Saturday, October 21, 2006

Irish Miracle Ruins Bruin Upset Bid 20-17

When John Paul II lowered the number of miracles required to become a Saint to two, he probably didn't have Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis in mind. But only seven games into his sophomore season, Weis already has two miracles under his belt, including today's stunning come-from-behind 20-17 triumph over UCLA's Bruising Bruins.

Of course, the Fighting Irish faithful are much tougher than the Pope when declaring saints, requiring at least a National Championship before awarding that honor. But tonight Coach Weis must at least be considered venerable thanks in large part to the play of his beloved disciple and Heisman candidate, QB Brady Quinn.

With 1:02 left, no timeouts and 80 yards to go for the win, Weis turned to Quinn and asked "Do you have one left in you kid?"

"I always got one in me, Coach," Brady (27-45, 304 yds, 2TDs) prophetically responded, capping an incredible 3-play drive with a double pump, 45-yard scoring pass to "Jumping Jeff" Samardzija (8-118, 2TDs) who dodged several defenders and almost went down twice before finding paydirt.

The 9th ranked Bruin defense certainly lived up to its billing, sacking Quinn 5 times for 33 yards, and had Brady on his back all day. The UCLANs also held birthday boy Darius Walker to 53 yards on 21 carries as the Irish netted a pathetic 41 rushing yards on 35 attempts.

And yet, improbably, incredibly, Walker would still celebrate his 21st in style, because Weis, a stout Notre Dame defense (which recorded 3 sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery of its own), and the Lady on the Dome refused to give up, and gave Brady Quinn and Company one more chance for the win.

"Another unbelievable comeback!" exclaimed NBC announcer and former USC QB Pat Hayden.

"With the Irish, maybe not so unbelievable," his sidekick Tom Hammond replied.

"Yeah, maybe not," said Hayden who, perhaps after all these years as an Irish opponent and critic, was becoming a believer himself.

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