PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- DeShone Kizer led Notre Dame to a 24-20 big win over undefeated Temple in Philadelphia on Saturday night of Halloween, racking up 442 yards and three scores total in the win.
Notre Dame kicked off the first quarter with a well-organized surge downfield that ended in a four-yard touchdown run for quarterback Kizer to make it 7-0 after 12 plays, 74 yards, and six minutes.
Temple answered with a field goal on their second drive, but the Fighting Irish clearly held the momentum up until the midway point of the second quarter.
P.J. Walker was snapped a bad ball at the 12:00 mark in the second and saved Temple from a safety, jumping on the ball at one to stave off unnecessary opportunity for Notre Dame.
After holding for a third down and seven at their own 14, the Owls defense managed to force an inaccurate throw by Kizer. Praise Martin-Oguike dove to make a phenomenal interception and bring the drive to a halt at the six yard-line.
The Owls drove down the field right away on the ensuing drive, as star running back Jahad Thomas took a run 39 yards to midfield on first-and-five. Ventell Bryant caught a 26-yard pass two plays later and drew a pass interference penalty to bring it to the Notre Dame nine and first-and-goal. Brandon Shippen caught a Walker strike for 12 yards and spread out to just inch his way past the goal line and put the Owls up 10-7.
Kizer and the Notre Dame offense didn’t take long to recover from the point-stopping pick on the last drive, as the speedy quarterback found a gap to the right on third-and-one and took the draw play 79 yards to the house after just three plays to take back the game for the Irish, 14-10.
The Fighting Irish found themselves in the redzone again with a minute left in the second quarter and a third down situation to face. Kizer’s pass from the Owls’ 11 yard line was tipped up and picked off on the fly by stud linebacker Tyler Matakevich to bring to an end another deep Notre Dame drive and give Temple the ball at their own 26 with room to comfortably run out the half.
“I just ran my route, and the corner played good defense,” said Will Fuller, the pass's target.
After their defense forced a stop after four plays to open the third, Kizer drove Notre Dame back into the redzone off a big 40-yard screen play by Torii Hunter, Jr., who made it to Temple’s 14. After gaining a first-and-goal at the three, the Irish were stuffed by the Owls and were forced to go for three on the drive. Justin Yoon hit one from 23 yards out to make it 17-10.
After a punt from each team on the next two drives, Temple was the one to pull of a big 78-yard drive a few minutes into the final period. After being held to a fourth down and goal try from the Irish’s one, Thomas took a risky toss play and struck paydirt, making a defender whiff to get the needed yard and tie it up.
At 17-17, Temple’s D made another big stop to reclaim possession and a chance to take their second lead of the game. Walker started the series off with a big 21-yard run, and after another first down, the Owls were in field goal range. The kicker Austin Jones knocked a field goal in from 36 yards out to make it 20-17 in Temple’s favor.
But the Fighting Irish pushed right back into the lead with 2:09 to go on a 17-yard Will Fuller reception in the back-right corner of the endzone. That play was set up by a 45-yard completion to Alize Jones to get into field goal territory.
“It was a perfect time to unleash [Fuller],” said Kizer postgame. "DeShone just threw a perfect ball in the hole," Fuller added. "Happy I came down with it."
With the two-minute offense on the field, a crucial hands to the face call on Temple forced the Owls into a third-and-17 situation nobody should ever aim to be in during crunch time. Walker threw a pass intended for John Christopher that was jumped by KeiVarae Russell and picked off to give the Irish the ball with just a minute to play in the fourth, up 24-20.
Notre Dame ran out what they could as Temple burned their two remaining timeouts, and with a mere seven ticks left on the game clock and a fourth and one situation. Kizer ran backwards and threw the ball away after bobbling the ball as time expired to seal the four-point win for Notre Dame.
Kizer said postgame on the team's aim for the rest of the season that they have to simply "Go 1-0. Just keep winning."