The Fighting Irish have grown a knack for taking naps for the first three quarters of football games. And when they wake up in the fourth, it’s always too late.
Not even Golden Tate’s electrifying punt return for a touchdown late in the game could rally Notre Dame, who lost their second straight ball game, and possibly their head coach.
Jimmy Clausen’s final pass from scrimmage- scratch that- fumble with just over two minutes remaining could have cemented the fate of Charlie Weis. Clausen finished the game with 283 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Panthers dominated the first three quarters of action. Freshman sensation Dion Lewis schooled the Irish defense for 153 yards on 23 carries, including a backbreaking 50- yard gem. Pitt's defense held the lifeless Irish to just three points through three quarters.
But it was Tate who did his absolute best to grab the much needed victory for the Irish. He took a 10-yard pass from Clausen and transformed it into an 18-yard touchdown that cut their deficit to 27-16.
After Pitt stalled, Tate received a punt at his own 13-yard line and took it 87 yards, weaving and sneaking past oncoming defenders. His pride was displayed on a silver platter, obvious to the sold out Heinz field audience.
His twin Mike Floyd also had a good day. Although he failed to find pay dirt, he still hauled in seven passes for 107 yards. On the opposite sideline, Panther’s WR Jonathan Baldwin caught five passes for 141 yards and a score.
As far as Charlie Weis is concerned, well, he should be concerned. Again, the loss tonight wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Notre Dame came out flat, on a game that was broadcast to everyone in the world that has the ABC network.