#9 Arizona State ‘Sticks a Fork’ in #10 Notre Dame

Arizona State Sun Devils withstand a second half comeback to beat #10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 55-31.
NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Arizona StateNov 8, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly (10) celebrates with offensive lineman Nick Kelly (50) after scoring a 2 yard touchdown during the second half Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Sun Devil Stadium. (Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

(C+P) — The game wasn’t pretty for the Arizona State Sun Devils the whole way through, but in the end ASU pulled of a big 55-31 victory over the visiting Notre Dame Irish.

This game seemed to be over at halftime. Multiple costly turnovers by Irish quarterback Everett Golson, a fumble deep in their own territory plus two interceptions with one returned for a touchdown, led to a 34-10 Sun Devils lead at the half.

The Irish drew first blood after having to settle for a field goal on their first possession thanks to two big sacks by the ASU defensive line. The Sun Devils answered back with a field goal, and that’s when ASU’s defense took over this game. True freshman Tashon Smallwood stripped Golson deep in Notre Dame territory, leading to a 13 yard Taylor Kelly touchdown pass. The very next possession for Notre Dame ended with a Marcus Hardison interception, setting the Devils up on the Notre Dame 23 yard line.

Later in the second quarter, the Devils proved that they could run the field to score, and a 43 yard touchdown pass from Kelly to Cameron Smith gave ASU a 31-3 lead. Notre Dame finally managed a touchdown at the end of the second quarter, and they went into the locker room down 24.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson (5) loses the ball as he is pressured by Arizona State Sun Devils defensive back Lloyd Carrington (8) in the first quarter at Sun Devil Stadium.  (Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson (5) loses the ball as he is pressured by Arizona State Sun Devils defensive back Lloyd Carrington (8) in the first quarter at Sun Devil Stadium. (Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)

About halfway through the third quarter, Notre Dame finally got it together. A Cam McDaniel’s touchdown on 4th and goal cut the ASU lead to only 14 points; and after a bad throw by Kelly got picked off by Matthias Farley, Notre Dame found themselves in position to score yet again.

Just like that Notre Dame was starting to come back, and the ASU lead was cut to 10. After a defensive stop, Golson had the ball in his hands again, and two passes later that ball was in the end zone. After being down 34-10 at halftime, Notre Dame bounced back and with just under seven minutes left in the game the score with 34-31 ASU.

Unfortunately for Irish fans, as soon as it looked like Notre Dame was actually going to come back and win, Arizona State spoiled the celebration. Well, technically Golson spoiled it, throwing his second pick-six of the game this time to Lloyd Carrington. ASU now led 48-31. On the next Notre Dame possession, Golson was sacked on 4th and 10, and the game was officially over. A Taylor Kelly scramble led to a 55-31 ASU lead, and that would end it.

In the end, #9 Arizona State proved to be just a little bit better than #10 Notre Dame. Whether the heat in Tempe got to Golson or not, his four turnovers ruined the Irish’s upset chances in the end.

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