No. 16 Notre Dame escaped Virginia Tech with a late fourth-quarter rally to win 21–20 in South Bend on Saturday.
The Fighting Irish put together an impressive 18-play, 87-yard drive in the final three minutes of the game to advance to 6–2 this season. Quarterback Ian Book ran for seven yards to score the game-tying touchdown. Jonathan Doerer kicked the extra point on a bad snap to give Notre Dame the lead.
Both schools entered Saturday at 5–2, and the Hokies looked to receive some divine intervention to potentially hand the Fighting Irish their third loss of the season.
Despite the loss, Virginia Tech safety Divine Deablo delivered a standout performance on Saturday. Ahead 14–7 with 43 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the Irish looked to increase their halftime lead and reached Virginia Tech's one-yard line. After the Hokies called a timeout, linebacker Rayshard Ashby forced a fumble on the goal line. Deablo scooped the ball up and returned it for a 98-yard touchdown to tie the game at halftime.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Deablo's fumble return for a touchdown is the longest against Notre Dame all-time. The previous record was held by USF with a 96-yarder in 2011.
With a shift in momentum, Virginia Tech started the second half by scoring a field goal on its opening drive to go up 17–14. Deablo came up big again halfway through the third quarter by intercepting quarterback Ian Book's pass on first-and-10 at Virginia Tech's 33-yard line. The Hokies were forced to punt on their next possession but later added another field goal at the start of the fourth quarter to increase their lead to 20–14.
Notre Dame responded with an 82-yard drive but couldn't score on third-and-goal. Virginia Tech's defense continued to pressure the Irish and kicker Jonathan Doerer missed a 35-yard field goal.
The Irish entered the game with six turnovers on the season and finished Saturday with three. Book went 29 for 53 with 336 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He added one rushing touchdown with 50 yards on 13 carries.