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Jack Coan, Notre Dame Rally To Knock Off Virginia Tech 32-29

Notre Dame came from behind to beat Virginia Tech 32-29

Notre Dame fell behind 10-0 early in the game and 29-21 in the fourth quarter, but the Fighting Irish rallied for a much-needed 32-29 victory.

The game started out how most have for Notre Dame this season, a quick three-and-out drive that was stalled by a mental mistake that resulted in a penalty and then a drive-killing sack.

Notre Dame's defense answered with a quick three-and-out of its own and the Irish offense started to move the ball. A throw from Jack Coan to Kevin Austin got the Irish into Virginia Tech territory, but a false start from guard Zeke Correll during a 4th-and-1 go for it opportunity into another Irish punt.

The Hokies responded with a 7-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Raheem Blackshear running into the end zone from seven yards out to stake Virginia Tech to an early lead. 

Notre Dame went three-and-out yet again, with another drive ending in a sack, and the Hokies got the ball in good field position. A third-down scramble by Braxton Burmiester and a pair of jet sweeps got the Hokies in a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line, but the Irish defense held and forced a field goal.

When Notre Dame got back out on the field the quarterback was Tyler Buchner, and the talented freshman followed his blockers for a 3-yard touchdown to get the Irish back in the game. The drive was set up by a 46-yard throw from Buchner to Austin after the Irish converted a 3rd-and-1 behind a great block from right tackle Joshua Lugg and tight end George Takacs.

The drive by the offense ignited the Irish defense, which forced back-to-back punts thanks to relentless pressure by the defensive line. 

Buchner got the offense rolling again late in the second quarter, hitting Avery Davis on a backside seam throw that went for 37 yards. A pair of out throws to running back Kyren Williams moved the chains and then got into the end zone as the Irish took a 14-10 lead.

Virginia Tech went 46 yards in less than a minute to set up a 52-yard John Parker Romo field goal that ended the half. It was a career long for the Virginia Tech placekicker.

Notre Dame's defense seemed to be on the verge of yet another quick three-and-out to start the half but cornerback Cam Hart whiffed on a tackle that turned a would-be third-down stop into a 25-yard gain. Virginia Tech turned that drive into a 26-yard Romo field goal that put the Hokies back on top, 16-14.

The Irish offense went three-and-out on its first possession of the second half, but cornerback TaRiq Bracy stepped in front of a Burmeister third-down pass for an interception, which gave Notre Dame the ball at the Hokie 29-yard line.

Buchner started the drive off with an 11-yard run and Williams capped it off with a tremendous 10-yard run for a score, breaking three tackles on his way to the end zone.

Notre Dame seemed to have all the momentum, but back to back mistakes by Buchner ended with Virginia Tech cornerback Jermaine Waller stepping in front of a throw and picking it off before racing 26 yards for the go-ahead score.

After the teams traded punts the Notre Dame offense finally got going again thanks to strong running from freshman Logan Diggs and Williams, who got the Irish all the way down to the Virginia Tech 32-yard line. A clipping penalty from left guard Andrew Kristofic turned a potential field goal attempt into a 3rd-and-21 that ended with Buchner throwing his second pick of the game.

It was the second huge penalty from the Irish line that took potential points off the board.

Notre Dame lost contain on a 3rd-and-9 quarterback scramble by backup Connor Blumrick on the ensuing drive and then a personal foul call on Notre Dame All-American Kyle Hamilton gave the Hokies the ball in the red zone.

The Irish defense seemed to be on the verge of holding after back-to-back tackles for loss, but they once again lost contain on the quarterback as Burmeister returned to the game and scrambled 19 yards for a score, turning a 3rd-and-15 into a touchdown that made it a 29-21 game.

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Buchner was knocked out of the game and replaced by Coan, who went 5-6 for 58 yards on the ensuing drive, capping it off with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Davis.

Notre Dame was forced to go for two, and after initially finding no one open, Coan took off running before quickly pulling up and finding Austin streaking across the field for a game-tying two-point conversion.

After the defense came up with a huge stop the offense went right back down the field, with Coan finding Braden Lenzy for a 20-yard gain and then throwing a backside seam to Takacs for another 15 yards. 

The offense was stopped on 3rd-and-1, forcing a long Jonathan Doerer field goal attempt of 48 yards, which he drilled for the win.

Notre Dame improves to 5-1 on the season, with Coan leading the Irish to a second fourth-quarter come from behind victory.

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