No. 9 Arizona State holds off No. 10 Notre Dame, wins 55-31


In a clash of two teams fighting for a spot in the new college playoff system, the No. 9 Sun Devils made an early statement by jumping out to a 31-3 lead on the No. 10 Irish. Following a furious second half rally, the Sun Devils (8-1) scored twice late en route to a 55-31 victory.

The Irish (7-2) knew coming in against a blitz-heavy Sun Devils team that they would have to neutralize the blitz and avoid turnovers. They failed to do either, as they turned the ball over  five times including a pick-six that sent the Sun Devils on the early lead.

On Notre Dame’s first drive, they were able to use a quick release passing game to move the ball don the field, but the drive stalled at the end, resulting in a 46-yard field goal to give the Irish a 3-0 lead. That would be the end for the Irish till the closing minutes of the first half.

The diminished Notre Dame defense was exposed early and often. But the biggest blow to the Irish came early in the second half, as Everett Golson’s pass was intercepted by Damarious Randall and returned 59 yards for the score to put ASU up 24-3. Three of the Irish’s first four drives ended in turnovers.

More from Slap the Sign

Taylor Kelly then connected with Cameron Smith for a 43-yard TD pass to extend the lead to 31-3, and by all accounts were en route to the easy victory against the clearly overmatched Irish.

Notre Dame put a late-score up before the end of the half as Golson connected with William Fuller in the corner of the endzone to cut it to 34-10. With the Irish getting the ball in the second half, it gave them a glimmer of hope.

The Irish moved the ball quickly down to the ASU seven, but another Golson interception look to squash the hopes of a comeback.

But the Irish found a way to get back into the contest.

The Irish scored 21 unanswered, cutting the Sun Devil lead to 34-31.

A missed field goal earlier in the half looked even more costly at that point, before the Sun Devils stuck several daggers in the Irish hopes.

Golson intended a pass for Corey Robinson, but he was unable to hold on, as the deflection bounced into the hands of Lloyd Carrington, who returned it 58 yards for a touchdown. The score put the Irish down two scores at 48-31, almost ensuring the end of the comeback.

Following a sack of Golson deep inside ASU territory, the Sun Devils pushed in a final score to finish the rout of the Irish 55-31, ending Notre Dame’s chance at a spot in the new college playoff system.