Posted on September 22, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Heading into Saturday night’s game against the Georgia Bulldogs, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish knew much of the world was counting them out. With spreads as big as two touchdowns, there were not many who thought the game would even be close—but it was.
While they were not able to walk away with a win, Notre Dame made sure one thing would not happen again this season—no one will overlook or underestimate them again.
Both defenses took charge early on as neither team was able to generate much offense. But Notre Dame was able to get on the board first early in the second after recovering a fumble by Georgia punt returner Tyler Simmons on the eight-yard line.
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Five plays later, Ian Book connected with Cole Kmet from a yard out to take an early 7-0 lead. However, Georgia as able to respond with a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to tie the game up at 7-7. But then the Fighting Irish began to find some offense and tacked on a field goal before halftime.
A turnover on their first drive of the second half set the Bulldogs up for an easy field goal to tie the game up at 10-10. After the Notre Dame offense went three and out on the next drive, Georgia took its first lead of the game with a 31-yard field goal.
Another three and out led to Georgia opening up a 10-point lead following a 15-ard touchdown pass from Jake Fromm to Lawrence Cager. The Notre Dame offense didn’t go three and out on the next drive, but an interception led to the Bulldogs kicking another field goal, to take a 13-point lead, with 6:54 to go.
With the game slipping away, Ian Book was able to get the offense back on track on the next drive a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. It ended with Book connecting with Chase Claypool from four-yards out to cut the gap to six, 23-17, with 3:12 left to play.
Now they just needed the ball back.
The defense obliged by forcing Georgia to a three and out, but the offense was unable to move the ball on the final drive.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart summed the game up well in his postgame comments (via ESPN):
“That’s what college football is all about, man. I hate that somebody had to lose that game. I’ve got a lot of respect for the way they played, and all the negative things they’ve heard, and to come out and play the way they did. They played really physical as a team, and so did we. We persevered.”
Notre Dame was not being looked at as a serious contender for the playoffs before the game. But with the fight the gave Georgia, if they can run the table the rest of the way, they may be in the conversation at the end of the season. However, they will need a couple of teams in the top five to lose if they are going to sneak in.
They face No 18 Virginia next week at home.
As for the Bulldogs, they could definitely run the table and secure their spot in the playoffs again. But they still have a few challenges left in No. 9 Florida (on 11/2), No. 7 Auburn (11/16), and Texas A&M (11/23). They had to Tennessee in a couple of weeks for a game against the struggling Volunteers