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Fighting Irish gives the Owls their first loss of the season

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Philadelphia – DeShone Kizer has come up big with Notre Dame needed him the most. That was no different in this game, as he threw a game-winning touchdown pass to seal the victory.

Kizer’s heroics helped the Fighting Irish hold onto a 24-20 win over the Temple Owls in front of 69,280 people.

“No excuses,” third-year coach Matt Rhule said, who lost to ND 28-6 in his Temple coaching debut. “Our kids keep answering the bell. That was the question all week. We’re not here to lose. We’re going to fight, scratch and claw to make sure we don’t lose any more.

“I expected us to win. I’m disappointed we didn’t. This hurts. I think we proved we’re a really good football team, one of the better teams in the country.”

The Philadelphia team was doubted, but put up a big fight until their hopes were dashed with 1:08 in the fourth quarter. Junior quarterback P.J. Walker threw an interception to end the game, which was initially thought to end the game.

However, after Notre Dame rushed the ball several times to burn the Owls timeouts, it came down to a fourth down with several seconds left. Instead of punting the ball, Irish head coach Brian Kelly sent out Kizer and the offense, who then ran out the clock, before throwing the ball into the air.

The loss is the first of the Owls season, and it dropped them to 7-1 on the season. Notre Dame improved to 7-1 as well.

“I told them before the game, this better not be the high point of our season,” Rhule added. “We have to finish it now. We just got to keep playing, keep doing what we’re doing. Everything we want to get done is in front of us.

“This was a great opportunity. We better get over it pretty quickly. We’ve got to go win a conference game on the road (against 1-6 Southern Methodist on Friday night). You say what’s next when you’re winning. You’ve got to say what’s next when you lose. I hope we attack everything moving forward, get ready to do it again.”

The Fighting Irish went up 24-20 when Kizer hit Will Fuller for the game-winning 17-yard touchdown.

On the Owls following drive, kicker Austin Jones connected on a 36-yard field goal to give Temple a 20-17 lead.

On a critical 4th-and-1 play following a timeout, Jahad Thomas got past two Notre Dame defenders on a sweep play and took it into the end zone for a touchdown. Following the extra point, the two teams are tied at 17.

Justin Yoon had a 23-yard field goal for the Fighting Irish in the third quarter that put Notre Dame up 17-10.

Kizer broke loose for a 79-yard touchdown to put the Fighting Irish up 14-10. His rush was the most rushing yards that the Owls have given up all season.

The Owls went up 10-7 when Walker hit wide receiver Brandon Shippen for a 12-yard touchdown.

They cut the lead to 7-3 when Jones made a 41-yard kick. This kick was a career-long for him.

Kizer also scored the Irish’s other touchdown when he scored on a 4-yard run.

While Kizer has had the two touchdown, he’s also had two key mistakes. He had two interceptions – caught by Owls defensive players Prince Martin-Oguike and Tyler Matakevich – in between the Owls 30-yard line.

“It’s just frustrating, to know we came up one play short,” Matakevich, senior linebacker, stated. “We’ll look back and see things we could have done different. We had them. It was on us. It’s tough to swallow. (But) that game had no effect on our goals . . .

“Everyone just doubted us. But you could see everything we want to be . . . We belong.”

These interceptions basically saved Temple in the first half as Notre Dame was looking to score on each drive that ended in an interception.

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