A 30-22 win over No. 14 Georgia Tech team was Notre Dame’s first resume-building win of the season, with Brian VanGorder’s defense shutting down the triple option and DeShone Kizer acquitting himself well in his first career start.
Here’s how Notre Dame’s other 11 opponents fared in Week 3:
Texas (1-2): Lost, 45-44, to Cal
This was a particularly brutal loss. Jerrod Heard threw for 364 yards and rushed for 163 to engineer a furious fourth-quarter comeback. Heard’s 45-yard touchdown run with 1:11 left brought Texas within a PAT of tying the game…and kicker Nick Rose missed the PAT. Texas now enters a brutal stretch of Big 12 play against Oklahoma State, TCU, Oklahoma and Kansas State that could make their margin for being bowl eligible razor-thin by late October.
Virginia (1-2): Won, 35-29, vs. William and Mary
A week after Will Fuller set Charlottesville ablaze, the ‘Hoos escaped with a six-point win over FCS side William and Mary. Virginia led by one at halftime and hung on as the Tribe charged in the fourth quarter, getting to cusp of the red zone late in the fourth quarter before failing to convert a fourth-and-seven to end their upset bid. Despite giving Notre Dame a tough game last Saturday, Virginia isn’t a good team and will have a difficult time sniffing bowl eligibility this fall.
Massachusetts (0-2): Lost, 25-23, to Temple
Since becoming an FBS program in 2015, UMass has a -25.7 point differential and a 5-33 record. Perhaps that’s what makes this loss to Temple so deflating. Or maybe it’s that Temple kicker Austin Jones missed a game-winning attempt, only to get another try because Minutemen coach Mark Whipple called timeout (a decision that shouldn’t be criticized, of course). On that second attempt, Jones connected from 25 yards and dealt UMass, which will leave the MAC after this season, yet another loss.
Clemson (3-0): Won, 20-17, at Louisville
DeShaun Watson (21/30, 199 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT) was unimpressive as Clemson escaped with a narrow win after Louisville kicker John Wallace missed a game-tying field goal late in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals had another chance with time running out and moved inside the Clemson 40 but didn’t get any closer to tying or winning the game. While Louisville struggled this year, a Thursday night conference road game is never an easy environment, so Clemson did well to head home with a win. The Tigers now get 16 days to prepare for Notre Dame with a bye next Saturday.
Navy (2-0): Won, 45-21, vs. East Carolina
The Mids throttled East Carolina in the first conference game in program history behind Keenan Reynolds’ five rushing touchdowns. Next up for Navy: A reunion with former Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco in a road game at UConn. If Navy can beat UConn and Air Force over the next two weeks, there’s an outside chance they could be ranked when they come to Notre Dame.
USC (2-1): Lost, 41-31, vs. Stanford
USC led, 21-10, midway through the second quarter after JuJu Smith-Schuster reeled in a 54-yard touchdown from Cody Kessler. But the Trojans’ defense crumbled, allowing Stanford to average 6.5 yards per play and ultimately pull away in the fourth quarter. Forget all the jokes about #SarkAfterDark, after a 9-4 season and this loss to Stanford, it may be fair to raise the question: Is Steve Sarkisian the right coach for USC?
Temple (3-0): Won, 25-23, at UMass
On paper, Matt Rhule’s Owls should’ve rolled in this game. But Temple averaged 1.8 yards per carry and needed a bit of luck to win on that aforementioned game-winning field goal. Temple, though, has a relatively easy stretch of games between now and Notre Dame — after a bye, the Owls face Charlotte, Tulane, UFC and East Carolina. Expect them to be 7-0 when Notre Dame travels to Philadelphia, even despite this narrow win over a bad UMass team.
Pitt (2-1): Lost, 27-24, at Iowa
Marshall Koehn’s walk-off 57-yard field goal dealt Pat Narduzzi his first loss at Pitt’s head coach. A larger long-term concern was Pitt’s James Conner-less running back gained only 55 yards on 27 carries, while quarterback Nathan Peterman was picked off twice. Iowa was Pitt’s first challenge of the year, and while it was a close loss, offensively the Panthers have a lot of work to do.
Wake Forest (2-1): Won, 17-14, at Army
Deacons quarterback John Wolford injured his ankle and replacement Kendall Hinton was ineffective, completing 15/27 passes for 159 yards with two interceptions. It took Mike Weaver’s game-winning 47-yard field goal as time expired for Wake Forest to beat an Army side that’s one of FBS’ worst programs.
Boston College (2-1): Lost, 14-0, to Florida State
Eagles quarterback Darius Wade suffered a season-ending broken ankle (the same injury that sidelined Malik Zaire) in a turgid, dull loss to Everett Golson and the ‘Noles. Steve Addazio might want to find a dude to burn this film.
Stanford (2-1): Won, 41-31, at USC
This was another reminder to never count out David Shaw’s Cardinal. Kevin Hogan completed 18 of 23 passes for 279 yards with two touchdowns, and Christian McCaffery and Remound Wright combined for 156 yards and three touchdowns on 37 carries. Concerning for Stanford, though: Hogan left the Coliseum with a boot on his left foot and on crutches.