Brian Kelly put his stones on the table during the closing moments of LSU’s win against Alabama on Saturday. Rather than kicking an extra point to send the game to double overtime, he went for 2.
And it worked.
With the ball at the 3-yard-line, quarterback Jayden Daniels took the snap and immediately looked to his right. There, he three pass-catchers split out wide. Two receivers pushed the coverage back into the end zone, while Mason Taylor found in space near the pylon with only one man to beat.
Daniels connected with his tight end, who reached across the goal line for the game winning touchdown. The gutsy play call worked to perfection and led to an epic scene in Death Valley as the Bayou Bengals fans stormed onto the field.
Here is the game-winning 2-point conversion:
If that play design looks familiar, you’re not crazy. Kelly used it before, as pointed out by Sport Illustrated and SEC Network’s Richard Johnson.
Brian Kelly used the same play from a loss in 2014 to beat Alabama in 2022.
In 2014, No. 5 Notre Dame traveled to Tallahassee for a game against No. 2 Florida State. The Irish were down by four with less than 20 seconds remaining on 4th-and-goal.
A field goal was not an option and Kelly’s offense needed just 2.5 yards to (likely) win. He called the same play that he ran to beat Alabama on Saturday night and it was successful.
However, the ACC officiating crew called Notre Dame for offensive pass interference. One of the two split-out receivers that were used as decoys was flagged for a pick play. The Irish went on to lose.
This time around, eight years later, Kelly tried again. He knew that the SEC officiating crew was not going to throw the same OPI flag that was thrown in 2014 and he was right.