LSU used three big plays to take a 28-21 lead in the third quarter, but couldn’t hold on as Notre Dame came back for a 31-28 victory over the Tigers on Tuesday in the Music City Bowl.
Freshman running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver John Diarse combined for three record-setting touchdowns to give 23rd-ranked LSU (8-5) a seven-point lead midway through the third quarter before Notre Dame rallied.
After scoring a touchdown to tie the game, Notre Dame (8-5) mounted a 14-play drive that got the Fighting Irish deep in LSU territory with 4 seconds remaining in the thrilling game.
Kyle Brindza booted a 32-yard field goal as time expired to secure the victory for Notre Dame, which snapped a four-game losing streak to end the regular season.
The kick helped Notre Dame overcome the big scoring plays by LSU.
Fournette returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown that tied the game at 14-all in the second quarter and then broke loose for an 89-yard scoring run in the third quarter.
The plays were the longest in Music City Bowl history for a kickoff return and run from scrimmage. They were sandwiched around a 75-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Jennings to Diarse in the third quarter, which was the longest scoring pass in the 17-year history of the Nashville, Tennessee, bowl.
Fournette’s long touchdown run and Diarse’s scoring catch form Jennings came on LSU’s first two offensive snaps of the third quarter after the Tigers were denied a touchdown on a fake field-goal attempt late in the first half.
Holder Brad Kragthorpe appeared to have nudged the ball over the goal line on the fake after kicker Trent Domingue was sent in for a short attempt.
Officials ruled Kragthorpe down just short of the goal line, however, and upheld the ruling on the field after reviewing the play, allowing Notre Dame to take a 21-14 lead to the locker room.
*What you need to know
--LSU, which played in a bowl game for the 15th consecutive season, is now 23-22-1 all-time; Notre Dame is 17-18 in the postseason.
--The 100-yard kickoff return by Leonard Fournette in the second period was the longest for LSU since Eric Martin took one back 100 yards against Kentucky in 1981.
--Fournette set an LSU record for rushing yards by a freshman when he broke off his 89-yard scoring run in the third quarter. He finished with 1,048 yards for the season to break the old mark of 1,001 by Justin Vincent in 2003.
--LSU went to an up-tempo offense, which the Tigers seldom do, to score its first touchdown of the game in the opening quarter. Fournette got the TD on an 8-yard run to tie the game after Notre Dame scored on its opening possession.
--On that first drive, wide receiver Travin Dural had a 24-yard run on a “Fumble-rooskie” play, one of two trick plays tried by coach Les Miles.