NOTRE DAME, Ind. – All through Ohio State’s 17-14 win over Notre Dame on Saturday night, the video board kept playing a sideline reporter imploring the fans to get louder.
But once the clock hit zero after an Ohio State comeback that had to be seen to be believed there was nothing but silence emanating from the sections of Notre Dame Stadium occupied by Fighting Irish fans.
A game that Notre Dame seemed to have taken control of with a 75-yard scoring drive and a 96-yard scoring drive on back-to-back possessions in the second half suddenly belonged to Ohio State after Chip Trayanum scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with one second left in the game.
No. 6 OSU (4-0) went 65 yards in 13 plays for the game-winning score against No. 9 Notre Dame (4-1) in the final 1:26 of the game. Eleven of the 13 plays were passes, including completions of 23 yards and 21 yards from Kyle McCord to Emeka Egbuka and 19 yards to Marvin Harrison Jr.
But when it was time to call a game-winning play, OSU coach Ryan Day chose to go with a running play.
McCord’s 21-yard connection with Egbuka put the ball at Notre Dame’s 1-yard line with fewer than 10 seconds left on the clock.
McCord spiked the ball to stop the clock, then threw an incompletion, which left three seconds for one final play.
Trayanum dived into the end zone, which was called a touchdown on the field but wasn’t confirmed by replay review until several minutes later.
Video of the last play showed that the comeback had another unbelievable element. Notre Dame had only 10 players on the field on the last play and the missing player was on the side of the defensive line where Trayanum ran.
Trayanum said, “I knew I was in. It was close. As a running back you live for moments like that. I just knew the job had to be done. Simple as that. At the end of the day it was get the yard or you don’t.”
McCord said, “Our offensive line did a great job of getting a push and there was no way Chip was going to be denied.”
There also was no way OSU coach Ryan Day was going to be denied having his moment of rebuttal after the game to some recent comments by former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz which questioned Ohio State’s toughness.
“A lot of people have taken some shots at this team over the last 48 hours and it really hit home to me,” Day said. “I’m really upset and disrespected about what Lou Holtz said publicly about our team. We’re not going to stand for that. We had one bad half a couple of years ago up in Ann Arbor. Every game we play we’re physical.
“I don’t know where that narrative comes from but it ends tonight. This team showed toughness, they showed grit and they found a way to win.,” he said.
Ohio State had taken a 10-0 lead on a 61-yard touchdown run by TreVeyon Henderson early in the second half before Notre Dame’s back-to-back touchdown drives.
Day admitted those two Notre Dame drives changed the game, at least temporarily. “The momentum was going with Notre Dame at least at one point,” he said.
McCord completed 21 of 37 passes for 240 and no touchdowns. Henderson rushed for 104 yards on 14 carries. Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman was 17 of 25 for 175 yards and one touchdown and Audric Estime led the Fighting Irish’s running game with 70 yards on 14 carries.
McCord said. “You’re down four points with a chance to go win it there at the end in a historic stadium in a great environment against a great defense you can’t draw it up better than that.”
The first half was not an award winner unless there is an award for most frequent use of video replay in a half of a college football game.
Four calls on the field were overturned by replay review in the first two quarters. The most costly was probably when the call on the field gave Hartman a gain of one yard and a first down at Ohio State’s 17-yard line on a fourth down scramble on Notre Dame’s first possession of the game, but replay showed he was stopped for no gain.
Notre Dame’s other best chance to score in the first half also produced no points when Spencer Shrader missed a 47-yard field goal in the first minute of the second quarter.
After the missed field goal, Ohio State had two chances to score but came up short on third-and-goal and fourth-and-goal from Notre Dame’s 1-yard line.
Ohio State finally put the game’s first points on the scoreboard when Jayden Fielding kicked a 31-yard field goal in the final minute of the first half.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.