Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 16, 2015 Issue

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

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ranked: then-No. 7 Stanford in 2012 and then-No. 21 Temple Oct. 31. Conversely, among Holtz's 13 such victims, 11 were ranked, five of them in the top 10. However, Holtz also was often vilified for losing leads late in the fourth quarter, including home games against Stanford and Penn State in 1990, Tennessee in 1991 (after leading 31-7 at one point), Boston College in 1993, the 1996 Orange Bowl to Florida State, and his swan song at USC in 1996. From Kelly's perspective, or that of any other coach, he will take a victory any way he can. "Winning football games requires character, requires guys that believe," Kelly said. "So regardless of whether you were supposed to win the game or not, to win college football games, given the competition that we play — we're not playing I-AA opponents [or Football Championship Subdivision opponents now], we're not playing anybody but FBS schools — it says that we've got guys that have character and resolve and believe they're going to win. That's a good trait to have." Kelly's Irish teams have also lost seven games after holding a lead in the fourth quarter, three of them in his first year (Michigan, Michigan State in overtime and Tulsa) and two last season (Florida State and Northwestern). In chronological order, here are Kelly's "Lucky 13." Nov. 27, 2010: 20-16 at USC Trailed in fourth: 16-13 Game winner: Utilizing a physical ground attack in the rain, senior running back Robert Hughes capped a 77-yard drive on a five-yard scoring run with 2:23 left, and later was awarded the game ball. Sept. 24, 2011: 15-12 at Pitt Trailed in fourth: 12-7 Game winner: Sophomore quarterback Tommy Rees completed all eight passes in the 85-yard drive that concluded with a six-yard TD and two-pointer to sophomore tight end Tyler Eifert with 6:48 left. Oct. 13, 2012: 20-13 (overtime) vs. Stanford Trailed in fourth: 10-3 Game winner: Sophomore quarterback Everett Golson tied the game at 10 with a scoring pass to Eifert, and Rees helped send it to overtime, setting up a Kyle Brindza field goal while replacing an injured Golson. And then a Rees scoring toss to junior wide receiver TJ Jones, followed by a goal-line stand, won it in overtime. Oct. 20, 2012: 17-14 vs. Brigham Young Trailed in fourth: 14-10 Game winner: One week later, the Irish pulled out the win over the Cougars when sophomore running back George Atkinson scored from two yards out with 12:52 left. Nov. 3, 2012: 29-26 (three overtimes) vs. Pitt Trailed in fourth: 20-6 Game winner: For the third time in four weeks, the Irish rallied in the fourth quarter at home, with Golson finding senior running back Theo Riddick on a five-yard scoring pass and then scrambling in for the two-point conversion to knot the score at 20 with 52 seconds left. After Brindza's 37-yard field goal tied the game in the first overtime, the Irish prevailed in the third OT when Golson scored on a one-yard run. Sept. 14, 2013: 31-24 at Purdue Trailed in fourth: 17-10 Game winner: The Irish scored three touchdowns in a span of 3:29 early in the fourth quarter, with Rees tossing nine- and 82-yard scores to junior wide- out DaVaris Daniels, and senior cornerback Bennett Jackson returning an interception for a touchdown. Purdue would finish 1-11. Nov. 2, 2013: 38-34 vs. Navy Trailed in fourth: 27-24 and 34-31

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