And then came the moment, perhaps the quintessential moment of Notre Dame’s season to date.
Pitt kicker Kevin Harper lined up for what would have been a game-winning 33-yard field goal in that second OT, with the stadium still somewhat stunned over the play where Wood simply lost the ball.
A veritable chip-shot.
Make the kick, Pitt wins.
Along the Notre Dame sideline, barely any of the offensive players could look at the scene.
Snap was high, but got down. Harper struck the ball, which went end-over-end toward his target.
“It was so close,” offensive lineman Zack Martin said. “We heard their crowd up in the corner cheer, so we thought it was done.”
The Pitt crowd’s cheer was quickly drowned out, of course. The kick went past the right upright, a foot or two away from being enough to give Pitt the win. Harper missed, and that was just one of two breaks Notre Dame caught on that play. The other was that Bennett Jackson and Chris Brown — players who both wear No. 2 for Notre Dame — were on the field at the same time, meaning the Irish should have been penalized.
The infraction wasn’t noticed by the officials.
“A coaching mistake,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said.
Neither seemed to have an effect on the play ... but still, there’s that luck factor again.
“A lot of people say we were lucky,” Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert said. “But we missed a field goal, too, or we would never have been in overtime, and we also fumbled on the 1-yard line and threw an interception inside the 10. I think that was unlucky, if anything. And we showed a lot of heart in that game.”
Perhaps no one showed more than Golson, who made a series of big plays in the fourth quarter, one that began with Notre Dame trailing 20-6.