IRISH HOLD OFF CAL BEARS 24 - 27 TO GIVE COACH FREEMAN HIS FIRST WIN: A game winning hail mary attempt by the Cal Bears falls short as the Irish hold off for their first victory of the season, giving Coach Freeman his first victory as HC
BY: EVAN J. THOMAS
SOURCE - ESPN
A teeth chattering hail mary attempt failed on the final play of the game giving the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and head coach Marcus Freeman his first career victory as the Irish held off the Cal Bears 24 - 17.
After a slow start, QB Drew Pyne passed for two touchdowns and 150 yards in his first career start as Notre Dame overcame numerous mistakes, including two potentially game-clinching turnovers were overturned, one on a targeting penalty and another when Cal quarterback Jack Plummer was ruled down before he fumbled.
"It was a conversation between me and God, and a conversation between me and myself to focus on what matters," Freeman said.
The Irish (1-2) outscored Cal (2-1) 10-0 in the fourth quarter to avoid becoming just the third Notre Dame squad to start a season 0-3. The Irish, who started the season ranked No. 5, had blown leads three times, made sure there was no second-half letdown this time.
"Found a way to finish," Freeman said. "I'm proud of those guys. You know what, it is hard to win football games. It's hard. You've seen it in the first three games. It's hard."
The game wasn't over until the last play as officials overturned two plays that appeared to be game-clinching turnovers for the Irish, giving the Bears a last-second shot. On fourth-and-13 from the Notre Dame 35, Cal's Jack Plummer threw the ball into the end zone. The ball bounced off several players and Bears receiver Jeremiah Hunter nearly pulled it in, but the ball landed on the grass.
It was a familiar feeling for the Bears, who had five losses by seven points or less last season.
Notre Dame tailback Chris Tyree said it was hard to watch. "They almost gave me a heart attack out there, man," he said. "It's really exciting football to watch, especially when it goes down to the wire like that. That's going to be a moment we'll never forget."
Notre Dame took a 24-17 lead with 9:16 remaining on a 6-yard pass from Pyne to TE Michael Mayer. The touchdown was set up when Pyne threw a short pass to tailback Audric Esitime, and he sprinted for a 36-yard gain before tripping at the 6-yard line.
Pyne finishes the game 17-of-23 passing. In addition to the scoring pass to Mayer, Pyne threw a 21-yard TD pass to Tyree. Tyree, rushed for 64 yards on 17 carries and had five catches for 44 yards. Estime added a 1-yard run and 76 yards rushing on 18 carries
Freeman said he'd take a moment to savor the win. "If you don't take a minute to enjoy these things, you're going to regret it," he said. "That's what I keep reminding myself is enjoy the victory."
QB Pyne - 17/23, 150 yds, 2 TDs
RB Estime - 18 carries, 76 yds, 1 TD, 3 catches, 43 yds
RB Tyree - 17 carries, 64 yds0, 5 catches, 44 yds, 1 TD
WR Styles - 3 catches, 29 yds
WR Lenzy - 3 catches, 20 yds
TE Mayer - 2 catches, 10 yds, 1 TD
Defense - 6 sacks