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Irish season in review: ND 20, Purdue 17

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Irish season in review: ND 20, Purdue 17

Everett Golson completed 21 of 31 passes for 289 yards and accounted for two touchdowns, one throwing and one rushing. But that wasn't enough for the sophomore to finish Notre Dame's home opener against Purdue Sept. 8.

Notre Dame's offense stalled after Golson hit T.J. Jones for a touchdown early in the third quarter, and the Irish ultimately squandered a 10-point lead. Purdue tied things up with just over two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, with the game-tying touchdown coming a few plays after Golson fumbled deep in Irish territory.

The luster of Notre Dame's season-opening blowout win over Navy had worn off, and the Irish suddenly had their backs against the wall against a team they should've easily dispatched -- just like South Florida in 2011.

And then, the first twist of 2012 hit.

With the game tied at 17, it wasn't Golson who trotted on to the field to try to lead the Irish to a win. It was Tommy Rees, 2011's starting quarterback who was suspended for Notre Dame's first game of the 2012 season.

Rees marched Notre Dame down the field, and Kyle Brindza hit a field goal as time expired to give the Irish a win. After the game, Notre Dame didn't make Rees or Golson available to the media, certainly not quieting the whispers of a quarterback controversy. Rees had the confidence of his teammates, a confidence that took years to build. Golson didn't gain that complete confidence for another month and a half.

"There is no quarterback controversy," coach Brian Kelly insisted after the game. "Everett Golson is our starter. He will start against Michigan State. We know we have assets at that position with Andrew Hendrix and Tommy Rees."

Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin didn't have any intention of deposing Golson from his starting role, especially after just two games. But they showed a willingness to cut him off if they didn't feel he was able to perform throughout the season.

Sept. 8 was the first of those instances, and it set a precedent that was followed for the next few months.

Stay with CSNChicago.com every weekday through the end of January for game-by-game reviews of Notre Dame's run to the BCS Championship. Previous reviews: Notre Dame 50, Navy 10

Notre Dame among the four teams chosen for College Football Playoff

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USA Today

Notre Dame among the four teams chosen for College Football Playoff

Notre Dame's going to get their chance, after all. 

The final College Football Playoff rankings were released this morning, and there weren't too many surprises. 

Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma are your Top-4, in that order. Georgia just missed out at #5, and Ohio State came in behind them at #6. 

For the semifinals, Alabama and Okalahoma will square off in the Orange Bowl, while Clemson and ND will square off in the Cotton Bowl. 

And now, we wait a month. 

Northwestern comes up short in bid for Big Ten title, falls to Ohio State 45-24

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USA TODAY

Northwestern comes up short in bid for Big Ten title, falls to Ohio State 45-24

Northwestern undoubtedly has a good football team this season. Unfortunately for them, they ran into an even better team on Saturday.

The Wildcats hung close against No. 6 Ohio State in Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game before ultimately failling to the Buckeyes 45-24. However, Chicago's Big Ten Team deserves credit for not going down quietly.

Trailing Ohio State 24-7 at halftime, Northwestern came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter. Quarterback Clayton Thorson led the Wildcats to two quick touchdown drives in less than seven minutes, cutting Ohio State's lead to 24-21. 

Northwestern never took the lead away from Ohio State, though. After the Buckeyes' lead was cut to three points, Dwayne Haskins went on to throw three more touchdown passes, single-handedly burying Northwestern.

Haskins, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, finished the night 34-of-41 with 499 passing yards, five touchdowns and one interception. Haskins earned the game's MVP award for his efforts. Thorson finished the night 26-of-43 with 265 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. 

Ohio State likely is headed to the Rose Bowl; as good as their performance was, it is unlikely they will leap No. 5 Oklahoma (winners of Saturday's Big 12 Championship Game).

No. 1 Alabama beat No. 4 Georgia in Saturday's SEC Championship Game, so Ohio State likely will rise to No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Northwestern finishes the 2018 season 8-5 (8-1 in conference play). Despite the loss, they certainly will be awarded with a top bowl game as winners of the Big Ten West Division.