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Notre Dame rallies for triple-OT victory over Pitt

Associated Press

11/3/2012 8:54:10 PM

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Down 20-6 in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame was going to need some big plays and a little luck to stay undefeated and keep its national title hopes alive.

It got just enough of both.

Everett Golson scored on a quarterback sneak in the third overtime as the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish came back from a 14-point deficit and beat Pittsburgh 29-26.

Notre Dame (9-0) is off to its best start since 1993, when it finished the season ranked No. 2. Pitt (4-5) missed a potential game-winning field goal in overtime.

Golson re-entered the game after being replaced by Tommy Rees and threw an 11-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter as Notre Dame cut Pitt's lead to 20-12. Notre Dame's chances for a comeback appeared to end when Pitt cornerback K'Waun Williams intercepted a pass by Golson in the end zone.

But the Irish defence held, and Golson completed a 45-yard pass to DaVaris Daniels to the Pitt 5. Golson then threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Theo Riddick and ran in for the two-point conversion to tie the game.

Notre Dame avoided the fate of the 2002 team, the last Irish team to start a season 8-0, which was upset by Boston College 14-7. But just barely. A victory seemed unlikely when they fell behind 20-6 late in the third quarter, again when Williams intercepted Golson's pass in the end zone again when running back Cierre Wood fumbled as he attempted to dive into the end zone in the second overtime and Pitt safety Jarred Holley recovered.

But the Irish kept finding life, the last time when Kevin Harper missed a 33-yard field goal wide right.

Golson was 23-of-42 passing for 227 yards and rushed for 74 yards as well, as he kept the Pitt defence off balance. The Irish needed the big plays to overcome a stellar performance from Pitt's Ray Graham, who rushing for 172 yards, including runs of 55 and 48 yards.

Graham continually ran through Notre Dame tackles and the Panthers opened a lead by taking advantage of Irish mistakes.

Graham, one of three Pitt players allowed to play despite facing misdemeanour charges, gave the Panthers a 10-6 lead when he ran past an attempted tackle by Notre Dame safety Matthias Farley and sprinted along the sideline for the score. It was just the second rushing touchdown allowed by the Irish defence this season.

The Panthers went ahead 17-6 after Pitt linebacker Eric Williams intercepted Rees at midfield. Tino Sunseri threw a 43-yard pass to J.P. Holtz, then a 9-yard TD pass to Holtz. The Panthers made it 20-6 on a 21-yard field goal by Harper.

Sunseri was 19-of-29 passing for 164 yards and was sacked five times.

The Panthers were hoping to follow in the footsteps of the 2007 Pitt team, which was 4-7 when it won 13-9 at No. 2 West Virginia on Dec. 1 to knock the Mountaineers out of the national championship game, but just couldn't find a way to hold on.

All five Notre Dame home games this season have been decided by a touchdown or less, while the four games away from Notre Dame have been decided by an average margin of 28 points.

Coach Brian Kelly had urged his team to play better at home, and they dominated statistically early on, amassing a season-high 145 yards in the first quarter and had a time of possession advantage of 11:32 to 3:28. But they were hurt by five penalties, including a pass interference call that kept alive a drive by Pitt that led to a field goal and a holding call on a long run by Wood.

Notre Dame appeared to take a 10-3 lead early in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Riddick, but a videotape replay ruled he was down at the 1. Two plays later on third-and-goal from the 1, Riddick was stopped by Pittsburgh linebacker Shane Gordon for a 4-yard loss.

The Irish had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Kyle Brindza. Brindza later missed a 43-yard field goal wide right on the final play of the first half.

While acknowledging their mistakes, Kelly said he was proud of his players for working hard and pulling out the victory.

"Three overtimes," he said. "That's good stuff."

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No. 6 OHIO ST. 52, ILLINOIS 22

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Carlos Hyde rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns, and Braxton Miller passed for two scores and ran for another to lead Ohio State past Illinois.

The Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) maintained the upper hand in the Leaders Division heading into a bye week. They have games remaining at Wisconsin on Nov. 17 and against rival Michigan at home a week later.

Miller, considered a Heisman Trophy hopeful, had 18 carries for 73 yards and completed 12 of 20 passes for 226 yards.

It was the sixth straight loss for Illinois (2-7, 0-5) and its 11th Big Ten loss in a row.

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No. 7 GEORGIA 37, MISSISSIPPI 10

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Aaron Murray threw four touchdown passes and Georgia overcame a slow start to beat Mississippi and move one win away from a spot in the SEC championship game.

Georgia (8-1, 6-1) trailed 10-0 before scoring 37 unanswered points. The Bulldogs can clinch the SEC East title and second straight trip to the conference championship game with a win at Auburn next week.

Ole Miss (5-4, 2-3) used blitzes to record five sacks in the first half. The defensive gambles left opportunities for Murray, who completed 21 of 28 passes for 384 yards with no interceptions and touchdown passes of 66, 40, 42 and 28 yards.

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No. 8 FLORIDA 14, MISSOURI 7

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Mike Gillislee took a screen pass and went 45 yards for a touchdown, and Florida survived a scare to beat Southeastern Conference newcomer Missouri.

The Gators kept alive their hopes of winning the SEC's Eastern Division.

Florida (8-1, 7-1) was shut out in the first half, managing just 111 yards and failing to contain Missouri quarterback James Franklin. The Gators played considerably better in the second half, turning two short fields into touchdowns, with Omarius Hines scoring on a 36-yard jet sweep to tie the game in the third before Gillislee put Florida ahead for good in the fourth.

