Home USA News Notre Dame beats #5 Clemson 35-14 with punt block for TD

Notre Dame beats #5 Clemson 35-14 with punt block for TD

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Prince Coley scored on a blocked punt, Benjamin Morrison returned an interception 96 yards for…

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Prince Coley scored on a blocked punt, Benjamin Morrison returned an interception 96 yards for a touchdown and had another interception to set up another score as Notre Dame won its second straight over a ranked opponent , beating No. 5 Clemson 35-14 on Saturday night.

It was just the third win over a top-10 opponent for Notre Dame (6-3) in its last 10 games since 2018. The other wins came over No. 8 Stanford in 2018 and top-ranked Clemson in 2020. Just like in that 47-40 victory two years ago, fans stormed the field to celebrate. The loss snapped a 14-game hitting streak for the Tigers (8-1), the longest among FBS teams. It was Clemson’s fifth road loss since 2015.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney pulled DJ Uiagalelei for the second straight game, even though he completed 13 of 19 passes for 78 yards when he was replaced by Cade Strawberry late in the third quarter. This time, however, it backfired as Klubnik was pressured by Justin Ademilala and his pass was intercepted by Morrison at the 14-yard line. The Irish scored three plays later on Audrick Estim’s 2-yard run to make it 21-0.

Uyagabele returned on the ensuing drive and drove the Tigers to the Irish 19-yard line before Morrison intercepted a Joseph Ngata pass at the 4-yard line and returned it for a TD.

With a 20 mph wind and Drew Pine struggling in recent games, the Irish have relied heavily on their running game, even though Clemson entered the game ranked seventh nationally against the run, giving up 87.9 yards per game. Logan Diggs rushed for 114 yards on 17 carries and the Irish had 263 rushing yards, the most yards allowed by Clemson this season. The previous high was 206 yards by Florida State.

It was the second-most shutouts of the season for the Irish. The Irish improved to 5-0 when rushing for more than 200 yards.

Pine was 9 of 17 passing for 85 yards and added a 5-yard touchdown. It was the fourth straight game in which Pine failed to complete more than 50% of his passes after completing 74% of his passes in his first three starts.

Ouagalelei finished the game 27 of 39 for 191 yards. Clemson was held to 90 yards.

The Tigers avoided a shutout when Will Shipley, who rushed for 63 yards on 12 carries, scored on a 1-yard run with 10:14 left in the game and Uyagaalelei threw a 4-yard TD pass to Joseph Ngata with 1:35 left. The Irish added a 17-yard TD pass from Pine to Mike Meyer with 4:16 left.

The Irish dominated Clemson in the first half, rushing for 122 yards and amassing 163 total yards while holding the Tigers to 30 yards rushing and 71 total yards. But the big play was when the Irish blocked their fourth punt in the last three games on Clemson’s opening drive after the Tigers lost 11 yards after being called twice for holding. Linebacker Jordan Botello broke through the line and made a two-handed grab on Aidan Swanson’s punt, and Coley caught it in mid-air and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown.

The Irish opened up a 14-0 lead with 38 seconds left before halftime as they drove 78 yards on 11 plays, with all but one of those plays coming in runs. Estimi had six runs for 35 yards, Chris Tyree had three runs for 17 yards and Pine threw an 11-yard pass to Michael Meyer and ran twice for a 5-yard score.

The Irish had another opportunity to score, but Blake Gruppe’s 42-yard attempt went wide left.

Tempers flared as the teams headed to the locker room at halftime after Clemson right guard Walker Parks shoved Notre Dame defensive lineman Jason Ademilola. A few players jostled before the teams split up and headed to their different tunnels.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY

Clemson will likely fall out of the top 10 after losing to a three-loss team. The Irish, who beat then-No. 16 Syracuse 41-24 the week before, may be considered.

FOR TAKE AWAY

Clemson: The Tigers are unlikely to make their seventh playoff appearance in eight years after a lopsided loss to a three-loss team with no games left against ranked teams.

Notre Dame: The high point for the Irish in coach Marcus Freeman’s first year as coach so far has been a tough game at No. 2 Ohio State through three quarters. It’s Notre Dame’s biggest win since the students stormed the field for a 47-40 double-overtime victory over top-ranked Clemson two years ago.

FURTHER

Clemson: Ends the season with three home games, starting with Louisville on Saturday.

Notre Dame: Travels to Baltimore to face Navy in the annual game against the Midshipmen on Saturday.

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