It was a day of “is this really happening” inside Notre Dame Stadium between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. A turbulent 1st half all but sealed the deal for Cincinnati to break Notre Dame’s home winning streak with a 24-13 win.
Notre Dame took the opening drive, and marched right down the field with a blemd of runs and passes that hasn’t been there all year. It was short lived success, as Jack Coan threw an interception to Sauce Gardner on the one yard line. It was the most exciting play of the first quarter.
What followed was five combined punts in a row for the Bearcats and the Irish. On that sixth drive, however, Notre Dame turned the ball over again. This time it was a Tyler Buchner pass that was intercepted, and returned it to the 8 yard line. On 3rd down from the 2, the Bearcats punched it in to take the initial lead of 7-0.
The Bearcats would add two more scores in the second quarter while the Irish still floundered on offense. With under a minute left in the half, Desmond Ridder found Tre Tucker for a touchdown to put the Cats up 17-0 at the half.
Brian Kelly made the quarterback switch to Drew Pyne to start the 2nd half, but it wasn’t until the Irish forced a fumble and had Drew White return it deep into Cincy territory that the Irish offense came to life. Kyren Williams was able to punch it in from the 3 to make it 17-7.
Despite the Notre Dame offense “looking better” they were still going nowhere, and thanks to a couple of missed Cincinnati field goals, the Irish were still in the game early in the 4th quarter. Notre Dame finally put themselves in a position to compete with an 8 play 80 yard drive that ended with a 32 yard touchdown pass from Pyne to Braden Lenzy. Jonathan Doerer missed the point after, and the game was 17-13 Bearcats.
On the ensuing Cincinnati drive, one nice chunk play after another ended with a 6 yard Desmond Ridder touchdown run, and the game was 24-13 with just a little over 5 minutes left in the game.
The next drive for the Irish saw little success, and eventually they turned it over on downs with a couple of minutes left in the game, and the Bearcats ran out the clock.
Notre Dame is now 4-1 on the season.
We will have much more on this game on OFD coming soon.