Notre Dame knocks off LSU in Music City Bowl

Al Lesar
South Bend Tribune

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Kyle Brindza, frustrated through a good part of his senior season with the Notre Dame football team, connected on a 32-yard field goal to give the Irish (8-5) a 31-28 Music City Bowl win over LSU (8-5) Tuesday.

The field goal culminated a 14-play drive, Notre Dame’s fourth double digit-play drive in the game. They only had five such offensive marches in the last four games.

Trailing by seven at intermission, LSU struck fast and struck big.

On the first play of the second half, Anthony Jennings hit a wide-open John Diarse for a 75-yard scoring pass. A little later, Leonard Fournette took a handoff up the middle and went 89 yards for a TD and 28-21 Tiger lead.

C.J. Prosise tied the game at 28 when he took a handoff 50 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter.

Except for allowing a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Fournette, Notre Dame executed its game plan flawlessly in the first half en route to a 21-14 lead.

The Irish running game (30 carries, 146 yards) kept LSU’s powerhouse attack off the field. Notre Dame had three double-digit drives – all of which resulted in touchdowns – and the Irish held onto the ball for 19 minutes, 38 seconds.

Will Fuller (12-yard pass from Zaire), Zaire (seven-yard run) and Taurean Folston (six-yard run) accounted for Notre Dame’s first half TDs.

Zaire actually played a role in all three. Besides throwing for one and scoring the other, Zaire threw an impressive block on LSU safety Jamal Adams near the goal line to escort Folston in.

The Irish came up with a goal-line stand to end the first half when holder John Kragthorpe was stopped just shy of the goal line.

Notre Dame's Malik Zaire earned MVP honors in the Music City Bowl victory over LSU. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)