Franklin finished with four interceptions for the Tigers (4-5, 1-5).

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No. 12 LOUISVILLE 45, TEMPLE 17

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Teddy Bridgewater threw a career-high five touchdowns and Louisville rallied again to beat Temple.

The Cardinals (9-0, 4-0 Big East) fell behind for the sixth straight game, but Louisville scored on five of its first six possessions to take a 31-17 halftime lead. The Cardinals, off to their best start in school history, moved into a first-place tie with Rutgers.

Temple (3-5, 2-3) lost its third straight, getting outscored 127-44 during that stretch.

Bridgewater completed 19 of 28 passes for 324 yards, a week after he threw for a career-best 416 yards against Cincinnati.

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No. 14 OKLAHOMA 35, IOWA ST. 20

AMES, Iowa (AP) -- Landry Jones threw for 405 yards and a season-best four touchdowns and Oklahoma beat Iowa State to move coach Bob Stoops into a second-place tie with Bud Wilkinson on the Sooners' career win list.

Stoops got his 145th win and is 12 shy of tying Barry Switzer for most in school history.

Brennan Clay ran for 157 yards as the Sooners bounced back from a loss to Notre Dame. Oklahoma (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) has won 20 straight following a defeat in the regular season.

Steele Jantz threw for 191 yards for Iowa State (5-4, 2-4). The Cyclones lost their 21st straight home game against the Sooners, a stretch of futility that dates back 52 years.

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No. 15 STANFORD 48, COLORADO 0

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Kevin Hogan ignited Stanford's sputtering offence and helped the Cardinal hand Colorado its first shutout at home in 26 years.

Hogan picked apart the nation's worst defence, throwing for 184 yards and running for 48 more in just two quarters of work, and the Buffaloes were powerless to respond, gaining 76 yards of offence behind a trio of overwhelmed quarterbacks.

The Cardinal (7-2, 5-1 Pac-12) handed the Buffs (1-8, 1-5) their first shutout at Folsom Field since a 28-0 loss to Oklahoma on Nov. 15, 1986, snapping a streak of 150 straight games in which the Buffs had scored at home.

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No. 16 TEXAS A&M 38, NO. 17 MISSISSIPPI ST. 13

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Johnny Manziel threw for 311 yards and ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns, leading Texas A&M to a win over Mississippi State.

Manziel, a redshirt freshman, completed 30 of 36 passes. He ran for a 37-yard touchdown in the second quarter that helped the Aggies build a 31-0 lead by early in the second half.

The SEC's leading rusher added an 8-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2 SEC) has won all five of its road games this season. Christine Michael ran for 50 yards and two touchdowns and Ryan Swope caught nine passes for 121 yards.

Tyler Russell completed 19 of 30 passes for 212 yards for Mississippi State (7-2, 3-2).

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TEXAS 31, No. 20 TEXAS TECH 21

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- David Ash threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns to lead Texas past Texas Tech for its third straight win.

Mike Davis had a career-high 165 yards on four catches, one a 75-yarder from Ash in the second quarter for the Longhorns (7-2, 4-2), who remain alive in the Big 12 race. Freshman Johnathan Gray had 106 yards on 20 carries for Texas.

Seth Doege threw for 329 yards and a touchdown for Texas Tech (6-3, 3-3), which was badly hurt by penalties, including a touchdown being called back in the fourth quarter for holding.

The Red Raiders had to settle for field goals on four trips to the red zone.

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No. 21 NEBRASKA 28, MICHIGAN ST. 24

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Taylor Martinez threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Turner with 6 seconds left and Nebraska remained tied with Michigan atop the Big Ten Legends Division.

The Cornhuskers (7-2, 4-1) scored two touchdowns in the final 7:02 to erase a 24-14 deficit. The winning score was set up by a pass interference call in the end zone on Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard, which gave Nebraska the ball at the 5.

Le'Veon Bell ran for 188 yards and two touchdowns for the Spartans (5-5, 2-4).

Martinez rushed for 205 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the career leader in total offence for Nebraska, which is unbeaten in seven meetings with Michigan State.

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No. 22 LOUISIANA TECH 51, UTSA 27

RUSTON, La. (AP) -- Kenneth Dixon scored three touchdowns and Louisiana Tech pulled away from Texas-San Antonio in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs (8-1, 3-0 WAC) converted a fake field goal attempt into a touchdown midway through the fourth. Tech won a record ninth consecutive WAC game on homecoming and the Bulldogs appear headed for a school-record third consecutive week ranked in the Top 25.

UTSA (5-4, 1-3) dropped its fourth in a row after opening the season with five straight victories. It was the Roadrunners' first game against a nationally-ranked FCS foe.

The game featured 13 personal foul penalties between the two teams.

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TCU 39, No. 23 WEST VIRGINIA 38, 2OT

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Corey Fuller caught a 25-yard touchdown pass and Trevone Boykin threw to Josh Boyce for the 2-point conversion, lifting TCU over West Virginia.

TCU (6-3, 3-3 Big 12) got the victory after West Virginia (5-3, 2-3) went ahead on Geno Smith's 25-yard TD pass to Stedman Bailey in the second overtime.

On TCU's possession, Boykin handed off to B.J. Catalon and he pitched to Brandon Carter, who threw to Fuller in the end zone. Boyce then caught the 2-point conversion.

TCU rallied from 10 points down to force overtime. Boykin and Boyce teamed up on a 96-yard TD pass play with 1:28 left to tie the score at 31-31.