Swoopes, Longhorns power past Irish in 2nd OT

Texas lost lead in 4th quarter on blocked extra point returned for two points.

Soobum Im—X02835
Sep 4

AUSTIN, Texas — With Texas in dire need of a signature victory to propel
the proud program back into the college football echelon, the Longhorns turned
to a tried-and-true strategy, man-on-man, stop-us-if-you-can, smash-mouth
football with the game in the balance. Backup quarterback Tyrone Swoopes rammed his way to a 6-yard touchdown run
in the second overtime to propel the upstart Longhorns past 10th-ranked Notre
Dame 50-47 Sunday night before a stadium-record crowd of 102,315 at Darrell K.
Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Swoopes, running Texas’ “18-wheeler package” that calls for the 6-foot-4,
249-pound senior bash his way for a yard most of the time, scored on a 3-yard
keeper on the first possession of overtime. “I just wanted the chance, and I knew a touchdown would win it, and
everybody worked together to make it happen,” Swoopes said. “We prepared well,
and I felt great moving forward and making plays. It was a big game in a big
situation, and our team is built to be resilient and never stop fighting.” Notre Dame answered Texas’ first-OT score with a 25-yard touchdown pass
from DeShone Kizer to C.J. Sanders to send the game to a second overtime. After Justin Yoon gave the Fighting Irish a 47-44 lead with a 39-yard field
goal on Notre Dame’s next possession, Texas (1-0) took over and marched to the
winning touchdown, with Swoopes doing the majority of the damage, including a
punishing 10-yard run two snaps before his winning one in which he ran through
three Fighting Irish defenders. Notre Dame roared from behind in the final quarter and a half behind
Kizer’s five touchdown passes. The Irish (0-1) sent the game into overtime when
Jarron Jones blocked an extra-point kick attempt by Texas’ Trent Domingue after
a 19-yard touchdown run by D’Onta Foreman, and it was returned 88 yards for a
two points by Shaun Crawford. Kizer completed 15 of 24 passes for 215 yards and rushed for 77 yards and a
touchdown. He was at his best when the Fighting Irish handed him the reins to
their offense after he split time with Malik Zaire (2-for-5, 23 yards) through
the first series of the third quarter. Longhorns receiver John Burt had six catches for 111 yards and a touchdown.
D’Onta Foreman ran for 131 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Irish running back Tarean Folston gained 88 yards on 18 carries, with 54 of
those yards coming on the second snap of the game. Texas coach Charlie Strong said that Swoopes, a senior, has accepted his
role as a backup and situational player without complaint. “I told him, ‘You’re going to have your chance, you’re going to have the
opportunity,'” Strong said. “At the end I said, ‘Listen, we’re not throwing the
ball. We’re going to line up and let the 18-wheeler run just run over people.'” Notre Dame opened the game with Kizer at quarterback, and he drove the
Fighting Irish 78 yards in six plays to a 13-yard touchdown pass to Equanimeous
St. Brown and a 7-0 lead. True freshman Shane Buechele got the starting quarterback nod for Texas and
showed no signs of nerves in his first game at the collegiate level. He wound up
16-for-26 for 280 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His 19-yard
touchdown pass to Armanti Foreman at the end of the Longhorns’ initial
possession capped an 11-play, 75-yard march and tied the score at 7. Texas took its first lead at 14-7 with 7:13 to play in the first half when
Buechele lunged across the goal line from 1 yard at the end of a 16-play,
88-yard drive. The Fighting Irish answered with Kizer’s second scoring hookup to St.
Brown, this time a 30-yard rocket down the left seam that tied the score at 14
with 3:44 to play in the half. Texas went deep to grab the lead at intermission as Buechele found Jerrod
Heard, who started 10 games at quarterback for the Longhorns last season, in
stride for a 68-yard gain to the Notre Dame 1. Swoopes scooted around right end
three snaps later to put the Longhorns up 21-14. Buechele went deep again on Texas’ opening drive of the third quarter,
hitting Burt in stride for a 72-yard catch-and-run touchdown that expanded the
Longhorns’ lead to 28-14. After Domingue put the Longhorns ahead 31-14 with a 25-yard field goal six
minutes into the third quarter, Notre Dame came to life with Kizer back at the
helm. He directed a 61-yard, four-play drive and took it the final 29 yards to
the end zone, bringing the Fighting Irish back to within 31-21. Buechele made his first big mistake with an interception that Crawford
returned to the Texas 6. Kizer then hit Torii Hunter Jr. on a 5-yard TD pass to
bring Notre Dame to within 31-28. The Fighting Irish’s bid to tie the game was thwarted when Yoon’s 36-yard
field goal attempt was blocked by Texas’ Naashon Hughes on the next-to-last play
of the third quarter. Just prior to the blocked field goal, Hunter was knocked out of the game by
a helmet-to-helmet hit from Texas safety DeShon Elliott that was not flagged.
The non-call was a huge play in a game determined by the narrowest of margins. “A lot of small things will come back and haunt us,” Kizer said. “To throw
the ball in the end zone and have Torii Hunter come across the field and be hit
the way he did, that kind of hurts. If there’s targeting on a defenseless
receiver, that’s a replay you’re going to want to play over and over again.” Kizer’s fourth TD pass of the game might have been his most impressive.
Working under duress from a swarming Texas rush, he found Josh Adams out of the
backfield on an arching, 17-yard scoring toss that gave Notre Dame a 35-31 lead
with 10:57 to play. “It’s more about our personnel and matching our personnel against them,”
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “It’s having the defensive personnel that
best fits what gets our best players on the field more than anything else.” NOTES: Shane Buechele’s father, former major league third baseman Steve
Buechele, was given the day off from his day job as bench coach of the Texas
Rangers to come and see his son run out on the field as the starting quarterback
for the Longhorns. … The Fighting Irish had their own starting quarterback
question and settled for a platoon of every other series for DeShone Kizer and
Malik Zaire. That platoon held until Notre Dame’s final possession of the first
half. … Former Texas basketball stars Tristan Thompson and Kevin Durant were
recognized by the home crowd for their NBA championship and gold medal in the
Rio Summer Olympics, respectively.