More of the big-bowl same for Notre Dame in loss to Clemson

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

ARLINGTON, Texas — Intermission was closing quickly in an eventful but forgettable first half when sunshine peeked through the massive wall of glass windows on the west end of AT&T Stadium.

The glow illuminated a section of seats in the east end zone, where the Irish band was positioned, but darkness had long descended on Notre Dame’s fortunes in Saturday’s College Football Playoff semifinal against second-ranked Clemson.

On a day and in a year when the big stage was supposed to be different for the third-ranked Irish, it was more of the same. More long faces. More lopsided stats and final score. More cheering from the guys on the other sideline. More tears and soul-searching from the Irish.

Instead of advancing in its first semifinal visit to try and win its first national championship in 30 years, Notre Dame went quietly into the Metroplex night following a 30-3 loss.

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Notre Dame’s Drue Tranquill (23) grimaces and grabs his helmet after ND's 30-3 loss to Clemson in the Cotton Bowl, Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.