Notre Dame loses another New Years Six game, but in much more heartbreaking fashion with a slow death burn throughout the second half, as the Irish have 30 unanswered points put up on them during the last 31 minutes of game play.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish came out on fire to start the Fiesta Bowl against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Irish got the ball first and wasted little time as they went 75 yards in 5 plays (all passes) to end up in the endzone in 1:39 with a 29 yard strike from Jack Coan to Lorenzo Styles.
It was a foreshadowing of what the Irish were going to have to do for the rest of the day.
The Notre Dame defense did a great job early of putting pressure on Spencer Sanders and forcing some bad throws. Isaiah Foskey was able to get a big third down sack to help the Irish get the ball back.
Notre Dame quickly made it 14-0 in the first quarter on a 4 play drive that went 66 yards. A 53 yard catch and run for a touchdown by Chris Tyree — who had a monster day catching the ball.
OSU responded well to the 14-0 deficit. After forcing a Notre Dame punt, the Cowboys went 82 yards on 8 plays and ended with a 9 yard Jalen Bray Td reception from Spencer Sanders to make it 14-7, Irish.
The Irish couldn’t get anything going on the ground, but things were going so well through the air, that any run play called felt like a wasted play. Jack Coan found Michael Mayer for a touchdown to make it 21-7 Irish, and then after both teams missed a field goal attempt, it was Coan to Mayer again to go up 28-7.
Notre Dame was rolling as they kicked it off with 1:16 left in the first half.
OSU kept their composure and found all the holes they needed in the defense to march it down quickly — 75 yards for a touchdown in 39 seconds to make it 28-14 before the half.
The Cowboys got the ball first in the 3rd quarter and with a ton of momentum, they took the opening drive 87 yards in 12 plays for ANOTHER Spencer Sanders passing touchdown to cut the lead to 28-21. Notre Dame continued to do nothing on offense, and Oklahoma State completed the comeback with an 89 yard touchdown drive.
After yet ANOTHER 3 and out by the Irish offense, Oklahoma State finally took the lead on their next possession with a 41 yard field goal to make it 31-28. Notre Dame’s Logan Diggs fumbled the ball on a short run as he laid on top of a defender, and Oklahoma State went back to work on offense. The Cowboys continued their assault on the Irish defense both in the air and with Sanders scrambling, but a fantastic strip by Jack Kiser on the goal line forced a fumble into the arms of Ramon Henderson in the endzone.
The Irish stayed cold, and were forced to punt after another 3 and out (6th of the day) and Oklahoma State made them pay with a field goal to stretch the lead to 6 points at 34-28.
Notre Dame responded and finally got the ball moving again in the air, but after 41 yards, Jack Coan threw an interception to Malcolm Rodriguez inside the redzone. Oklahoma State kept moving the chains and the clock as they drove inside the redzone. The refs tried to (continue) to hose the Irish as Isaiah Foskey stripped the ball and Drew White recovers — but it went to review as the refs said Sanders was down. The review went Notre Dame’s way, and the Irish took over at their own 11 yard line with 3:07 left in the game.
Notre Dame promptly turned the ball over on downs after only gaining 3 yards on 4 plays, and Oklahoma State made it a 37-28 game with a field goal with just over two minutes left in the game.
Notre Dame drove down the field using up about a minute of time off the clock, and Jack Coan found Kevin Austin for a 25 yard touchdown to make it 37-35 OSU. On the ensuing onside kick, the ball was recovered by the Cowboys after the ball only traveled 7 yards.
This was an epic letdown during the final 31 minutes. More to come on OFD.