Notre Dame and senior kicker Kyle Brindza got the finish they had missed too often late in this season. Beating a Southeastern Conference team in Southern territory only made it that much sweeter.
Brindza hit a 32-yard field goal as time expired Tuesday and Notre Dame upset No. 22 LSU, 31-28, in a Music City Bowl shootout in Nashville.
"This was a matchup that we had wanted at Notre Dame, and I know LSU felt the same way," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. "We wanted to be challenged. We were disappointed in the way we played, obviously, at the end of the year, and our guys wanted the opportunity to finish the season the right way."
The Tigers were unsuccessful on a fake field goal at the end of the first half, a call that stood on review even though replays appeared to show the ball crossing the goal line. The Fighting Irish (8-5) also blocked a 40-yard field-goal attempt by Trent Domingue early in the fourth quarter.
Kelly watched the fake field goal on the video board and thought the Irish stopped holder Brad Kragthorpe short. LSU coach Les Miles thought Kragthorpe scored and wasn't happy the play wasn't overturned for a touchdown. Miles also wasn't pleased at the lack of better replays that might have shown Kragthorpe getting the ball over the line before his knee went down.
"The guy that carried the ball, forcing it, said he absolutely scored," Miles said. "Kids will be kids, but this guy's going to tell the truth."
Notre Dame got the ball with 5 minutes, 41 seconds left and never gave it back, driving 71 yards in 14 plays before Brindza finished off the win.
Kelly went with sophomore Malik Zaire for his first career start, but he also played senior Everett Golson, using both quarterbacks on the winning drive.
Brindza had missed 6 of 9 field goals in the last five games of the regular season, including a 32-yarder late in a loss to Louisville.
The Fighting Irish were ranked as high as fifth before dropping four straight and five of their final six, struggling in the fourth quarter against Florida State, Northwestern, Arizona State, and Louisville.
LSU (8-5) lost for the first time this season to a team not from the Southeastern Conference's Western Division. Leonard Fournette ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns, and the freshman also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score.
Georgia 37, Louisville 14 -
Freshman Nick Chubb ran for a career-high 266 yards and two touchdowns as No. 13 Georgia (10-3) overcame an injury to quarterback Hutson Mason to beat 20th-ranked Louisville (9-4) in Charlotte, N.C.
Dismissed. Texas A&M dismissed student assistant coach Michael Richardson on Tuesday, one day after videos showed him hitting West Virginia players out of bounds during the Liberty Bowl.
Coach Kevin Sumlin apologized to coach Dana Holgorsen and the two players who were hit for Richardson's "inexcusable actions."