Notre Dame’s inability to execute in the red zone almost cost them dearly against the Washington Huskies at South Bend Saturday, but some out of this world goal line defense and another huge game from Jimmy Clausen saw them win the game in overtime, 37-30.
The Huskies took the lead with a touchdown on their first drive. The Irish fought back immediately on their first posession, but could not convert and had to settle for a Nick Tausch field goal to cut the deficit to 7-3.
Two more Irish drives resulted in two more field goals as the Irish could not get into the end zone, though they did take the lead for the first time, 9-7.
Clausen, who is still suffering the effect of that turf toe, gave the lead back to the visitors when he threw a backward pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown that was converted for a 14-9 Washington lead.
The Irish finally got going shortly after when Clausen connected to Golden Tate who made a 67-yard play, breaking three tackles and sprinting into the end zone for the first Notre Dame touchdown of the day. Tausch converted and the Irish led 16-14.
A frenzied final few minutes in the first half saw each side turn the ball over before Jeff Locker make two long passing plays to set up his field goal unit to score and give the Huskies a 17-16 lead at the break.
Less than twenty seconds into the second half, a 77-yard play from Golden Tate put the Irish down at the Huskies two-yard line.
However, the Irish could not convert again and had to settle for another Tausch field goal to go back into the lead 19-17.
Locker made Notre Dame pay for their failure to finish in the red zone by leading his team down the field in a nine-play possession that took over four minutes and ended with a touchdown pass to Kearse. The extra point was converted and the Huskies were back in the lead 24-19.
On their next drive, the Huskies took over and went down to the field with some ease, thanks to some shoddy defending against the run.
They ended up on the two-yard line and decided to go for it on fourth and goal, but the Irish defense made a crucial goal line stand.
Clausen led his team down the field from his own one yard line and once again, the Irish could not convert in the red zone and had to settle for another Tausch field goal, his fifth, to trail 24-22.
The Huskies tried another go-for-it play on fourth down on their next possession, made it and went down to the Irish half yard line after what looked like a Polk touchdown was ruled back short.
The Irish defense stopped the Huskies and the field goal unit came out and kicked the goal.
However, a roughing the snapper penalty was called and the Huskies were given an automatic first down.
The heroic Irish defense shut out the Huskies again, and this time the field goal was converted and the Huskies took a 27-22 game with 2:56 left in the game.
The scene was set once again for a Jimmy Clausen end-of-game special. He duly delivered, going four for four for 57 yards and throwing a touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph to give the Irish a 28-27 lead.
The Irish went for a two point conversion and Robert Hughes stormed into the end zone to leave the score 30-27.
With 1:20 left on the clock Jeff Locker led his team down into field goal territory, going 70 yards in nine plays. Locker gave his kicker Eric Folk the opportunity to level the game from 37 yards with 11 seconds left, and Folk did not let the side down, splitting the posts and taking the game into overtime.
Notre Dame started things off on the 25 yard line for their overtime possession, and Clausen connected with Tate for a big drive and led his team into the red zone.
It was sixth time luck for the Irish as Robert Hughes drove in for a touchdown. Nick Tausch got the extra point and the score was now 37-30.
The Huskies took the ball on the 25 yard line for their overtime possession but once again the Irish defense stood strong and shut the Huskies out again to record a famous and dramatic win.