Ian Book, Notre Dame edge Clemson for first place in ACC
For the first time in the storied history of its program, Notre Dame looks like it will have a chance at becoming a conference champion.
The Fighting Irish overcame a blown 13-point lead in regulation to force overtime, eventually toppling No. 1 Clemson 47-40 in the second extra period. With the win, Notre Dame improved to 7-0 on the season and claims sole possession of first place in the ACC — and in its first season playing in a conference. ND also extended its winning streak against ACC opponents to 11 games as Clemson drops to 7-1, ending a 36-game regular season winning streak that dated back 2017 while giving the Irish a huge tiebreaker for the ACC Championship Game — a contest that could potentially be a rematch of Saturday’s thriller.
Running back Kyren Williams scored from 65 yards out on the first play from scrimmage and established a strong ground game, which quarterback Ian Book complemented with 374 total yards. Book shook off a goal line fumble in the third quarter to guide the Irish on a game-tying drive in the final minutes of regulation. In overtime, the redshirt senior set up a number of favorable scenarios for ND, which Williams capitalized on with touchdowns in both overtimes.
Clemson's D.J. Uiagalelei filled in for Trevor Lawrence once again at quarterback, leading Clemson to a second-half rally and the verge of a road win over a top-5 team. The freshman threw for a career-high 439 yards to go with three total touchdowns. That performance became even more important as star running back Travis Etienne struggled to find running room against a stout Notre Dame defense.
In the end, it was experience and a balanced attack that propelled Notre Dame to its first win over a No. 1 team since 1993.
Clemson, Notre Dame tied at 40 after first overtime
One overtime will not be enough in South Bend as Clemson and Notre Dame head to another extra period tied at 40.
Clemson re-took the lead on a 1-yard plunge by D.J. Uiagalelei. The Tigers initially scored on a touchdown pass from Uiagalelei to Cornell Powell, which was overturned upon review.
Notre Dame answered back with Kyren Williams, who scored his second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run. Williams is up to 143 yards rushing. ND will get the ball first in the second overtime.
Clemson, Notre Dame head to overtime tied at 33
To overtime we go after Notre Dame's Ian Book lead a game-tying drive, capped by a four-yard touchdown pass to Avery Davis with 22 seconds remaining.
Book nearly doubled his passing yards in the fourth quarter, throwing for 124 yards during the period. Every last one was needed after Clemson pulled ahead for the first time tonight. Travis Etienne, who has struggled to find running room, punched in a 1-yard touchdown with 3:33 remaining.
This is the first overtime game for both teams since 2016.
Clemson, Notre Dame tied at 23 after three quarters
Just like that, Clemson is back in the game after outscoring Notre Dame 10-0 in the third quarter.
D.J. Uiagalelei led the Tigers on a 13-play drive, Clemson's longest possession of the evening, and pulled his team level on a 10-yard strike to Davis Allen. The freshman is up to 306 yards passing with a pair of touchdowns. He's gone over 300 yards passing in each of his first two career starts.
Notre Dame was held to just 10 plays in the quarter and still nearly took the lead before Clemson's Jake Venables stripped Ian Book as he tried to stretch a first down into a go-ahead touchdown late in the period.
And so it all comes down to this, 15 minutes for sole possession of first place in the ACC.
Notre Dame 23, Clemson 13 at the half
If No. 1 Clemson is going to remain unbeaten, it'll have to overcome a double-digit deficit for the second week in a row.
After Notre Dame and Clemson traded short field goals, momentum shifted in favor of the Fighting Irish. ND scored 13 of the next 16 points, capitalizing off of back-to-back Clemson turnovers to take a 23-13 lead into the locker room.
Travis Etienne fumbled for the second straight game as linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah took hold a mishandled pitch in stride for a defensive touchdown. Owusu-Koramoah also stripped wide receiver Amari Rodgers on the ensuing drive, which led to a field goal after teammate Nick McCloud recovered the ball.
Etienne has struggled to get going with just six yards on nine carries, compared to Notre Dame's 144 rushing yards for the half. The senior running back nearly returned a missed field goal from the back of the end zone on the final play of the half.
Clemson outgained Notre Dame in the quarter, but will need to turn those yards into points if the Tigers expect to mount a comeback. Clemson erased a 28-13 deficit at home against Boston College last week. The Tigers only trail by 10 this time, but a comeback in Notre Dame Stadium could be a more daunting task.
Notre Dame leads Clemson 10-7 after the first quarter
Notre Dame set the tone early against Clemson, but it takes more than one big play to rattle the top-ranked Tigers.
ND running back Kyren Williams won a 65-yard footrace on the first play from scrimmage. The Fighting Irish nearly went up 14-0, but a false start on fourth down at the goal line forced ND to settle for a field goal.
Clemson needed just four plays to get back into the game with D.J. Uiagalelei going over the top to find wide receiver Cornell Powell for a 53 yard touchdown pass.
Both Uiagalelei and Notre Dame's Ian Book had strong opening quarters as neither quarterback threw an incompletion in the period.
Here's a look at the stats through the first quarter:
Pregame: Clemson vs. Notre Dame
We're about to find out if Clemson can be knocked off its perch as the ACC's best — by a team that's playing in a conference for the first time ever.
It's a top-4 meeting that will say a lot about the College Football Playoff situation, even if there's a chance Clemson and Notre Dame can easily meet again in the ACC title game.
It'll also say a lot about Tigers freshman QB DJ Uiagalelei, who's making his second career start with star Trevor Lawrence out because of COVID-19.
It's also a huge moment for Notre Dame senior QB Ian Book. When the Irish played Clemson in a CFP semifinal in 2018, he had only 160 yards and an interception in a 30-3 rout.
