Texas beat Notre Dame, 50-47, on Sunday in what became the premier game of this young college football season.
The Longhorns managed to stop the Fighting Irish offense on the opening possession of the game's second overtime. Irish kicker Justin Yoon knocked through a 39-yard field goal to set up Texas with a win-tie-or-lose answering possession and quarterback/power runner Tyrone Swoopes ran for a game-winning touchdown on the counter-attack.
The game reached overtime because, after Texas took a two-point lead on a touchdown run, Notre Dame blocked the extra point attempt and ran it back for two game-tying points. It was preposterous. The teams swapped touchdowns in the first overtime, with Swoopes scoring for Texas and C.J. Sanders for Notre Dame.
Overall, this was an awesome game. There's no real doubt it was the best one of this opening week of the season. We were all witnesses, and it was a blast.
Texas true freshman quarterback Shane Buechele, making the first appearance of his career, dazzled. Notre Dame's Equanimeous Tristan Imhotep J. St. Brown scored a brilliant touchdown to match his brilliant name. The game shifted back and forth a lot, and Notre Dame mounted an impressive charge after trailing 31-14 at one point in the third quarter. The Irish grabbed their first second-half lead on a gorgeous throw from DeShone Kizer to Josh Adams with 11 minutes to play, giving way to a tense finish that included the PAT-returning shenanigans.
The only thing that wasn't cool here was the awful-looking hit Texas safety DeShon Elliott put on Notre Dame receiver Torii Hunter Jr., where Elliott clearly contacted Hunter's head and knocked him out of the game with brutal force. Elliott wasn't penalized for targeting (or anything else) on the play, even though that's something officials can now determine via video review. The sequence came amid Notre Dame's comeback.
It's hard to overstate how important this is for Texas.
Let's just quote oft-maligned Longhorns coach Charlie Strong, talking about how he builds momentum at a program that's struggled a lot in his first two seasons:
Strong isn't wrong. The tides can change quickly in this sport, and Texas looks like it has just changed in a big way.