NASHVILLE—After losing four-straight games to close the regular season, Notre Dame wrapped its 2014 campaign with a victory over LSU in the Music City Bowl thanks to clutch plays from the quarterback rotation of Everett Golson and Malik Zaire as well as a winning field goal from Kyle Brindza.Closing out games was an issue for the Irish this year, so it had to be particularly satisfying for both Golson, who did not start the game and shared snaps with Zaire, and Brindza, who only made 3-of-9 field goal attempts in his final five games, to play such key roles in Notre Dame’s first win since Nov. 1.Story of the game: While Notre Dame opted to address its quarterback instability with a rotation of Golson and Zaire, LSU stuck with starting quarterback Anthony Jennings. Nevertheless, both teams relied heavily on their ground game for success on offense. That wasn’t a big surprise from LSU — leaning on Leonard Fournette, who was superb with a heavy workload, scoring another touchdown on a kickoff return — but it was a shock to see the Fighting Irish offensive line put together arguably its best performance of the season against one of the SEC’s top ranked defenses. Notre Dame totaled 263 team rushing yards at 5.2 yards per carry, with Zaire and Tarean Folston doing most of the work and C.J. Prosise adding a 50-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 28.
Controversy of the game: Just before halftime, LSU called a fake field goal on 4th and Goal that appeared, according to the replay on television, to be a touchdown. The officials ruled holder Brad Kragthrope down at the one-yard line after a lengthy review, giving the ball to Notre Dame. In a close game decided by just three points, LSU’s missed opportunity (for a field goal or the touchdown many LSU fans believe they deserved) will linger in the minds of many.