December 27, 2012 // Notre Dame Football

12 Plays that Defined Notre Dame Football in 2012

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11. Tommy Rees’ 38 yard pass to Tyler Eifert against Michigan

Notre Dame (80) Tyler Eifert makes a catch during an NCAA football game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, IN. (Photo – Chris Williams / IconSMI)

In week 4 of the season, Everett Golson was pulled early for ineffectiveness with Brian Kelly opting to rely on junior Tommy Rees.  While Rees was steady against the Wolverines, the defense kept Notre Dame in this game by keeping Michigan off of the scoreboard for three quarters.  In the fourth quarter, however, the Wolverines added two field goals to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 13-6.  With Notre Dame facing a key third down and four from their own 31 yard line, Kelly showed just how much faith he had in Rees by letting him drop back and throw for the first down.

On that third down, Rees dropped a well thrown ball right into Tylerr Eifert’s midsection for a 38 yard gain which effectively ended the game with Michigan having just one timeout remaining at the time.  Before that pass, Rees had only attempted 10 passes all game accounting for a just 77 yards.  Without that conversion, Notre Dame would have had to punt and give Michigan the ball back with more than two minutes left on the clock after they had scored on their last two drives.

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Comments to this Article

  • George commented on December 28th, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I loved this game, don’t get me wrong. But when I hear “experts” say that we crushed OK that just tells me they have no earthly idea what they’re talking about. Of course that’s no surprise, but this was a CLOSE game. Yes the bomb to Brown was huge because of its timing in the game. ND came right back at OK after they scored and sent a huge message. Definitely a season changer

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    George replied on December 28th, 2012 at 12:06 am

    In regards to the Oklahoma game

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  • trey commented on December 28th, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I think this author has too much of a love affair with Tommy Rees. Come on, a 3rd and 6 play is one of the most important plays of the season?

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  • Charlie commented on December 28th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I would add to the list – field goal to tie game against Stanford to send to OT.

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  • ND Southy commented on December 28th, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Say what you want about TR, but it is clear that without him we are not 12-0.
    Kudos to TR and BK for handling this QB situation better than anybody could have imagined.

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    jeff replied on December 29th, 2012 at 3:09 am

    so true

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  • Bill and Ted commented on December 28th, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Great article. My second favorite play of the season was the Manti Teo sack of Landry Jones.

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  • duranko commented on December 28th, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    trey, I’m with Frank on the Tommy Rees play. In the moment, it
    was needed and pivotal. there are trigger points for a great season
    and sometime it’s just that one first down……

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  • dinglewood commented on December 28th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Think the two most important plays, both on the list, were the Stanford goal line stand and, most importantly, the Pitt missed FG. Also don’t have any problem with the others chosen.

    That being said … two plays that I would not have ignored … the long run by Theo Riddick vs BYU and the pass not completed to a wide open BYU receiver thanks to steady pressure during the game that caused their QB to not set his feet when there was time to do that.

    The TR run was the second best I’ve seen at ND in my 40+ years of watching ND home games. Could not believe he got past the line of scrimmage when I saw it live and was even more amazed when I saw the replay.

    Aside … the best run the should not have happened belongs to Alan Pinkett vs Arizona as a FR running on pure instinct. What should have been a run off tackle became one more or less straight ahead. The end result was something like a 70 yard TD as he somehow got through a tangle of bodies (a rugby scum) as folk on both sides of the ball were moving toward where the play was designed with the defenders then trying to change direction.

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  • Jack commented on December 28th, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    The one common theme through all of these plays is not one man makes a team. It goes from Manti, to Everet, to Tommy, and etc. This is a team and if they play to their ability will be in this game. I have kept off the boards and tried not to watch to much ESPN, but it hasn’t worked. This is a team and with either a win or a loss I am proud to be an Irish fan because this team is what the University is about.

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  • spiceyirish commented on December 29th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    It seem like in the 2nd half of the season that Theo Riddick and Everett Golson made most of the big plays for the team. For a team that struggled so badly in the red zone, Theo Riddick became Notre Dame’s #1 threat in the red zone. This leads up to my #1 play. It was against Oklahoma right after Chris Brown’s long reception. Notre Dame had a 2nd and 9 or 10, I was assuming that ND was going to settle for a field goal and Oklahoma would have a great chance of winning. Everett Golson hit Theo Riddick on that 2nd down play on a crossing route. Riddick ran the ball to the 3 yard line to put ND in complete control in the red zone. Three plays later, Golson ran it in from a yard and ND put Oklahoma’s backs against the wall.

    Since that crucial play, Notre Dame circled the offense around Riddick. Riddick became an added feature in the passing game for much of the last four games. He made some gigantic plays, especially against Pittsburgh.

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  • Joeyknuklehead commented on December 29th, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Honorable mention to any of the U Michigan Ints that set the tone for the game. Anybody know if Davaris Daniels will be ready for the Bowl game.

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    spiceyirish replied on December 30th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Daniels has been practicing the last two weeks since his collarbone injury. He will be fully healthy for the Orange Bowl.

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  • SteelFanRob commented on December 29th, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Along the lines of Joeyknuklehead’s line of reasoning, a very distant honorable mention also to Miami WR Phillip Dorsett for dropping several long balls (including 2 sure TDs on the Canes’ first drive) early on in the game in Chicago. Perhaps the Irish go on to kill Miami regardless. But who knows how a big play TD on Miami’s first play pumps them up and brings down ND. Thankfully, we’ll never have to find out!

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