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Pitt game nearly doomed Notre Dame's title shot

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Pitt game nearly doomed Notre Dame's title shot

MIAMI (AP) Luck of the Irish.

For starters, it's a misleading phrase, in that most historians would tell you Irish luck is not necessarily a good thing. No matter - No. 1 Notre Dame enjoyed its share of fortunate breaks on its way to the BCS title game, with perhaps the bulk of those coming during a wild, wacky, marathon game at home against Pittsburgh on Nov. 3.

Irish 29, Pitt 26, triple overtime.

If any of at least a half-dozen plays in that one went another way, Notre Dame would be watching No. 2 Alabama play someone else for the title on Monday night. But the Irish found a way in that game, finished the regular season unbeaten and are now one win from capturing the national championship.

``I've always been one of those that doesn't really believe in luck,'' Alabama coach Nick Saban said. ``You kind of create your own luck by how you execute and how you perform. I think sometimes people think you're lucky when you're able to make significant plays at critical times in the games.''

Maybe, maybe not. Because on that day at Notre Dame Stadium, the Fighting Irish had luck in bunches.

There were plenty of things that went wrong for the Irish in that game, just a few of them including:

- A first-quarter play when a surefire touchdown was missed because an open receiver was never seen;

- A 43-yard field goal try at the end of the half going awry;

- Theo Riddick being ruled down just shy of the end zone, a possession where the Irish settled for a field goal;

- Everett Golson getting picked off in the end zone with 4 minutes left and Notre Dame still trailing;

- Cierre Wood fumbling the ball away an inch or two from the end zone on the opening possession of the second overtime.

And then came the moment, perhaps the quintessential moment of Notre Dame's season to date.

Pitt kicker Kevin Harper lined up for what would have been a game-winning 33-yard field goal in that second OT, with the stadium still somewhat stunned over the play where Wood simply lost the ball.

A veritable chip-shot.

Make the kick, Pitt wins.

Along the Notre Dame sideline, barely any of the offensive players could look at the scene.

Snap was high, but got down. Harper struck the ball, which went end-over-end toward his target.

``It was so close,'' offensive lineman Zack Martin said. ``We heard their crowd up in the corner cheer, so we thought it was done.''

The Pitt crowd's cheer was quickly drowned out, of course. The kick went past the right upright, a foot or two away from being enough to give Pitt the win. Harper missed, and that was just one of two breaks Notre Dame caught on that play. The other was that Bennett Jackson and Chris Brown - players who both wear No. 2 for Notre Dame - were on the field at the same time, meaning the Irish should have been penalized.

The infraction wasn't noticed by the officials.

``A coaching mistake,'' Irish coach Brian Kelly said.

Neither seemed to have an effect on the play ... but still, there's that luck factor again.

``A lot of people say we were lucky,'' Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert said. ``But we missed a field goal, too, or we would never have been in overtime, and we also fumbled on the 1-yard line and threw an interception inside the 10. I think that was unlucky, if anything. And we showed a lot of heart in that game.''

Perhaps no one showed more than Golson, who made a series of big plays in the fourth quarter, one that began with Notre Dame trailing 20-6.

On a drive that was extended by a questionable pass-interference call on fourth down - more luck? - Golson found T.J. Jones for a touchdown that got the Irish within 20-12, after the point-after try was missed. And after the interception, Golson stayed composed, first connecting with Riddick for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 2:11 left, then coolly waiting for his chance to run the ball in for the 2-point conversion that tied the game.

``If I would have got down on myself or not believed, we wouldn't be sitting here today,'' Golson said. ``So I think me, not riding that wave, and me just always believing that we were going to win and having that confidence has helped us get to this point right now.''

There wasn't much need for more drama down the stretch of the season.

Notre Dame beat Boston College 21-6, easily topped Wake Forest 38-0 and punched its ticket to Miami by going on the road and beating USC 22-13 to finish the regular season with a perfect 12-0 record.

But now, more than two months later, the Pitt game still gets talked about - a lot.

``Pitt came in and gave us their best and luckily they missed the field goal and we went on and won,'' Zack Martin said. ``Every team that goes undefeated during the season has situations or games like that, and that was ours.''

