Fiesta Bowl: Second-Quarter Analysis

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Notre Dame might not have dominated the second quarter like it did the majority of the first, but it’s still playing very well. While this is true for practically every football game, this year’s Fiesta Bowl really will come down to who successfully executes more plays. Right now, that’s the Irish as they lead Oklahoma State, 28-14, at halftime.

After forcing the Cowboys to punt in the early moments of the quarter, the Irish went back to work on offense. At that point, they erased any doubt that this virtually would be an all-passing attack from them. Braden Lenzy had most receptions from Jack Coan, but the touchdown would go to Michael Mayer from 16 yards out.

Frustration then took over the game as both teams took turns getting into field-goal range only to have their kickers miss wide right. The Cowboys had some chances for big gains, but passes from Spencer Sanders were either dropped or broken up. No doubt the scoreboard operator at State Farm Stadium was getting a little antsy from not being able to add to the scores.

The Irish had one more chance to get something before halftime. The drive started well enough with a couple of first downs before they were aided by a questionable roughing-the-passer call. A few plays later, a 20-yard completion to Kevin Austin set up first-and-goal. It then took only two plays for Coan to hit Mayer in the end zone from 7 yards out for his second touchdown of the quarter.

The Cowboys also had an opportunity to get points on the board before heading into the locker room. Sanders found Brennan Presley on back-to-back plays for a combined 54 yards before running 12 yards himself to make it first-and-goal. He then hit top receiver Tay Martin for a 9-yard touchdown. The drive had lasted all of 39 seconds.

Every time it seems like the Irish are leaving the Cowboys dead in the water, the Cowboys receive new life. The question now is whether the Irish successfully can go for the kill. Tune into the second half to find out.