Notre Dame Beats BYU 23-13 on Senior Day

Davaris Daniels scores a 61 yard TD vs. BYU
Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver DaVaris Daniels (10) runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the BYU Cougars at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame senior class of 2013 became the first senior class to win four straight senior days on Saturday with a 23-13 win over BYU to improve to 8-3 on the season.

Notre Dame never trailed against BYU on Saturday, but the game remained close throughout most of the second half until the Irish were able to pull away in fourth quarter.  Kyle Brindza kicked a 51 yard field goal in the windy, snowy conditions for Notre Dame to put the Irish up 23-13 with 6:53 remaining.

BYU was not able to get on the scoreboard again despite having the ball in Notre Dame territory twice in the final six minutes.  Following Bridza’s kick to put the Irish up 10, the Cougars drove down inside the Notre Dame 10 yard line but a near interception on second and goal by Jaylon Smith and stuffed Taysom Hill run on 3rd down kept the Cougars out of the endzone.  That’s when Jarron Jones came up with the play of game.

Jones, filling in for the injured Louis Nix and playing out of position, blocked a chip shot field goal attempt by BYU to maintain Notre Dame’s 10 point lead and essentially ended the game.  BYU got the ball back, but were unable to make much happen after Stephon Tuitt picked up his 6th sack of the season in what could have been his final home game of his career as well if he decides to go pro after the season.

Notre Dame built a 17-7 lead in the first half behind a strong running game and a 61 yard touchdown pass from Tommy Rees to DaVaris Daniels in the first quarter.  Tarean Folston scored his second touchdown of the season in the first half as well.  Rees, playing in his final game in Notre Dame Stadium, ended the game with 235 yards and a touchdown but did throw a costly interception in the fourth quarter that nearly cost the Irish dearly.

Fortunately for Rees and Notre Dame, the Irish defense was able to come up with a critical stop following Rees’s interception.  The defense, which has been ravaged by injuries, looked shaky at times while allowing over 400 yards but kept BYU out of the endzone in the second half allowing just a pair of field goals thanks to big games from Jones, Tuitt, and linebackers Carlo Calabrese and Dan Fox.

The Notre Dame offense didn’t light up the scoreboard in the second half, but was able to run the ball well enough to keep BYU off the field enough to keep the depleted defense fresh throughout the game.  The Irish ran for 235 yards led by Cam McDaniel’s 117 yard outburst – the first 100 yard effort of the junior running backs career.  Folston added 78 yards on 11 carries and George Atkinson chipped in with 42 on 6 carries.

Notre Dame senior TJ Jones had his touchdown streak ended, but the senior wide receiver hauled in 5 passes for 95 yards.  He had a few chances to reach the endzone but the swirling winds and pressure from BYU forced a few underthrown passes from Rees in the second half when Jones had beaten the defense.  Fellow wide receiver DaVaris Daniels meanwhile scored for the second consecutive game and recoreded his second 100 yard performance of the season and first since the Purdue game.

Brindza’s 51 yard field was his third 50+ yard field of the season and fourth of his career.

Jaylon Smith honored Danny Spond by wearing #13 and Luke Massa paid tribute to his high school teammate Matt James by wearinf #78.  James unfortunately was never able to enroll at Notre Dame after falling to his death during his senior year of high school.

The Notre Dame senior class ended their home careers with their 4th win on senior day and their 36th win overall to make them the winningest senior class for Notre Dame since the 1995 class.  Brian Kelly also became only the second Notre Dame coach to win at least 8 games in each of his first four seasons joining Dan Devine as the only other.

Notre Dame travels to Palo Alto next weekend to take on their toughest opponent of the season – Stanford.

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  1. I think the weather forced BK into a good game plan. See when we run the
    ball? Even helped TR. His first TD pass was after 3 runs.Beat Stanford!

  2. My mea culpa:

    I am happy to report that the outcome I predicted for this game was wrong, as I was wrong. Our D had a very solid day, especially Jaron Jones! I also hope I will be completely wrong about my prediction for the ND/Stanford game next week!

    THANK YOU Seniors for each day of hard work, dedication, sweat, blood and tears. If you haven’t done it yourself, you just don’t know how tough it is to play a D1 sport and manage an academic career at a school that demands high standards.


  3. I thought it would have been a nice touch by Kelly if he had inserted Danny Spond at the very end of the game, and let him take one of those kneel down snaps just to let him get back onto the field one last time in front of the home crowd. But I guess he was afraid he would fumble or something, or it never entered his mind to let him do that. I just think it would have been a great thing to do if he really meant as much as Kelly claims he did.

  4. Just about thawed out from yesterday but was exciting none the less. Happy for the seniors and hopeful we can carry it over to next week. Next year going to a game in September, that was ridiculous.

    Thought Jaylon wearing #13 was really cool.