Luck of the Irish?

``People always wish you good luck,'' Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin said. ``I always tell them, `Hey, we'll take all the luck we can get.'''

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How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

The Washington Wizards return to Capital One Arena to host the Detroit Pistons on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 2 p.m. 

The Wizards are hoping to not only bounce back after suffering from a tough 140-111 loss in Toronto Friday night but also to snap their losing streak at home. Monday’s game will be the Wizards last home, before hitting the road until they return home on January 30th. 

The Wizards currently lead the series 2-1, the Wizards won both matchups against the Pistons on Nov.4 and Dec. 16. However, most recently the Wizards fell short 132-102 on Dec 26th. Will the Wizards be able to win the season series on Monday?

Take your Wizards experience to the next level and get involved in the action with NBC Sports Washington's newest Predict the Game contest.

'PREDICT THE GAME' HOW TO WATCH

What is this broadcast? Predict the Game is an easy-to-enter, free contest that allows fans to predict various game and player performance outcomes through a series of approximately 12-15 questions per quarter that will appear on-screen during the alternate telecast on NBC Sports Washington Plus. Predict the Game leaderboards will be displayed at select times, and the winner of each contest will be revealed throughout the game and during NBC Sports Washington’s postgame coverage.

Where can I find it? Contest questions and leaderboards will be displayed on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).

Additionally, the broadcast can be streamed on desktopiOS and Android devices. 

The NBC Sports Washington Plus presentation will, for the first time, feature special hosts, who will appear at various times to address Predict the Game participants and provide contest updates, information and results. The enhanced experience will contain the majority of the same video and audio (including announcers) as the primary live-game coverage, which will be available simultaneously on NBC Sports Washington.

How do I win? Fans will earn points for both answering questions (1 point) and correct predictions (1 or 2 points, depending on the question), with the top eligible scorer at the end of each game earning or splitting the $500 prize.

Each quarter will be its own contest, with an entirely new leaderboard starting from scratch, so even if fans miss out on the start of the game there will still be plenty of time to play and win. 

Fans must enter Predict the Game, which is open to join throughout the entire game, and submit their predictions at www.nbcsportswashington.com/predict.

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 2:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Pistons will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Pistons on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS TV SCHEDULE

1:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

1:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

2:00 PM: Wizards vs. Pistons (LIVE)

4:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

5:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

5:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS 2019-20 'PREDICT THE GAME' SCHEDULE

January 6: vs Boston (7 p.m.)

January 20: vs Detroit (2 p.m.)

January 26: at Atlanta (6 p.m.)

February 3: vs Golden State (7 p.m.)

February 11: vs Chicago (7 p.m.)

February 21: vs Cleveland (7 p.m.)

February 26: vs Brooklyn (7 p.m.)

March 3: at Sacramento (10 p.m.)

March 10: vs New York (7 p.m.)

March 18: at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m.)

March 15: vs Phoenix (7 p.m.)

April 1: vs New Orleans (7 p.m.)

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Former Raven Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl-bound

Former Raven Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl-bound

Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Tennessee Titans 35-24 Sunday to advance to Super Bowl LIV in Miami. 

Suggs, who spent 16 seasons with the Ravens, will look to cement his Hall of Fame candidacy with a victory in his second Super Bowl appearance (Won SB XLVII) this time as a member of the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Suggs departed from Baltimore before the 2019 season, signing a one-year deal with his hometown Arizona Cardinals before being waived mid-season. 

The Ravens were rumored to be interested in a reunion with their all-time leader in sacks but did not put in a claim, being last in waiver priority, and Suggs was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs.



While the Ravens' 2019 season ended prematurely at the hands of the Titans, fans in Baltimore can take solace knowing that Suggs and the Chiefs helped bring the Titans' magical season to an end.

Suggs' accolades (2011 AP Def. Player of the Year, 2003 AP Def. Rookie of the Year, 7x Pro-Bowl, 1x All-Pro) will stand the test of time, but adding a second Super Bowl ring to his resume would make his Hall of Fame candidacy that much greater. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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