SOUTH BEND, Ind. — When Clemson’s desperate attempt to convert a fourth-and-forever ended in a scrum, Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book tossed his helmet as he sprinted onto the field to celebrate with his teammates.
In seconds, thousands of fans joined in, rushing the field for a postgame party in a pandemic that most definitely did not meet the CDC’s social-distancing guidelines.
“When fans stormed the field, it was fun,” Book said.
Kyren Williams put the Irish ahead with a 3-yard touchdown run in the second overtime and No. 4 Notre Dame shut down top-ranked Clemson with a couple of sacks to seal a 47-40 win Saturday night.
The first victory over a No. 1 in 27 years for the Fighting Irish can be added to the list of famous streak-breakers in Notre Dame history: Catholics vs. Convicts in 1988 that snapped No. 1 Miami’s 36-game regular-season winning streak and the shutout of Oklahoma in 1957 that broke the Sooners’ record 47-game roll.
Clemson (7-1, 6-1) had won 36 straight regular-season games and had not lost to an Atlantic Coast Conference team since 2017. The Fighting Irish (7-0, 6-0), playing in the ACC only because of the pandemic, brought them all to a halt.
“No matter how old I am, I’ll remember this one forever,” Book said.
Who knows where this victory should rank in Notre Dame lore, but considering the setting and this weird pandemic-altered season, it is probably its most bizarre.
“I had told our team in our walk-through today, ‘Just want you to know when we win this game the fans are going to storm the field. With COVID being what it is, we need to get off the field,’” Irish coach Brian Kelly said. “I beat them off the field.”
Williams ran for 140 yards and three touchdowns and Ian Book, the fifth-year senior quarterback, led a 91-yard drive in the final two minutes of regulation to tie it at 33 on a four-yard touchdown pass to Avery Davis with 22 seconds left.
After Williams gave Notre Dame the lead on the first possession of the second OT, the Irish pushed Clemson back with back-to-back sacks on DJ Uaigalelei by Adetokumbo Ogundeji and Daelin Hayes on the first two plays to set up a third-and-24.
“I took a sack in the red zone,” Uiagalelei said. “… I can’t do that.”
The five-star freshman quarterback’s third-down pass was broken up and his final completion on fourth down was way short of the line to gain. A couple of laterals didn’t help and the Irish and their fans went wild.
The Fighting Irish have won 13 straight games and they snapped an 11-game losing streak against top-five teams while beating No. 1 for the first time since taking down Florida State in 1993 at Notre Dame Stadium.
“They dadgum earned it,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “We handle our business, maybe we’ll get a chance to play again.”
Uiagalelei, starting in place of Trevor Lawrence for a second straight week, passed for 439 yards, the most ever by a Notre Dame opponent. Lawrence was on the sideline for this one, a few days out of isolation after having COVID-19.
“I’d like to have Dabo’s problems with those two guys,” Kelly said. “DJ was just outstanding.”
Swinney said Lawrence will return to practice Monday.
The biggest game at Notre Dame Stadium since No. 1 Southern California beat the Irish with the Push Bush in 2005 had only 11,011 in attendance, mostly students, because of pandemic restrictions.
When it was over, they poured onto the field — coronavirus be damned.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen any college storm the field. That was a cool experience,” Williams said, and then quickly recalled his coach’s advice, “(Kelly) told us to get inside after the game as fast as we could.”
The Fighting Irish needed a two-week break earlier this season because of a COVID-19 outbreak, but it didn’t keep them from entering this showdown with Clemson unbeaten
They might just see each other again in the ACC championship game in December.
“Man, I think it’s very likely,” said Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who returned a fumble for a touchdown in the first half as the Irish built a 13-point lead.
Uiagalelei, who led the Tigers from 18 down last week against Boston College in his first start, sneaked into the end zone on the second play of overtime to put Clemson up 40-33. Notre Dame responded with a three-yard touchdown run by Williams and kick to tie it instead of going for two to end it.
Five seasons ago when these teams last played on a rainy night in Clemson, the Tigers stopped the Irish on a potential tying two-point conversion with seven seconds left in regulation.
Swinney famously said it was a BYOG game: “Bring your own guts.” The Tigers needed to pack some guts and then some for their first trip to South Bend since 1979.
Not only were the Tigers missing Lawrence, but three key defensive starters were out with injuries.
“We didn’t win the game, but you saw what this team is made of,” Swinney said. “This team is made of the right stuff.”
Clemson: Not having defensive tackle Tyler Davis and linebackers James Skalski and Mike Jones really showed against Notre Dame’s excellent offensive line. The Irish ran for 209 yards.
Notre Dame: Avery Davis came to South Bend as a quarterback and he has been moved to running back, receiver and defensive back. He has settled in as a slot receiver and had maybe his biggest game in college, catching the touchdown pass that sent the game to OT and a 53-yarder that set it up the score two plays earlier.
Clemson: The Tigers have a week off before visiting Florida State on Nov. 20.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish are at Boston College, which might bring back some bad memories for Notre Dame fans. After the Irish upset Florida State in 1993, a week later they lost to BC on a last-second field goal.
