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We Believe! Jimmy Clausen celebrates after a two-point conversion gives the Irish a three point lead over Washington late in the fourth quarter

Notre Dame's Clausen to Tate the new Montana to Rice?

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We Believe! Jimmy Clausen celebrates after a two-point conversion gives the Irish a three point lead over Washington late in the fourth quarter

Jimmy Clausen to Golden Tate is starting to sound like Joe Montana to Gerry Rice.

We all thought it wold be Clausen to Michael Floyd this year but the injury to Floyd has ruled that scenario out.

Tate has not disappointed however. He has been, well - Golden.

The more we see Clausen the more we believe.

His display against Washington State has cemented his reputatation as a hometown hero - the guy who has to have the ball as time runs out and the game is on the line.

Golden Tate has filled Floyd's boots in dramatic fashion.

After his screw-up game aganst Michigan he could have run away and hidden for the rest of the season but instead he has come back with stellar performances in every game since.

His display against Washington State was his greatest of all.

The lack of a red zone running game and the ability to batter the ball in from inside the 20 is still the greatest weakness in the Notre Dame offense.

But somehow, Clausen has been finding a way. With just a little bit of luck the team would now be undefeated - the loss to Michigan was unlucky but let's face it we have scraped home in almost every other game since with the exception of Nevada.

I think the real test of this team comes against USC in two weeks time.

The national polls will not rate us unless we can win that game.

USC have blown us away so often recently it is hard to remember our last win.

A victory against USC will cement the reputation of this team as a bunch of gritty underdogs who find a way to win - and put us back in the national picture.

Maybe I've been worng about Charlie Weis, maybe he does have what it takes, to create that kind of blue-collar, lunch pail get-it-over-the-line ethic in a side that had shown serious shortcomings when the pressure came on in previous seasons.

Meanwhile, Clausen to Tate has a shot at joining the great Notre Dame passing combinations of recent times.

Jimmy Clausen has taken his time finding his feet in the cauldron that is South Bend.

But we are all starting to believe now.

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