Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin: Fourth-Quarter Analysis

·2 min read

It didn’t always look easy. In fact, it looked downright scary a lot of the time. However, you never can argue with what the scoreboard says when you’re ahead and the clock hits zero. That’s Notre Dame after its 41-13 win over Wisconsin in its Shamrock Series game at Soldier Field. As an added bonus, it allowed Brian Kelly to surpass Knute Rockne as the winningest coach in program history with 106 victories and get a pair of Gatorade baths for the accomplishment.

The fourth quarter began with the Badgers (1-2) threatening to reach the end zone, but the defense that could become more valuable for the Irish (4-0) as the season goes on was able to hold them to a 27-yard field goal from Collin Larsh. That 13-10 Badgers lead lasted all of one play as Chris Tyree returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. It was the first time the Irish had scored on a kick return since 2016. Suddenly, the Badgers fans who were dancing to “Jump Around” a few minutes earlier weren’t feeling so hot.

The Badgers faced a third down on their next drive. The play that followed resulted in Jayson Ademilola forcing a Graham Mertz fumble on a sack and Isaiah Foskey recovering it. With Jack Coan still on the bench, Drew Pyne completed a 22-yard pass to Michael Mayer to set up the Irish in the red zone. Two plays later, Pyne hit Kevin Austin for a 16-yard touchdown that only could be described as a backbreaker. It was Austin’s second touchdown of the game.

Desperately needing a score, the Badgers advanced to the Irish’s 34-yard line. When the drive stalled out there, Larsh attempted a 52-yard field goal that sailed left. Hope remained alive for the Badgers after the Irish went three-and-out, but Cam Hart quickly picked off Mertz for his second interception of the game. The offense didn’t get far, not that it really needed to at that point, but Jonathan Doerer kicked a 37-yard field goal anyway.

Even with the outcome decided, the Irish’s defense decided it wasn’t done scoring. Jack Kiser came out of nowhere and returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown. That somehow still wasn’t enough for the unit to make its statement. Drew White returned his own interception to the end zone from 45 yards out.

The Irish stomped on the Badgers, then stomped on them again. That’s quite the good feeling, isn’t it? What dominance at the end.