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Throwback Thursday: Notre Dame Fighting Irish VS Clemson Tigers

In the most anticipated game at Notre Dame stadium in over a decade, the No. 4 ranked Notre Dame football team took down No. 1 Clemson, 47-40, in a double-overtime thriller.

Clemson v Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 07: Running back Kyren Williams #23 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish falls after a running play in the fourth quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Notre Dame Stadium on November 7, 2020 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Clemson 47-40 in double overtime.
Photo by Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images

I’m not sure where the season has gone, but it is flying by way too fast. This week the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame take on the Clemson Tigers in Clemson, South Carolina. The two teams have played each other a total of seven times with Notre Dame winning three (1977, 2020, and 2022), and Clemson winning four (1979, 2015, 2018, and 2020). I have seen these two teams play three times, but have only seen Notre Dame win once (last year!)

Notre Dame’s largest margin of victory over Clemson was 35-14 (in 2022), and Clemson’s largest margin of victory over ND was 30-3 (2018). (... and I was at them both!) Notre Dame has 11 National Championships to Clemson’s 3. Notre Dame’s all time win record is 945-337-42 (.730), and Clemson’s all time win record is 793-472-45 (.623). Notre Dame has had 525 NFL Draft picks, and 70 first round NFL Draft picks, and Clemson has had 274 NFL Draft picks, and 39 first round NFL Draft picks.

Since I’ve already looked back at the 1977 meeting between these two teams, today I’ll look back at the November 2020 matchup. For a different perspective, this recap is from the Greenville News.

In a game that everyone wanted to be at, where only students, faculty, and players’ parents were in attendance, the Irish won a thriller in double overtime and the Notre Dame student rushed the field.

I remember exactly where I was watching this game. I was on my way home from a convention in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and had stopped in Nashville to watch the ND game. The bar had the ND/Clemson game on one big screen TV, and the Arkansas/Tennessee game on the other big screen TV, and needless to say it was an exciting/stressful night of football watching (Arkansas upset Tennessee that night by a score of 24-13)!

Clemson vs. Notre Dame football game: Scoring from South Bend

First Quarter: Notre Dame 10, Clemson 7

14:27: Following a defensive holding penalty on the Tigers, Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams raced 65-yards down the left sideline to give the Irish an early lead over the Tigers.

5:55: The Irish have scored on their first two possessions of the game. Kicker Jonathan Doerer capped the second drive with a 24-yard field goal. Notre Dame lined up at the 1-yard line to attempt a fourth and inches play, but a false start backed them up resulting in the field goal try.

4:11: It didn’t take long for the Tigers to get back into this one. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei hit receiver Cornell Powell for a 53-yard scoring strike. Clemson covered 75 yards on four plays.

Second Quarter: Notre Dame 23, Clemson 13

13:09: Notre Dame kick Jonathan Doerer connects on his second field goal of a game. This was a 27-yarder that wrapped up a 13-play, 66-yard drive.

8:32: Clemson kicker B.T. Potter hits a 25-yard field goal to carve into Notre Dame’s lead.

5:53: Clemson senior running back Travis Etienne loses eight yards and the ball on a pitch from D.J. Uiagalelei on their own 23-yard line where Fighting Irish linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah takes the ball out of the air and runs for the score.

2:41: Notre Dame’s Jonathan Doerer makes his third field goal of the half - a 45-yarder. The Irish defense got this drive started when Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah stripped Clemson receiver Amari Rodgers of the ball following a reception on Clemson’s 28-yard line. Following a review the ruling on the field - a fumble - was upheld.

1:09: Clemson’s B.T. Potter matched Jonathan Doerer’s 45-yard field goal with one of his own to close out the scoring in the first half.

Third Quarter: Clemson 23, Notre Dame 23

12:15: Clemson’s opening drive of the second half goes for 36 yards and ends with 46-yard field goal by B.T. Potter. Clemson’s last three scores have come by way of field goals.

4:12: The Tigers tie the game with quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei hitting tight end Davis Allen for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Clemson went 60 yards in 13 plays over 6:29. It was the third straight scoring drive for the Tigers.

1:00: Clemson’s defense comes up big with the Irish threatening to score. Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book was on his way to the end zone when Clemson linebacker Jake Venables strips the ball at the 5-yard and it rolls into the end zone where Baylon Spector recovers it for a touchback.

Fourth Quarter: Clemson 33, Notre Dame 33

9:42: Clemson’s B.T. Potter ties the game with a 30-yard field goal. The Tigers covered a lot of ground on the drive when D.J. Uiagalelei hit Cornell Powell with a 51-yard pass to the Notre Dame 20-yard line.

3:33: Clemson running back Travis Etienne runs the ball up the middle for a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers their first lead of the game. It was a 74-yard drive with a few key moments. Clemson got the Fighting Irish to jump offsides on a fourth and inches leading to a first down. Later, Cornell Powell took a wide receiver screen 15 yards to the 3-yard line... breaking tackles and deny attempts to strip the ball along the way.

0:22: Notre Dame drives 91 yards on eight plays to tie the game when quarterback Ian Book throws a 4-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Avery Davis.

1st OT: Clemson 40, Notre Dame 40

► Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei throws a dart to receiver Cornell Powell inside the 10-yard line, who takes the ball inside the 1-yard line. Uiagalelei ran the ball into the end zone for the go-ahead score on the following play.

► Notre Dame sophomore running back Kyren Williams answers Clemson’s score with a 3-yard run up the middle on second and goal to tie the game.

Final, 2nd OT: Notre Dame 47, Clemson 40

► Kyren Williams goes in from 3 yards out for his second touchdown in overtime to give the Fighting Irish the lead.

► Clemson failed to score in the second overtime as quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei was sacked on the first two plays, followed by an incompletion and a pass that came short of the first down.

Here are the video highlights to continue your walk down memory lane:

What say you? Do the Irish continue to dominate this weekend and beat Clemson on the road in Death Valley? I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to watch this one!

Cheers & GO IRISH!