Top 10 Defensive Game Endings for Notre Dame Football

Another week, another top 10 list of plays from the Notre Dame Digital Media team.  Two weeks it was the best catches by a tight end in program history.  Last week it was the most clutch touchdown grabs.  This week it’s the top 10 times the Notre Dame defense sealed the deal for the Irish.

Here’s a quick rundown of the full top 10.

10. Tony Driver picks off Drew Brees to beat Purdue in 1998
9. Allen Rossum seals the deal on the road against Washington with a pick-6
8. Ivory Covington saves Notre Dame against Amry in the Meadowlands
7. Jimmy Friday and Deke Cooper team up with back to back stops at the goal line to beat Boston College in 1998
6. Bob Crable over the top to block an FG to beat Michigan prompting an NCAA rule change
5. Notre Dame beats Navy in 1937 with a safety
4. Terrail Lambert completes Notre Dame’s crazy comeback in East Lansing in 2006, prompting one of the great sports radio meltdowns of all-time.
3. Notre Dame stuffs Stanford at the goal line in 2012, keeping their winning streak alive that resulted in a 12-0 regular season.
2. Shawn Wooden knocks down Charlie Ward’s heave to the endzone to beat #1 Florida State in the Game of the Century.
1. Pat Terrel knocks down Steve Walsh’s 2-point play in the endzone to upset #1 Miami

Wow.  Notre Dame Digital Media has been on fire with these lists, and they did not disappoint one bit again this week.  I’m sure some don’t remember ’88 or ’93 very well that will try and argue that the goalline stand against Stanford should be at the top of the list, whoever made this list nailed.  Both the plays are rightfully #1 and #2 on this list.

There shouldn’t be any question whatsoever that Pat Terrel’s deflection to beat Miami is #1. None.  Miami had beaten up and embarrassed Notre Dame for years before the Irish finally fought back.  That play propelled the Irish to their last national title.  Hands down should be at the top of the list.

An argument could possibly be made to place the goalline stand against Stanford over Florida State since neither the 2012 nor 1993 squads won it all, but I would still have the ’93 play right where it’s at.  Florida State, like Miami five years previous, was allegedly a juggernaut that would steamroll the Irish.  Instead, Notre Dame upset the #1 team in the country in the House that Rockne built.

That isn’t to take anything away from what was the greatest goalline stand in program history against Stanford either.  Rather, I’m just happy to see that there wasn’t too much recency bias in the list given how big those other two plays were as well.  That moment was when everyone knew that Notre Dame really had a chance to make a special run in 2012.

Aside from those three, I loved the inclusion of the Deke Cooper play in 1998.  That was the first year I was writing about Notre Dame football on the internet, and that game – and season – has a very special place in my heart.  Same with the Tony Driver pick of Drew Brees.  Fun fact, this site was hosted on AOL before we had, and Tony Driver was mentioned in Kyle’s screen name at the time.

Kind of wild that two plays from that mediocre 1998 season made the list though.  It goes to show how good that team could have been with a competent offense and if Jarious Jackson had never got hurt at the end of the LSU game.

Another great list from ND Digital Media.  Hopefully, these keep on coming.

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  1. Some may argue that even if SC scores a TD on that drive ND still has the lead. But recall that SC had the ball near midfield at games end. I’m glad the game was over by then because of the previous ND goal line stand that effectively ended that game!

  2. The historic goal-line stand against SC in 2012 didn’t make this list but a botched punt for a safety against Navy before WWII did?!
    I’d say that the SC stand was as impressive as either the stands against Pitt or Stanford that season. In fact, there really was no goal-line stand against Pitt. That really came down to a bad snap and missed FG.
    Sorry, but that’s a huge oversight by whoever put this list together.

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