How to watch Clemson vs. Notre Dame
It's a top-4 matchup between the two highest-ranked teams in the ACC — and both hope to make it to the College Football Playoff this season.
Here's how you can watch:
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- Date: Saturday, Nov. 7
- TV channel: NBC. However, during Joe Biden's scheduled 8 p.m. address, coverage will move to USA Network. After NBC News' special report ends, the game will return to NBC.
- Streaming: NBC Sports
- Location: Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana
Previewing Clemson vs. Notre Dame
The ACC has never seen this.
No, not just Notre Dame playing as a conference member for this season. This is about rankings.
Per Clemson athletics, Saturday's No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Notre Dame game is the highest-ranked matchup between ACC teams. Ever.
Saturday night's game has been hyped for a long time, and both teams have won every game this season to get to this point. Of course, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence has tested positive for COVID-19 and has experienced symptoms. So the game won't look exactly the way many expected.
The good news for the top-ranked Tigers is D.J. Uiagalelei had an impressive debut. With Clemson down 18 points, Uiagalelei helped his team rally, 34-28. He finished with 342 yards passing and two touchdowns and 25 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Travis Etienne touched the ball 27 times (20 rushes, seven catches) and will likely be asked to do a lot against the Irish, especially with this one on the road and against a vaunted defense. He also became the ACC's all-time leading rusher during last week's win.
Though Clemson linebacker James Skalski will also be out, the Tigers' defense knows what it needs to do: make Ian Book beat them. Notre Dame's had a balanced offense, with Book throwing for 204 yards per game. But the Irish would love to find an edge on the line of scrimmage — they average 5.1 rushing yards per attempt.
The veteran Book has the experience, but can Notre Dame get over that hurdle? Two years ago, Clemson crushed the Irish 30-3 in a College Football Playoff semifinal.
And despite all the excitement going into the game and possible conclusions after it, there's another thing to think about.
These two could easily meet again in the ACC Championship Game next month for Round 2.
College football rankings update
Clemson has been ranked No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches Polls since the preseason. However, the Tigers' advantage over No. 2 Alabama has shrunk considerably.
With star QB Trevor Lawrence out after testing positive for COVID-19 and a close 34-28 rally against Boston College, Clemson finished only two points ahead of the Tide in the AP Poll. As you can see below, the Tigers have a larger lead in the Coaches Poll.
|AP POLL||RANKING||COACHES POLL|
|Clemson (33 first-place votes)||1||Clemson (43)|
|Alabama (29)||2||Alabama (17)|
|Ohio State||3||Ohio State (2)|
|Notre Dame||4||Notre Dame|
|Texas A&M||7||Texas A&M|
|Iowa State||17||Iowa State|
Here is this week's Top 25 schedule:
Friday, Nov. 6
Saturday, Nov. 7
- No. 1 Clemson at No. 4 Notre Dame | 7:30 p.m. | NBC
- Rutgers at No. 3 Ohio State | 7:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network
- No. 8 Florida vs. No. 5 Georgia (Jacksonville, Florida) | 3:30 p.m. | CBS
- Houston at No. 6 Cincinnati | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN
- No. 7 Texas A&M at South Carolina | 7 p.m. | ESPN
- Purdue at No. 10 Wisconsin — CANCELED
- Stanford at No. 12 Oregon | 7:30 p.m. | ABC
- No. 23 Michigan at No. 13 Indiana | 12 p.m. | FS1
- No. 14 Oklahoma State at Kansas State | 4 p.m. | FOX
- South Alabama at No. 15 Coastal Carolina | 8 p.m. | ESPNU
- UMass at No. 16 Marshall | 2:30 p.m. | ESPN+
- Baylor at No. 17 Iowa State | 7 p.m. | FS1
- No. 18 SMU at Temple | 12 p.m. | ESPN+
- Kansas at No. 19 Oklahoma | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN
- Arizona State at No. 20 USC | 12 p.m. | FOX
- West Virginia at No. 22 Texas | 12 p.m. | ABC
- No. 25 Liberty at Virginia Tech | 12 p.m. | ACC Network
Clemson vs. Notre Dame: Series history
Despite the rich histories of the programs, Clemson and Notre Dame have met only four times previously. However, they did play only two seasons ago in the College Football Playoff semifinals.
Clemson leads 3-1, taking the last three.
|Dec. 29, 2018||Clemson||30-3||Arlington, Texas
(College Football Playoff semifinals)
|Oct. 3, 2015||Clemson||24-22||Clemson, South Carolina|
|Nov. 17, 1979||Clemson||16-10||South Bend, Indiana|
|Nov. 12, 1977||Notre Dame||21-17||Clemson, South Carolina|
Clemson vs. Notre Dame: Stats breakdown
Clemson has played one more game than Notre Dame going into Saturday's showdown. Here's a look at the statistics:
|7-0 (6-0)||Record (ACC)||6-0 (5-0)|
|No. 1||AP rank||No. 4|
|46.1||Points per game||34.8|
|508.0||Yards per game||437.2|
|174.9||Pass yards allowed||173.5|
|99.9||Rush yards allowed||93.7|
1,833 yards (17 TDs, 2 INT)
|Passing leader||Ian Book
1,225 yards (7 TDs, 1 INT)
606 yards (9 TDs)
|Rushing leader||Kyren Williams
600 yards (7 TDs)
586 yards (6 TDs)
|Receiving leader||Javon McKinley
43 total tackles, 6.5 tfl
26 total tackles, 6 tfl
*Trevor Lawrence is out after testing positive for COVID-19