Justin Yoon lifts Notre Dame past Miami in final minute

Al Lesar
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND – Justin Yoon connected on a 24-yard field goal with 30 seconds left in the game to end the Notre Dame football team’s (3-5) streak of five straight losses with frustration on the final drive.

Yoon’s kick gave the Irish a 30-27 victory over Miami (4-4), which suffered its fourth straight loss.

Before the game-winning boot, the Irish came close to a grave mistake. On third-and-three from the 9-yard line, Tight end Dustin Smythe caught a pass and dove toward the end zone. Before he broke the plane, the ball was knocked loose. Fortunately for the Irish, Kizer came away with the ball from the pile of players, giving new life and setting up the game-winning score.

Tied at 20 midway through the fourth quarter, Notre Dame experienced its fourth special teams mistake of the game. This one was a doozy. C.J. Sanders fumbled a punt into the end zone and Miami’s Michael Jackson recovered it for a touchdown.

The Irish responded with a four-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a 41-yard scoring run by Josh Adams to tie the game.

Notre Dame’s 13-point halftime lead became in jeopardy when an Irish defense that had been stout in the first half suddenly struggled. Miami converted a third-and-16 and a second-and-15 en route to a one-yard touchdown run by Mark Walton with 8:36 to play in the third quarter.

Michael Badgley connected on a pair of field goals, the second with 12:30 left in the game and it was tied at 20.

Notre Dame jumped to a 20-7 lead at halftime. An uptempo, efficient offense and a defense that came to the rescue a couple times played a significant role.

Kizer threw touchdowns passes to Torii Hunter, Jr. (five yards) and Equanimeous St. Brown (14). The Irish led 20-0 when Miami answered with a two-yard scoring pass from Brad Kaaya to David Nijoku.

That’s when the Irish defense went to work. The Hurricanes recovered an onside kick at their own 47. They made it as far as the Irish 37 when Nyles Morgan sacked Kaaya for a 17-yard loss, making a field goal out of the question.

Just before intermission, Miami ventured to the Irish 34 but was stopped on downs.

Notre Dame’s Torii Hunter Jr. (16) dives into the end zone for a touchdown during the Miami at Notre Dame NCAA college football game Saturday Oct. 29, 2016, inside Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA