The No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish used a defense-led fourth quarter to take down No. 18 Wisconsin 41-13 Saturday afternoon at Soldier Field.
With the win, Brian Kelly surpassed Knute Rockne for most wins all-time in Notre Dame history with 106.
“I can tell you exactly where I sit in Notre Dame history, the coach that won more games that hasn’t won a national championship,” Kelly said Monday ahead of the game against Wisconsin. “Where I feel like we’ve done is we’ve played consistent football and we brought Notre Dame football back to its relevance of competing for championships. Each year you raise the bar and you continue to build towards that goal of winning a national championship and I think we have steadily worked towards that consistency, year in and year out.”
Wisconsin hit a field goal on its first possession, and the Irish defense forced a three-and-out and then came up with a big fourth-down stop for a turnover on downs in the first quarter. The Irish offense capitalized by scoring its first points of the day on the next possession, and Notre Dame took a 10-3 lead heading into the half.
Wisconsin managed to tie the game on its second drive of the third quarter, driving 56 yards on four plays to make the score 10-10.
Notre Dame QB Jack Coan was injured midway through the third quarter and Drew Pyne stepped in. The sophomore led the Irish into Wisconsin territory on his first drive but it stalled and the Irish had to punt.
Pyne was strip-sacked on Notre Dame’s next possession and the Wisconsin defense recovered on the Irish 39-yard line, and the Irish managed to hold the Badgers to a field goal — Wisconsin took a 13-10 lead as the fourth quarter began.
Notre Dame had answers, though, as sophomore running back Chris Tyree took the next kickoff 96 yards to the house for his first kick return touchdown of his Notre Dame career to go back on top at 17-13.
The Irish scored 31 points in the fourth quarter and returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
Some sports betters may not have been happy with the “meaningless” pick-six late in the fourth, as it pushed the game from an under to an over.
The Irish return home to Notre Dame Stadium for another ranked showdown, as they take on No. 8 Cincinnati at 2:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 2.