12 Plays that Defined Notre Dame Football in 2012

9. Everett Golson’s long bomb to Chris Brown against Oklahoma

Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Chris Brown (2) attempts to catch a pass as Oklahoma Sooners cornerback Aaron Colvin (14) defends in the first quarter at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of Golson’s confidence growing from week to week, there might not have been any better evidence than that development than when the Irish traveled to Norman to take on Oklahoma.  After leading most of the game, Oklahoma tied the Irish in the fourth quarter at 13.  While spending most of the year relying on his defense and running game, Brian Kelly turned to his sophomore quarterback when the Sooners tied things up.

On Notre Dame’s next drive Golson came out firing hitting TJ Jones for an 8 yard gain on the first down and then on second down, Kelly and Chuck Martin rolled the dice and called a bomb to freshman speedster Chris Brown.  Golson and Brown nearly connected for several passes downfield to this point in the season – including earlier in the game (pictured above – sorry, it was the only picture we had access to for this one), but had yet to actually do so.  On second down at his own 35 yard line though, Golson dropped back and fired a nearly perfectly placed  50-yard bomb to Brown for the frosh’s first career catch.  Four plays later Golson gave Notre Dame the lead for good and the Irish never looked back.

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  1. SteelFanRob 5 years ago

    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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  2. Joeyknuklehead 5 years ago

    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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    1. spiceyirish 5 years ago

      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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  3. spiceyirish 5 years ago

    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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  4. Jack 5 years ago

    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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  5. dinglewood 5 years ago

    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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  6. duranko 5 years ago

    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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  7. Bill and Ted 5 years ago

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

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  8. ND Southy 5 years ago

    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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    1. jeff 5 years ago

      so true

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  9. Charlie 5 years ago

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

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  10. trey 5 years ago

    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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  11. George 5 years ago

    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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    1. George 5 years ago

      In regards to the Oklahoma game

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