Sinclair to lead Canadian women’s team in her fourth Olympics
Christine Sinclair, the all-time international goal-scoring record holder, was named to her fourth Olympic squad on Wednesday and will headline a Canadian roster at the Tokyo Games that features a mix of veterans and youth.
Led by Sinclair, whose 186 goals for her country are the most by a female or male soccer player worldwide, Canada won medals at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and was the only nation to make the podium in both competitions.
“I am looking forward to doing whatever I can to help take this team back to the podium and make history again,” said Canadian captain Sinclair. “Our team is in a good spot, we are excited, we are hungry and we are ready to go.”
The 18-player roster features 12 members of the squad that competed at the 2016 Rio Games while a quintet including Vanessa Gilles, Jayde Riviere, Julia Grosso, Adriana Leon, and Evelyne Viens will be making their Olympic debuts.
Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan travelled to Rio in 2016 as an alternate.
Canada will kick off their Tokyo 2020 journey when they face Japan on July 21 and continue Group E play against Chile on July 24 and Britain on July 27.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)
Which of the Canadians Picked in the 2021 NFL Draft Will Thrive This Season?
It was a good NFL Draft for Canadian players in 2021.
Some four stars from north of the border were selected by NFL franchises in the free agency pick ‘em, and that is tied as the highest number of Canadians drafted in the 85-year history of the event.
Welcome to Miami, Jevon Holland— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 30, 2021
Of course, the hope is that these young talents are more than just filler and roster depth, but can any of the quartet make the breakthrough into the big time?
Here’s a look at which of the NFL’s newest Canadian additions can shine in 2021/22.
The defensive back was the number 36 pick in the Draft by the Miami Dolphins, who beat off a number of rivals in the hunt for the Coquitlam native.
A versatile defender, Holland is a former Jim Thorpe Award semi-finalist thanks to his exploits in the NCAA back in 2019 with the University of Oregon.
He sat out the 2020 campaign, but representatives from dozens of NFL teams were in town to watch Holland go through his paces at the Oregon Pro Day.
The 21-year-old is following in the footsteps of his father Robert, who turned out for the Detroit Lions, and he is expected to force his way into the starting line-up at the Dolphins. And, who knows, maybe Holland could go all the way in his first season, with Miami priced at +2500 in the Super Bowl 2022 American football odds.
When you’re six foot three, 205 pounds and still able to run 40 yards in 4.51 seconds, it goes without saying that you have the physical credentials to succeed in the NFL.
Benjamin St-Juste is the man that can, and he will bolster the roster at a Washington Football Team that will be looking to improve upon their playoff showing in 2020.
The 23-year-old may only have been a third-round pick, but he comes with a burgeoning reputation thanks to a successful time at the University of Minnesota. An All-Big Ten special mention in 2019, more than 50 NFL recruitment personnel attended the college’s pro day – largely to catch a glimpse of St-Juste going through his paces.
Both Brian Gutekunst and Jon Robinson made the trip but, in the end, it was Washington who snapped up the powerhouse from the Draft.
The third Canadian to be drafted in 2021 was Chuba Hubbard, who became the first Canadian running back to be selected from the Draft in 25 years.
It’s the Carolina Panthers who have taken a chance on the 22-year-old and with his credentials, you can see why. Hubbard finished eighth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in 2019 after a stellar campaign – he served up 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, an NCAA best. He was named the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
While running backs are not the hottest of properties in the Draft, Hubbard provably has the talent to cross into the end zone with regularity – the Panthers might just have got their hands on an unheralded gem here.
With these three Canadians taking the step up to the NFL, the future of the sport north of the border looks in safe hands.
Berrettini ends Murray’s comeback at Queen’s
The 34-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion, playing in his first singles tournament on grass for three years, could not handle the ferocious pace of Berrettini as he slid to defeat.
Murray eased past Benoit Paire in his opening match on Tuesday but world number nine Berrettini was too big a step up.
Berrettini’s huge first serve and forehand did most of the damage but the Italian also showed plenty of silky touch on the slick lawns to register his first career win over Murray.
Berrettini, 25, finished the match off with a powerful hold of serve, banging down four massive first serves before sealing victory with a clubbing forehand winner.
He faces British number one Dan Evans in the quarter-final after Evans beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
Murray, a five-time winner of the traditional warm-up event but now ranked 124 after long battles with hip injuries including resurfacing surgery in 2019, has been handed a wildcard for the Wimbledon championships.
Apart from a slight groin niggle, Murray said he was reasonably happy with his condition, considering this was only his third Tour-level tournament of the year.
“I think obviously I need to improve,” Murray told reporters. “I actually felt my movement was actually quite good for both of the matches. My tennis today was not very good today. That’s the thing that I’ll need to improve the most.
“I felt like today that that sort of showed my lack of matches.”
Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, who won the singles title in 2019 and the doubles alongside Murray, was beaten 6-2 6-3 by Canada‘s Denis Shapovalov.
(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)
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