Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 24, 2014 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 33 of 114

BY DOUGLAS FARMER B rian Kelly did not have enough faith in his kicking game to at- tempt a fourth-quarter extra point, but he entrusted it with a 42-yard field goal in overtime. The former decision begat the latter — a miss — and when Northwestern made its own attempt in overtime, the Wild- cats claimed a stunning 43-40 upset of No. 18 Notre Dame. "We got to coach better; we got to play better," the Irish head coach said afterward. "We're going to look to re- group and do that on Monday." Notre Dame (7-3) failed to gain a yard in overtime, leaving its fate to the foot of senior kicker Kyle Brindza, who had already missed a 38-yard field goal attempt and had a point after try blocked. Both of those mis- cues came, at least in part, due to poor holds from sophomore Malik Zaire, who was seeing game action at the position for the first time. Brindza's overtime attempt — just like his second-quarter try — sailed wide left. Four plays later, Northwest- ern redshirt sophomore Jack Mitchell knocked a 41-yard kick through the uprights, and the Wildcats stormed the field with helmets held aloft. "We were able to find a way to make one more big play," Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "From a kicking game standpoint, this was probably our most consistent perfor- mance of year. "That was obviously the difference going down the stretch." Northwestern (4-6) scored 11 unan- swered points to close regulation and tie the contest 40-40. After a touch- down pass from Notre Dame senior quarterback Everett Golson to sopho- more wide receiver Will Fuller — their third of the day — gave the Irish a 40-29 lead with 10:34 remaining, Kelly kept the offense on the field to attempt a two-point conversion. Golson's throw to Fuller fell incomplete, keep- ing Northwestern within a touchdown, a two-point conversion and a field goal — a sequence the Wildcats followed to the letter. "Our chart tells us in that situation to go for one," Kelly said of the puz- zling decision. "But we were up 11 at the time and felt like, given the cir- cumstances, our kicking game situa- tion, we were going to try to extend it with a two-point play." Junior Hunter Smith had served as CAT BURGLARS Northwestern steals a 43-40 overtime victory thanks to four turnovers and three missed kicks by Notre Dame

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