A Game for the Ages: Notre Dame Knocks Off Clemson in Overtime Thriller


Ben Harding, Staff Writer

On November 7th, the number one ranked Clemson Tigers traveled to South Bend, Indiana to take on the fourth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  This game started off with a bang, with Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams running 65 yards to the house on the first play from scrimmage to give the Irish a 7-0 lead early.  The momentum went back and forth between the two teams for most of the game, with Quarterbacks Ian Book(ND) and true freshman DJ Uiagalelei(Clemson) playing great games, complemented by running backs Kyren Williams(ND) and Travis Etienne(Clemson).  The game came all the way down to the last drive in the fourth quarter, and even beyond.  

     Coming into the game, there were quite a few major storylines.  Clemson was going to be without Heisman hopeful Quarterback Trevor Lawrence(COVID), as well as defensive star James Skalski(COVID) and Wide Receiver Justyn Ross(injured spine).  Coming into Notre Dame stadium without key players presented a massive challenge.  

     This game was close throughout.  Down 33-26 with 1:41 left in the game, Ian Book led the Irish on an eight-play, 91-yard touchdown drive highlighted by a 53-yard strike from Book to Avery Davis.  The game headed to OT, and Clemson scored in two plays.  Notre Dame answered with back to back touchdowns.  Clemson got the ball back, knowing they had to score to extend the game.  DJ Uiagalelei was sacked on first and second down, leading to a fourth and 24.  “The Irish can knock them off on this snap” exclaimed announcer Mike Tirico.  After a complete pass and more than a few laterals, Notre Dame made a tackle and ended the game.  The final score: Notre Dame: 47, Clemson: 40.

     This game might have been the best so far of the 2020 season!  The offenses were amazing, and the defenses made a lot of big plays in big moments.  Notre Dame racked up a whopping 518 total yards, and Clemson had 473 of their own.  That’s almost 1000 total yards combined!  While Clemson’s true freshman Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was able to slice and dice the Irish secondary, the Irish defense held the nation’s top running back, Travis Etienne to only 28 rushing yards.  They also forced an Etienne fumble and returned it for a touchdown.  The Irish made just enough big plays to knock off the former number one team in the country.   This game was HUGE for the Irish!  Since they joined the Atlantic Coast Conference(ACC) for the COVID season, that meant that they likely had to beat Clemson to make it into the playoff.  Notre Dame(7-0) and Clemson(7-1) are now on a collision course to play again in the ACC Championship game.  If Clemson wins, they will make it in the four-team playoff, and it is likely that the Irish could join them.  If the Irish beat Clemson to cap off an undefeated season, it is likely that they’ll cement themselves as the best team in College Football, and will have a great chance to win the National Championship.  The ACC Championship will be played on December 19th, 2020 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.  If both of these teams win all of their remaining games (which is extremely likely), it is inevitable that College Football fans will be blessed with Notre Dame vs. Clemson, part two!

     To conclude, few College Football games in recent history have lived up to the hype as well as this one.  Two top 4 teams, both undefeated, fighting for a spot in the playoff, turnovers, high-scoring, big defensive plays, over time, and fans storming the field, despite a pandemic!  The game started with a 65-yard touchdown for Pete’s sake!  How could anyone not have loved watching this game?  Okay, maybe Clemson fans didn’t love it.  But for the rest of the College Football nation, this was the game of the year!