play UCLA in the Pac-12 championship Friday after beating them 35-17 on Saturday.
USC had a chance to move within 1 or 2 points against Notre Dame in the fourth quarter Saturday, trailing 22-13, but fell short. The Trojans even benefitted from back-to-back PI penalties against the Irish.
Here's a look at the play by play:
1st and goal at ND 2 - USC flagged for false start
1st and goal at ND 7 - 3-yard run
2nd and goal at ND 4 - pass interference against KeiVarae Russell
1st and goal at ND 2 - pass interference against Russell
1st and goal at ND 1 - sneak by Max Wittek, no gain
2nd and goal at ND 1 - sneak by Wittek, no gain
3rd and goal at ND 1 - rush by Curtis McNeal, no gain
4th and goal at ND 1 - Wittek pass to Soma Vainuku incomplete
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