Just when you think you have seen it all in college football, Texas and Notre Dame served up an extra batch of crazy for you on this wildly entertaining opening weekend for college football. Down by four, Texas running back D'Onta Foreman rumbled for a 19-yard touchdown to cause the stadium to erupt. The excitement of taking a lead on No. 10 Notre Dame quickly turned to shock as the Irish blocked the extra point attempt and returned the loose ball the length of the field for a game-tying two-point conversion. That would set the pace for an overtime thriller in Austin, which would be won by the underdog Texas Longhorns in double overtime, 50-47. Tyrone Swoopes scored the game-winning touchdown with his second touchdown run of the overtime, and Shane Buechele took care of business through the air for the Longhorns in the win.
Notre Dame and Texas each struck quickly with their first overtime possessions, scoring touchdowns. Tyrone Swoopes took care of the Texas touchdown when he came in for some power running duties. It took Notre Dame just one play for DeShone Kizer to connect with C.J. Sanders to match the Longhorns. Some nifty moves by Sanders helped pick up the score, but it was that kind of productive and efficient night for Kizer, who passed for five touchdowns and rushed for another. Kizer passed for 215 yards and rushed for a team-high 77 yards. Kizer and the Irish were unable to keep the touchdowns coming in the second overtime and had to settle for a go-ahead field goal with the first possession. That gave Texas one more chance to grab the lead, this time for good.
Despite an impressive night from quarterback Buechele, it was Swoopes who would once again prove to be the hero when he took a run up the middle of Notre Dame’s defense and stretched for the six-yard score for the win. It was Swoopes’ second touchdown run of the overtime and third of the game. Swoopes as a running option should be fun to watch for Texas this season. So too will watching Buechele develop passing the ball. Both played well in their different roles, and it worked to perfection for Texas.
A few things we learned from this game…
DeShone Kizer should be Notre Dame’s quarterback. While Brian Kelly was giving each quarterback (including Malik Zaire) a series on an alternating basis, he eventually came to grips with the fact Kizer should be leading his offense. Kizer finsihed his night with 215 passing yards to Zaire’s 23 passing yards. If the decision should be based solely on one game, Kizer was the runaway winner for the Irish, and a big reason why Notre Dame dug out of a 17-point deficit in the second half. The only question remains whether or not Kelly will give each a shot to play again next week using a similar structure or if he was just going off of the feel of the game. Things were better for Notre Dame with Kizer at the helm, and Notre Dame’s chances to do anything special this season should fall on his shoulders moving forward.
Speaking of quarterback competitions…
Leading up to the start of the season there was some suspicion Buechele was trailing Swoopes in the quarterback competition. Did he just find a way to hit fifth gear once the lights were shining, or was that merely some gamesmanship from Texas? Whatever it was, Buechele has set the bar high, and it finally looks as though Charlie Strong found his quarterback in Austin. Or maybe Strong can have the best of both worlds with a guy who can sling it when needed and another who can bring a power ground attack under center. That can be pretty dangerous as well.
And that’s not all for Texas. Despite giving up 37 points on the night, there was a renewed energy from Texas that had long been missing and very seldom seen since Strong’s hiring. Texas is going to be a problem in the Big 12. They have improved, but they need to show this was not a one game deal. It took a little longer than many Texas fans had expected, but the Longhorns may have finally turned a corner as Strong’s plan comes together.
Texas will look to go 2-0 next week with another home game. The Longhorns will host UTEP from Conference USA. The Miners picked up a season-opening victory at home against New Mexico State. UTEP quarterback Zack Greenlee tossed three touchdowns in the38-22 win.
Notre Dame gets to open their home schedule next week in South Bend as they look to bounce back from a tough, hard-fought road loss. The Irish will play host to Nevada (1-0) from the Mountain West Conference. The Wolfpack are coming off a nail-biter of a win against FCS Cal Poly (30-27). Judging by the first weekend, Notre Dame should be in a pretty comfortable spot next week in Notre Dame Stadium (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).