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COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 10

Luck of the Irish Helps in the End

College football: Notre Dame makes a goal-line stand in final 67 seconds and defeats Boston College, 31-26.

November 08, 1998|From Associated Press

BOSTON — A season with so much promise was slipping away for Notre Dame.

The 13th-ranked Irish were clinging to a five-point lead Saturday, and Boston College's Scott Mutryn connected on a 26-yard pass to Rob Tardio to the Irish four with 67 seconds left.

First down, Cloud for two yards. Second down, Cloud for one. Tick . . . tick . . . tick. Third down, Cloud is stopped at the goal line by linebacker Jimmy Friday. Tick . . . tick . . tick . . . Eleven seconds left, Mutryn takes the snap, hands off to Cloud, and the nation's fourth-leading rusher moves to his left. Before he can cut to the goal line, though, safety Deke Cooper breaks through and brings him down inches short of a huge upset.

Six seconds left. The Irish jump for joy, the Eagles stare into space, in disbelief.

Notre Dame 31, Boston College 26.

The Irish run for the Rose Bowl continues.

"That lady on the dome is smiling at us right now," Irish Coach Bob Davie said.

The Eagles (3-6) gave the Irish (7-1) all they could handle, but Cloud, a 5-foot-11, 201-pounder who carried 28 times for 141 yards, was unable to come up with one final yard.

"It was a tough ending to a great effort," Boston College Coach Tom O'Brien said. "I told the team I can't describe the effort that they gave. I can't tell them in words the pain that I feel for them, either."

After Cooper's stop, which silenced the sold-out Alumni Stadium crowd of 44,500, Irish quarterback Jarious Jackson ran a play from the one as time expired and Notre Dame extended its winning streak to six games.

"We kind of felt relieved," said cornerback Brock Williams, who was beaten on three first-half pass plays that helped the Eagles take a 17-14 halftime lead. "Deke stepped up and made a great play."

Despite the close call, Notre Dame still remains a top attraction for the Rose Bowl if it can win its final three games, against Navy, Louisiana State and USC. Only the Trojans have a winning record. The Irish last appeared in the Rose Bowl in 1925, when Knute Rockne was coach.

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