Top 10 Clutch Touchdown Catches in Notre Dame Football History

The folks at WatchND have created another awesome video for Notre Dame football fans to watch during the near nationwide shutdown.  This time they’ve come up with a list of the top 10 clutch touchdown catches in Notre Dame football history, and they dug deep into the archives for some of them.

Give the video a watch, but here’s the rundown of how they ranked them. Also, if you missed their review of the top 10 catches by a tight end in program history, be sure to check that one out too.

10. Jarious Jackson to Jay Johnson for the game-winner against Navy in 1999
9. Rusty Lisch to Dean Masztak with 0:42 left, followed by a two-point conversion to Pete Holohan for the game-winner against South Carolina.
8. Pat Dillingham to Aranaz Battle for the 60-yard game-winner against Michigan State
7. Ted Burgmeier from Joe Montana for an 80-yarder with just over a minute left
6. Brady Quinn to Jeff Samardzija for the game-winner against UCLA in 2006 with 26 seconds left
5. Deshone Kizer to Will Fuller to rip the heart out of that poor UVA fan that ESPN caught on film.
4. Wayne Millner from Bill Shakespeare to beat Ohio State in 1935.
3. Ian Book to Miles Boykin with the ridiculous touchdown just over two years ago in the Citrus Bowl
2. Rick Mirer to Jerome Bettis for the touchdown and then the heave to Reggie Brooks for the game-winning two-pointer
1. Montana to Haines for the win in the Cotton Bowl in the Chicken Soup game.

Wow, what a job by the folks at WatchND on this one.  They mixed in some recent greats like Fuller’s UVA game heroics and Miles Boykin’s insane one-handed versus LSU in with some real classics.  They even dipped way back into the archives for a clip from 1935.

I still remember watching the Quinn to Samardzija game-winner against UCLA at the bar during my sister’s wedding.  Mom was NOT happy with me, but I came running back into the reception hall area with my arms extended, signaling the Irish touchdown.  In my defense, my sister did decide to get married during football season during a game I had tickets to initially none the less.

I was lucky enough to be in the stands of Scott Stadium to see Fuller haul in Kizer’s heave as time was ticking down.  Easily the most thrilling game ending I’ve ever seen on the road.

The Jay Johnson touchdown catch was an interesting inclusion that might raise some eyebrows, but remember that at the time, Notre Dame was still in the midst of their record winning streak over Navy at the time.  Without it, that streak ends right there in 1999.  Who knows, maybe Bob Davie never gets the 2000 season to rebound if he loses that game too.

We might even have an old article from that game on an old hard drive; we can dig up to see what we were saying that day.  I’ll do some digging.

Can’t wait to see what WatchND has in store for us all next week.

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  1. That is a great list. Several like Johnson, Fuller and Samardzijas catch all snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Arnaz Battle was shear will power as he dashed 50 plus yards on his own. Bettis and Brooks was pure Holtz. I remember exactly where I was for each of these. Great list

  2. Two things…one, it’s unbelievable that Everett Golson to Ben Koyack against Stanford is not on this list period. Two, not only is this not on the list generally, but in my opinion should be #1 hands down.

    2014 was exciting as Golson was coming off his suspension from the previous year. ND was 4-0 with really high expectations, lots of excitement with Golson back leading the team after taking us to the NC, and playing against a #14 Stanford at home. It was a cold rainy day and Golson the Irish struggled a lot of the game. On 4th and 11 at the Stanford 23 yard line down 14-10 with a minute left, ND was down to it’s last chance to stay undefeated. Golson avoids a rush to buy time and fires a frozen rope in the rain to Koyack on the sideline in the endzone for the win. This may be the greatest single throw I’ve ever seen in ND history considering the circumstances (undefeated, bigtime expectations, bigtime opponent, and rain on top of it) and the location of the throw which was just amazing considering everything.

    Seriously, how is this not on here Frank!?

  3. Being a Notre Dame fan since 1990, Arnaz Battle’s clutch TD catch/run against Michigan State in 2002 is the single greatest moment I’ve witnessed watching a Notre Dame game.

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