No. 4 Notre Dame outlasted Clemson for a 47-40 win in double overtime at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday night.
The Tigers fought back from an early deficit despite mistakes, turnovers and a defense riddled with injuries. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence also could not play in South Bend because of COVID-19 protocols.
But, backup D.J. Uiagalelei stepped up in his absence and delivered an electric performance against the highly touted Irish.
Uiagalelei finished the game 29-of-44 passing for 439 yards and two touchdowns. He added another touchdown on the ground that gave Clemson an advantage in overtime.
The performance proved one of the best by a quarterback in the history of top-five games, in just the second start by the true freshman.
Uiagalelei threw for the most ever yards against a Notre Dame team when he surpassed Southern California quarterback Carson Palmer’s 425 yards in 2002. He also threw for the most yards by a Clemson quarterback against a top five team. And it proved the third best performance in a game by any Tiger quarterback.
The California native showed grit and put the Tigers in position to win the game in regulation when he mounted a 12 play 74-yard drive in 5:41 to give Clemson a 33-26 lead with 3:33 to play in the contest.
He also gave the Tigers a lead in overtime with a 24-yard pass to Cornell Powell that set up a one yard touchdown run to give them a 40-33 lead in the first overtime period.
But in the end, the losses on the Clemson defense and a pair of costly turnovers resulted in a spectacular win for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame stopped the Tigers in the second overtime period to secure the win with two big sacks and a fourth down stop.
The two teams could meet again in the ACC Championship Game in December but there is a lot of football left to be played.
Clemson has an open date next Saturday before it travels to Tallahassee, Fl. To take on Florida State.