Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss Notre Dame’s double-overtime win over No. 1 Clemson in South Bend, and if the Irish finally proved they can hang with the nation’s best programs.
DAN WETZEL: Epic game, double overtime, 47, 40, everything you'd want out of a college football game, brilliant final drive by Ian Book to tie the game after it looked like Notre Dame was beat and 91 yards in the final minute. That had everything, if you've watched Notre Dame football the last 15, 20 whatever years-- they'd get to the 8 yard line and get stuffed. And instead they got it done. Brian Kelly does not panic and go for two. I don't know if that's panic, but he didn't do it, stayed the course. They make it all the way to double OT, get a couple of huge sacks, and win the game.
Pat Forde, you were there. I believe I saw you storming the field. I think you were in the middle. I thought I saw you. You are now in podcast quarantine. Shame on you. Your thoughts from South Bend.
PAT FORDE: What a night. It was so fun. I mean, this was like all the way up to and through-- the field storming, it was like normal college football. It was a great game. And it sounded loud in there. They said the attendance was 11,011. I think they lied, personally. I mean, I was here for the game when they played Duke in the opener. And I think they announced 10. This looked like a lot more to me this time. I can't say for sure. And it sounded like 50 at the end of the game. And then when they rushed the field, it looked like when it happens at Camp Randall or Auburn or any of those places when you have a big victory. And that just felt very normal.
Now will there be a price to pay? Who knows? We'll see.
PETE THAMEL: So what so much to unpack here. I'm to go back to the football aspect of it, 27 years since Notre Dame last beat a number one, all the trappings of lore. Pat obviously didn't experience this. But if you're watching at home, you have to switch channels because the presidential elect address is coming on. There was like these moments where games feel bigger. And that's just one of those things that like 20 years from now people are going to remember that as much as they remember the fumble return for a touchdown or something like that.
So just it had a little bit of everything, from that pinch of lore to-- it's interesting because we're going to be talking about Norte Dame Clemson, again, probably in six, seven weeks. And it could be a completely different Clemson team, not just Trevor Lawrence, but obviously the three key starters on defense, including Tyler Davis on the defensive line. I guess my biggest football takeaway of the night was just how Clemson's offensive frontcourt got manhandled. To me, that's the best sign. Like, is Notre Dame belong in the playoff? Can they go toe to toe with these elite teams we've been asking? To me that was the wow of the night. I believe it was like 33 carries for 34 yards. It might have been traversed.
Travis Etienne was pretty much a non factor, which is stunning because I think he's easily one of the best five players in college football, if not more.
PAT FORDE: He's never a non factor. That was amazing. They did a great job on him.
PETE THAMEL: If they play again and everybody's full boat, I can't sit here on a neutral field. I can't sit here and tell you I'm going to pick the Irish. But what a fun, compelling night of football. College football, there's like eight or 10 programs you can say this about, but college football is better when Notre Dame is really humming and really going. So obviously, hats off to Brian Kelly. All he's really done is win there, and anyone who lived the Charlie Weiss era would know that. But what a fun game, what a fun night, what a fun four hour bubble from pandemics and elections and all the stuff going on in life. It was truly like the game of the year in college football.