    Stay classy.

  5. Def some consistency brought to this program considering the strength of schedule ND plays year in and year out next week is a great test to see where this team is despite all the injuries great too see this class go out with a solid win well deserved this group has been through a lot

  6. I like how Mendenhall stated “I actually was signalling touchdown when I saw the slant and No.13 for Notre Dame knocked it down,” said Mendenhall. “I thought Cody (Hoffman) had the guy beat inside. That was a huge play. I thought we had a touchdown there.”

    I think in the future Jaylon, even when wearing someone else’s number, will be known by his name.

  7. great post, Archangel, which you often do. I’ll resist commenting further as you’ve covered some of the same ground in my post which I just sent over.

    Special kudos to this group. When Pitino took the reigns at Kentucky he had a group ofrunts in his first class, but when he got going and then won a national championship he paid special thanks to that first class. They were, as this year’s seniors are, the guys who rowed down in the hold to turn the big ship around.

    And there’s more coming about 13 and 78. you’ll see.

    About the three stellar victories. it is little noted but what is
    VITAL is that we now discount victories and are horrified at defeats.
    We want every victory to be by more and DESPISE every deafeat. We’ haven’t seen that kind og f attitude around here in 20 years!

  8. I WAS WRONG! I’m so glad I was. I saw little chance a depleted injury riddled
    ND front seven D’ could stop such a productive surging BYU offense. Will I ever learn,
    oh ye of little faith!

    Thanks and best wishes to the departing warriors: Big Lou, TJ, Zach Martin, Watt, Carlo, Fox,
    Tommy, Kona, Bennett, and,of course, Tuitt, if indeed, this was his last home game
    (what a way to go out, leaving it all on the sacred sod which also might be no more).
    You’ll make a great pro, Stephon, but I’m selfishly hoping you stay for one more.
    And to the others who maximized their limited opportunities, like Daniel Smith, and of course, Tyler
    Stockton, returning a fifth year who epitomizes the ultimate unselfish locker room glue and team jester
    every winning team needs. As was Danny Spond who finished on the sideline and at practice what he couldn’t on the field, as another shining example of an outstanding teammate and contributor.

    This class will be remembered as the group who put ND back into the conversation
    as a team that belongs among the best. What I’ll most remember about this game is two players who
    wore proudly #78 and #13 to honor two who couldn’t finish on the field their Senior seasons with
    these outstanding student-athletes. Thanks for the memories, with impressive wins over Az.St.,
    MSU, and $C this season, and 12 others last year. The program came of age when you did.
    It wouldn’t have happened without you. You will be in our thoughts and prayers wherever
    you go as examples of maximizing the opportunity and defining what student-athlete could be.

  9. Question for those with more knowledge on the inside than myself.
    I have read that Notre Dame COULD be in the “PINSTRIPE” Bowl in New York, the SUnday after Christmas.
    Is this true?
    Where would we go with a 9-3 record ( or 8-4)
    That same post ( CBS sports said it “COULD ” be Rutgers?)
    Then, I have heard that it will be nothing at all.
    Waht’s the skinny on this?
    Go Irish!
    COME BACK 5th YEAR SENIORS –Bring it on!!!!

    1. I read they were one of two bowls in attendance yesterday. I also read we might meet No.IL. if they don’t get a BCS
      invite. I’d rather play Rutgers than vs. Jordan Lynch and NIU.

      Bottom line; it might be too early to know
      who we’ll play, but I’m betting we’ll be there.

  10. Scav above is correct: ” So close to being an elite team, yet still seems so far.” WHY IS THAT? Look at what Jack said above Scav: ” ND has the ability to play spread or line up in pro sets and play SMASH MOUTH FOOTBALL.” ” ND has the ability just the damn game right.”

    BOTH are right on Target.
    This is NOT rocket science.
    If the triple option used by Service Academies can confuse an opponet, why shouldn’t ND use the good old fashioned running game, three yards and a pile of dust and mud and do EXACTLY what Jack ( and others) have been saying? Defense prepare for the hot shot, here today gone tomorrow passing game, fix soft corners, penetrate the lines more and more and get the job done. The best offense is a defense and the offense should and will respond.
    As Green day stated above : ” A little more respect is due.”
    That WILL happen WHEN we beat Stanford. They are human after all.
    Stanford is a team that can be beat. They have a grudge about the goal line stand of last year—and we should and could add an exclamation point to that!
    We have NOTHING to lose –we don’t have BCS –so PLAY IT LIKE IT IS AND GET IT DONE!!!!!!! Rise to the Occasion.
    ( For those who remember, Stanford “band” had a “show” which was borderline if not exceeding blasphemy and mocking Christendom -Orthodoxy, Catholics and Evangelicals. They never did apologize. They were quite arrogant about it like most things in Palo Alto. It has been a while–but I remember it like yesterday. The next time somebody tells me to “go to hell” I can say I’ve been there–watching Stanford Band mock a Culture and a Church. They have mocked others as well. This should not be tolerated at all. So—
    Who’s next? Gypsies and Jews? Little children? Stanford’s attitude ( to be sure not this team) is one of contempt.
    Use that as iron for the fire and dethrone the politically correct “tree.”

