Notre Dame melted down during the stretch run of the 2014 season, turning a 6-0 start into a 7-5 finish. There were some ugly losses along the way, too. There was the 55-31 loss to Arizona State – where the Fighting Irish got blown out early, clawed back to make it close and then got blown out again – the overtime loss to middling Northwestern and then the 49-14 clobbering in the finale against USC.
Not coincidentally, the Irish’s struggles coincided with the struggles of quarterback Everett Golson. He threw nine interceptions in Notre Dame’s six losses, including a five-turnover nightmare against Arizona State, and closed the year by completing 7-of-18 passes for 75 yards with an interception while being credited with three rushes for minus-14 yards. That’s 21 plays for 61 yards. Sophomore back-up Malik Zaire made his season debut against USC, hitting 9-0f-20 passes for 170 yards with six rushes for 18 yards and a touchdown.
On Monday, head coach Brian Kelly said both quarterbacks will again play in the Music City Bowl against LSU.
“I think both of them can help us win,” Kelly said. “I’m going to play them both because I think both of them have different traits and we need to find a way to win the game, and I think both of them can help us win.”
CFT’s own JJ Stankevitz said it won’t be a Steve Spurrier-style every-other-snap or every-other-drive rotation, instead playing the signal callers based on what the situation requires.
Notre Dame and LSU will face off on Dec. 30 at 3 p.m. ET (ESPN).