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Notre Dame sacks No. 1 Clemson 47-40 in 2 overtimes, moves to No. 2 in latest poll

The Irish scored in the final minute to tie the game and beat a top-ranked team for the first time under Brian Kelly.
Credit: AP
Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book looks for a receiver during the first quarter against Clemson in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in South Bend, Ind. (Matt Cashore/Pool Photo via AP)

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — Kyren Williams ran for a 3-yard touchdown in the second overtime as No. 4 Notre Dame shut down top-ranked Clemson with a pair of sacks to seal a 47-40 victory Saturday night at Notre Dame Stadium.

It marked the Fighting Irish’s first victory over a No. 1 team in 27 years, and the first under head coach Brian Kelly.

Notre Dame advanced to No. 2 in Sunday's AP poll, behind new No. 1 Alabama.

Clemson had won 36 straight regular-season games and had not lost to an Atlantic Coast Conference team since 2017. The Irish, playing in the ACC for this season only because of the pandemic, snapped both streaks and sparked fans to storm the field in a celebration that most definitely did not meet the CDC’s social-distancing guidelines. 

Credit: AP
Fans storm the field after Notre Dame defeated the Clemson 47-40 in two overtimes in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in South Bend, Ind. (Matt Cashore/Pool Photo via AP)

Clemson played without its regular starting quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, who is still in the ACC's COVID-19 protocol after testing positive before last week's win over Boston College. That didn't seem to matter much as freshman fill-in D.J. Uiagalelei threw for 427 yards and two touchdowns against the Irish defense.

Notre Dame took a 7-0 lead on Williams' 65 yard run on the game's second play and led Clemson through most of the third quarter.

Notre Dame converted a pair of Clemson fumbles in the second quarter into ten points to take a 23-10 lead into halftime.

Uiagalele settled in during the third quarter and the Tigers offense controlled the ball on two long drives, coming back to tie the game at 23 and again at 26. Then Clemson running back Travis Etienne, whose second quarter fumble of a pitchout was returned for a touchdown by Notre Dame's Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, atoned by scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 3:33 to go to give Clemson its first lead at 33-26.

Credit: AP
Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei looks for a receiver during the first quarter against Notre Dame in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in South Bend, Ind. (Matt Cashore/Pool Photo via AP)

After failing to answer the score on its next four offensive plays, Notre Dame's defense was able to get the ball back with just under 2 minutes to go in the game.

Senior quarterback Ian Book then directed Notre Dame on a 91-yard drive to tie the game with 22 seconds left on a pass to Avery Davis and send it to overtime.

Williams scored to help Notre Dame answer Clemson's go-ahead score as the first overtime ended tied at 40. His third score of the night gave Notre Dame a 47-40 lead and set the stage for the defensive stand that closed out the win.