Now that we're well over the hump of passing the time between football seasons, we can look back fondly on some of the exciting plays from 2014 without too much negative emotional attachment. There were plenty of ups and downs, but the downs are fading quickly away into a vague collection of missteps that thick-skinned Notre Dame fans have learned to coexist with, while the ups are still bright and vibrant fodder for getting us pumped up for all of the possibilities 2015 holds. With still a few score days to kill before opening kickoff, I thought it might be a pretty spicy move to try to animate my MSPaints of these plays. Not only that, but the criteria for selection is completely nebulous and inconsistent -- they are just my favorite plays -- so there will be plenty to debate over the next couple of weeks as we count them down.
Coming in at number 5 we have Kyle Brindza's 32 yard game winner against LSU that put the correct closing punctuation on a season that needed to end on a positive note. With 5:41 left and the game tied at 28, the Irish needed to sustain a long drive to put themselves in a position to win the game without giving the ball back to LSU's offense, where any play with Leonard Fournette involved could be a scoring one. The Irish did just that, going 71 yards on 14 plays to set up Brindza's final kick of his college career, which sailed through the uprights as the clock expired to give Notre Dame a satisfying victory against a respectable SEC team.
Admittedly this kick was more tense than it should have been given the shakiness of the field goal attempts over the past several games prior, but the payoff that arose from such uncertainty was huge. It was also enough for Brian Kelly to award his kicker the game ball in the locker room afterwards. Number 5 on our countdown is a moment that embodied an entire game played hard by a team that deserved to win. Nice hold Malik!
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