Late Touchdown Elevates No. 9 Notre Dame Past UVa, 34-27
Box Score Sept. 12, 2015
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP)- Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer came in for the injured Malik Zaire and threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Will Fuller with 12 seconds left Saturday as the No. 9 Irish beat Virginia, 34-27.
The stunning victory was ”bittersweet,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. Zaire will miss the rest of the season with a fractured ankle, making it the second week in a row that a player expected to help carry the offense went down and his replacement stepped in and starred.
The Fighting Irish (2-0) lost top running back Tarean Folston to a knee injury last week against Texas, and found a strong backup in C.J. Prosise, who ran for 155 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown, against Virginia.
Notre Dame squandered a 26-14 lead and fell behind when Virginia (0-2) scored with 1:54 remaining. With Zaire out, Kizer came to the rescue on the final drive. He ran 4 yards for a first down on fourth-and-2 from the Notre Dame 28, and later found the speedy Fuller.
Demetrious Nicholson said the final touchdown was difficult to watch.
”You always want to just try to freeze time and go back and rewind, but you can’t,” he said.
”What a tough way to lose a football game,” Virginia coach Mike London said.
Johns threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third for Virginia, taking back momentum after Notre Dame opened a 26-14 lead. The Irish were seemingly one more score from putting the game away and sending fans for the exits, but instead, Johns led a six-play drive to his 4-yard TD run.
Notre Dame started to take control in the third quarter, after Virginia drove to the Irish 15 and wound up settling for a 43-yard field goal try that missed. Following an exchange of punts, Zaire sent Will Fuller streaking down the right side and hit him with a perfectly thrown 59-yard scoring pass.
They made it 26-14 with a three-play, 45-yard drive capped by Prosise’s 24-yard run, but lost Zaire when he appeared to roll his ankle on a designed run that gained just three yards. Zaire was helped off the field and later taken to the locker room on a cart, and Kizer went the rest of the way.