  11. Agreed not an elite team but it is bullshit they are not in the top 25 especially with wins over Spartans, Sun Devils and Trojans. And look at the other teams who will be in the top 25 with 8 – 3 records. C’mon a little respect is definitely due here. Yes on paper everyone is saying next week is a loss but I hope those kids know they are a decent team, they have heart and don’t quit. So treat next week as your BCS bowl game and wreck Stanford’s season. If ND’s lines can show up like yesterday, running and passing game click and maybe a little better performance in the secondary – who knows? Why not? Maybe an upset? Kelly needs to get the team in a down right dog eating mean attitude as Josey Wales would say. Good Luck Irish.

  12. Brian Kelly is the 1st coach in ND history to win at least 8 games in his first 4 years.

    ND is 20-4 in the last 2 years.

    So close to being an elite team, yet still seems so far.

    1. Scab
      I think this is a case where record is somewhat misleading about defining “eliteness”. ND still has a way to go. Getting in and winning BCS (or starting next year-playoff games)type bowls will define eliteness along with win/loss record.

  13. I love the fact that BK put Tommy under center a lot yesterday. ND has the ability to play spread or line up in pro sets and play smash mouth football. I think the weather and an injuries center had something to do with that, but he needs more of that in his offense. Look what happened to those high flying g offenses on Saturday, they got grounded by a great running game and good defensive line play. ND has that ability, just call the dam games right.


    Beating Sparty in a slugfest on Sept 21 and two weeks later over
    Arizona St. adn 2 weeks after that out besting USC is all good!

    Stubborn defense hanging on was key to victory every time–as it was over Navy and today over BYU. Not pretty wins—but a win is a win.
    Perhaps with some solid QB in the future and REAL offensive plays and the defense getting better and better along with special teams–we could be in the hunt again.
    While we are not BCS worthy (and have not really been that caliber all year)
    we should look to the future with some optimism and think where we were PRIOR to this Senior Class with Charlie and prior to that with Willingham and prior to that with
    Bob vanilla-stab you in the back-and talk about Lou-lack of character-pineless gopher boy for now deceased AD manipulative wadsworth–Davie.

    I’m not enthralled with the play calling and the inability to stop 4rth down attempts and the 3rd down conversions the opponet is making.
    But—we are better off than where we were in previous years with disaster
    looming–and loom it did!

    Now –phase two ( or three) of BK’s career at ND–
    DOMINATE as much as you can –and put the opponet away–something we still have not done a lot of. We HAVE the capability–but the attention to detail is lacking with fundamentals. I think we will get there.
    Watch Alabama and see Saban rotate the horses in the barn. It is constant.
    The energy is not frenetic but in motion. When one link is weak, another unit steps up like a Roman Army of old. THAT is why Bama is winning—
    again and again. Their opponets are worn down by the late 3rd quarter even when the score does not indicate it 17-7 etc. But THAT is when they nail the enemy and put that same nail in the coffin. Killer instinct–but without the need to run up the score with 70 or 80 points vying for attention from the BCS as some schools attempt to do.

    I’m not a Crimson Tide fan–but I watch them and REALLY believe and KNOW two things:
    1. This game is NOT Rocket Science. It’s a mind game –like cat/mouse.
    2. As Bama does these things–I wait for the day when ND will be like that again. Suddenly ND will be “relevant” again. I BELIEVE it will happen.
    The time is now–and through this next class there SHOULD be a National Title–and deservedly so—as ND CAN do this!


  15. Injuries and unexcusable turnovers by Tommy. No way we should have lost to Pitt. I want to see how many turnovers Rees has in the Red Zone in his career. Tommy isn’t a bad QB, but when the pressure goes up, Kid blows it every single time. Very Powlus like. Were Everett was the opposite. When the pressure went up, he would make a play with his arm, but mostly with his feet. Really missed him this year. Probably gets it done against Michigan and Pitt. Rees seems very likable. But like Powlus, thanks for the time, Thank God your time is up.

  16. winningest senior class since ’95

    as much as BK has infuriated me over the past four years, there is something to be said about that.

    we are headed in the right direction….but i, like a lot of people, want to get there a little quicker sometimes

    1. It’s tough to reconcile, we beat Sparty who is closing in on the top ten, USC who beat Stanford, and ASU looks pretty tough. But we are not consistent and are frankly not quite elite. But as stated, we are heading in the right direction. Gotta feel good about Golson, Zaire, and Kizer.

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