TEMPE, Ariz. – Taylor Kelly threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Demario Richard in the fourth quarter and Lloyd Carrington followed with a 58-yard interception return for another score, helping No. 11 Arizona State withstand a furious second-half rally to beat No. 8 Notre Dame 55-31 on Saturday.
The Sun Devils (8-1) overwhelmed Notre Dame early with a string of turnovers and big plays, racing to a 24-3 lead by the opening minute of the second quarter.
The Irish (7-2) rallied with 21 straight points, pulling to 34-31 when Everett Golson hit Amir Carlisle with a 25-yard touchdown pass.
But the Sun Devils had a rally of their own, scoring three touchdowns in the final 4:39 to remain firmly in the playoff mix.
Notre Dame is all but out of the playoff hunt after Golson threw four interceptions and lost a fumble.
Kelly threw for 224 yards on 17-of-28 passing and capped one of Arizona State’s biggest wins as a program with a last-second, 2-yard scoring run.
Golson finished with 446 yards on 22-of-41 passing and two touchdowns, but has 17 turnovers the past six games, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns by the Sun Devils. He also was sacked seven times.
With all that was on the line, this was arguably the biggest regular-season game in the 56-year history of Sun Devil Stadium.
Students began camping out for tickets Monday and fans jammed the stadium, creating a playoff-like atmosphere in the desert.
And it was like a playoff for the playoffs: Win and bolster your resume for the final rankings on Dec. 7, lose and start angling for a lower-tier bowl.
Notre Dame won the first game in the series last season, pulling out a wild 37-34 victory in Texas in a game that featured two touchdowns in the final 68 seconds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.