Former metro Detroit prep stars Hayes, Ogundeji play pivotal roles in Irish upset over Clemson
Daelin Hayes and Ade Ogundeji — a pair of former metro Detroit area high school stars — played a huge role in helping No. 4 Notre Dame defeat No. 1 Clemson 47-40 in double-overtime Saturday night, ending the Tigers’ 36-game regular-season winning streak.
After Notre Dame scored to start the second OT, Ogundeji (Walled Lake Central) had a first down sack, followed by a second-down sack by Hayes (Ann Arbor Skyline) to set up a third-and-long, which was an incomplete pass.
The Irish followed with a fourth-down stop to end the game, leading to hundreds of Notre Dame students jumping down on to the field to start a wild celebration in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Two Detroit guys, huh,” said Hayes of the Irish defensive ends when contacted by The News Sunday afternoon. “We knew after our offense scored that we would have to go out and get a stop and the quickest way to end the game is to get a sack so that’s what we went out and did.
“On the first play, they tried to run a funnel screen so I kind of failed on my rush, flared out to the screen and made him (Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei) double-clutch it. He didn’t have a second read and Ade got the sack. Then, on second-and-19 just went out got a one on the guard and burst through for a sack.
“Then, on third-and-29, we forced an incompletion and they threw up a prayer on fourth down and we got the win.”
No doubt, it will come down to one of the biggest wins at Notre Dame Stadium with Clemson owning the nation’s best 69-5 record over the past five years, including national titles in 2016 and ’18 and then going 7-0 before the loss to the Irish.
It was Brian Kelly’s first win over a top-5 opponent in 11 years as Notre Dame coach.
Clemson played without Heisman front-runner Trevor Lawrence at quarterback, but 6-foot-4, 250-pound true freshman Uiagalelei played well (29-of-44, 439 yards, 2 TDs, no interceptions) before the final drive.
Things looked gloomy for the Irish after the officials picked up a flag after originally calling pass interference on a late fourth-quarter drive with Clemson holding a 33-26 lead.
Still, Notre Dame’s defense forced a three-and-out and the Irish had the ball back with 1:41 left and quarterback Ian Book (22-of-39, 310 yards, TD) led a 91-yard drive to force overtime, finishing the eight-play series with a 4-yard scoring toss to Avery Davis.
“We knew we had to have their back, got a stop, got them the ball back and they went out and handled business,” Hayes said. “Book is a winner.
“I think this speaks to our program and our brotherhood and willingness to fight for each other and persevere regardless of the circumstance, it’s about our heart. We bust our butts day in and day out and at the end of the day those moments come down to guts and your willingness to fight for your brother.”
Notre Dame joined the ACC for the 2020 season with COVID destroying its schedule as an independent. The Irish could well face Clemson in the ACC championship game next month.