Rees, Brindza lead Irish to victory
Notre Dame knocks off No. 22 Arizona State
ARLINGTON, Texas – Tommy Rees and Notre Dame felt right at home during another trip to South Bend South in Texas.
Rees threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, and Notre Dame made it 5 for 5 in the traveling Shamrock Series with a 37-34 victory against No. 22 Arizona State on Saturday night.
Kyle Brindza kicked three second-half field goals, including the go-ahead kick from 25 yards with 3:03 remaining. He tied a Notre Dame record with a 53-yarder that matched the longest in a college game at the $1.2 billion home of the Dallas Cowboys.
It was the second win in Texas in the five-year Shamrock series for the Irish (4-2), starting with a victory over Washington State in San Antonio in 2009.
“It’s a big win for us, to get right back on the right track in the bye week and the halfway point of the season,” said Rees, who had just nine completions in a loss to Oklahoma last week. “It was kind of a game we understood the importance of and we were really ready to go and had a great week of preparation.”
Taylor Kelly threw for 362 yards and three scores for the Sun Devils (3-2), who missed on a chance to become the first team to beat Southern California and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks.
Notre Dame’s T.J. Jones had eight catches for 135 yards, including a pair of first-down catches on the drive to the winning field goal. Cam McDaniel, who went to school in nearby Coppell, had four straight carries for 32 yards to get Notre Dame in field goal range. McDaniel finished with a game-high 82 yards.
The Irish clinched the win when Dan Fox, who recovered a fumble to set up a touchdown, returned Kelly’s second interception 14 yards for a touchdown with 1:08 left.
The Sun Devils pulled within 37-34 on Kelly’s third TD – a 16-yarder to Marion Grice with 11 seconds left, but Jones recovered an onside kick.
Notre Dame, one of the best in the country at rushing the passer last year but statistically one of the worst this year, found its form. The Irish pressured Kelly throughout, and Prince Shembo had three of their six sacks on the day.
Notre Dame’s first regular-season game in the Dallas area since 1958 was technically a home game.