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Notre Dame answers every challenge in 37-34 win over Arizona State

ARLINGTON TX - OCTOBER 05:  Dan Fox #48 Notre Dame Fighting Irish JaylSmith #9 celebrate fumble recovery against ArizonState

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 05: Dan Fox #48 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Jaylon Smith #9 celebrate a fumble recovery against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Cowboys Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Arizona State 34

Arizona St. 0 13 0 21 — 34

Notre Dame 0 14 10 13 — 37

Second Quarter

ASU—FG Gonzalez 40, 14:03.

ASU—FG Gonzalez 27, 6:11.

ND—Koyack 19 pass from Rees (Brindza kick), 3:35.

ASU—Strong 36 pass from T.Kelly (Gonzalez kick), 1:30.

ND—T.Jones 8 pass from Rees (Brindza kick), :10.

Third Quarter

ND—FG Brindza 53, 10:02.

ND—Niklas 21 pass from Rees (Brindza kick), 3:54.

Fourth Quarter

ASU—Irabor 37 interception return (Gonzalez kick), 14:46.

ND—FG Brindza 33, 10:38.

ASU—D.Nelson 21 pass from T.Kelly (Gonzalez kick), 8:18.

ND—FG Brindza 25, 3:03.

ND—Fox 14 interception return (Brindza kick), 1:08.

ASU—Grice 16 pass from T.Kelly (Gonzalez kick), :11.



First downs 22 23

Rushes-yards 25-65 37-145

Passing 362 279

Comp-Att-Int 33-47-2 17-38-1

Return Yards 37 51

Punts-Avg. 5-38.4 5-36.2

Fumbles-Lost 3-1 0-0

Penalties-Yards 4-45 9-64

Time of Possession 25:22 34:38


RUSHING—Arizona St., Grice 12-51, Sulka 0-10, T.Kelly 12-5, Team 1-(minus 1). Notre Dame, McDaniel 15-82, G.Atkinson 18-54, Carlisle 2-8, Hendrix 1-2, Team 1-(minus 1).

PASSING—Arizona St., T.Kelly 33-47-2-362. Notre Dame, Rees 17-38-1-279.

RECEIVING—Arizona St., Foster 9-71, Strong 8-136, Grice 5-36, Ozier 4-63, D.Nelson 2-23, Ca.Smith 2-18, Coyle 2-11, R.Smith 1-7, D.Lewis 0-(minus 3). Notre Dame, T.Jones 8-135, Daniels 4-67, Niklas 3-49, Koyack 1-19, Prosise 1-9.


Aug. 31 Temple W, 28-6

Sept. 7 at Michigan L, 41-30

Sept. 14 at Purdue W, 31-24

Sept. 21 Mich. State W, 17-13

Sept. 28 Oklahoma L, 35-21

Oct. 5 Ariz. State W, 37-34

Oct. 19 USC 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 26 at Air Force 4 p.m.

Nov. 2 Navy 2:30 p.m.

Nov. 9 at Pittsburgh TBA

Nov. 23 BYU 2:30 p.m.

Nov. 30 at Stanford TBA

Updated: November 7, 2013 6:54AM

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Notre Dame defense that dominated teams throughout 2012 returned when it mattered most.

And as a result, the Irish got a much-needed bounce-back victory on Saturday night.

Kicker Kyle Brindza made a go-ahead 25-yard field goal with 3:03 left in the fourth quarter, and Matthias Farley and Dan Fox intercepted passes as Notre Dame held off No. 22 Arizona State 37-34 in front of 66,960 fans at AT&T Stadium.

Fox returned his interception 14 yards for a touchdown.

“We all remember what we saw last year defensively salting away games and we feel like our defense is continuously getting better,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “We’re not there yet. But certainly, we feel like the defense, with a good pass rush, playing good technique in the back end, that we can do those kinds of things.”

Notre Dame collected five sacks, three by linebacker Prince Shembo.

“We just went out there and were like ‘It’s time to eat,’ ” Shembo said.

Quarterback Tommy Rees threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver TJ Jones had eight catches for 135 yards and one touchdown.

“As an offense, we settled in and had a good understanding of what they were trying to do,” Rees said.

But the defense made the difference.

Freshman linebacker Jaylon Smith led the team with nine tackles. Shembo and Fox had seven tackles. Fox also had a fumble recovery to go along with the interception.

His fumble recovery set up a 21-yard touchdown pass from Rees to Troy Niklas that gave Notre Dame (4-2) a 24-13 lead with 3:54 left in the third quarter.

But the Sun Devils (3-2) rallied. Cornerback Osahon Irabor intercepted a pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter, cutting Notre Dame’s lead to 24-20.

Brindza made a 33-yard field goal. But Arizona State tied the game on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Kelly to De’Marieya Nelson with 8:18 remaining.

Brindza then made the go-ahead field goal.

“He’s a pretty clutch guy in the fourth quarter,” Kelly said.

The Sun Devils attempted a final charge, but Notre Dame’s defense came up big. First, Farley intercepted a pass on fourth down. Arizona State had another crack, but Fox intercepted a pass and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown with 1:08 remaining.

“I got hit as I threw it so I’ve got to not do that,” Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly said.

Arizona State’s Marion Grice had a 16-yard touchdown reception with 11 seconds to go, but Jones recovered an onside kick to preserve the victory and give Notre Dame momentum heading into a bye week.

“It’s a big win for us,” Rees said. “You know, to get right back on the right track heading into the bye week, the halfway point of the season. It was kind of a game we understood the importance of, and we were really ready to go.”


Twitter: @lamondpope

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