(WSCR) – Notre Dame had remained ahead against Tulsa throughout most of the game. A field goal in the fourth quarter set Notre Dame behind, but it wasn’t over yet. The Irish was on their final drive for the win when an interception in the end zone with 36 seconds left put a stop to their drive.
By RICK GANO
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) John Flanders intercepted a pass in the end zone with 36 seconds left, stopping Notre Dame’s final drive Saturday as Tulsa pulled off one of the biggest wins in school history, stunning the Irish 28-27.
G.J. Kinne hit a 31-yard pass to Ricky Johnson on a third-and-26 and also connected on a 32-yarder to Genesis Cole to set up Kevin Fitzpatrick’s 27-yard field goal with 3:23 left, putting the Golden Hurricane up 28-27.
Notre Dame drove down the field behind backup quarterback Tommy Rees, who entered the game in the first quarter when starter Dayne Crist left with a knee injury. Reese hit a 26-yard pass to Michael Floyd that carried to the Tulsa 32 as the Irish (4-5) tried to get in position for a field goal.
But on a second-and-8 from the Tulsa 19, Rees lofted a pass toward the corner of the end zone and Flanders picked it off. After the Golden Hurricane (5-3) ran out the clock, their players raced to the end zone to celebrate with their band.
Rees threw four TD passes but was also picked off three times.
Notre Dame was playing just three days after the death of Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old student videographer who was filming the team’s practice Wednesday when the lift he was in fell over on a windy day. Both teams wore shamrock decals with the letters DS on their helmets in Sullivan’s memory.
Crist was hurt in the first quarter when he was hit out of bounds after a 29-yard run and watched the second half on crutches from the sidelines.
Cierre Wood, filling in for injured leading rusher Armando Allen (hip), scored two touchdowns for Notre Dame, one on a lateral from TJ Jones after a pass.
Tulsa used its speed and quickness to stay close in the flag-filled game, scoring on a 66-yard interception return right before the half by Shawn Jackson and a 59-yard punt return by Damaris Johnson in the third. The Golden Hurricane also overcame 12 penalties.
Updated October 30, 2010