Saturday's Top 25 football: No. 8 Notre Dame survives Toledo after wild fourth quarter
South Bend, Ind. — Jack Coan has played in only two games for No. 8 Notre Dame, yet he already has a place in Fighting Irish lore by leading them to a come-from-behind 32-29 victory over Toledo on Saturday despite dislocating a finger.
The grad transfer from Wisconsin, after having the finger on his throwing hand popped back into place by a trainer, hit Michael Mayer with the game-winning 18-yard touchdown pass with 1:09 remaining for the third lead change in a wild fourth quarter. The comeback by Brian Kelly’s Irish (2-0) preserved Notre Dame’s home winning streak at 25 games.
“I thought Jack was poised in the pocket and decisive with his throws,” Kelly said. “During a break (at 1:13), our assistant trainer Mike Bean went out there and performed a pull-the-finger thing. He got it back in place. Jack stepped up and felt he could keep going. On that last drive he was outstanding.”
Coan, who threw for 366 yards and four touchdowns in Notre Dame’s season-opening 41-38 overtime victory at Florida State last Sunday, shared playing time with true freshman Tyler Buchner. Coan finished with 239 yards and two touchdowns but was sacked six times, threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and fumbled the ball on another possession.
“Hats off to Toledo — Jason and his staff did a terrific job,” Kelly said of Jason Candle, coach of the Rockets (1-1). “From our perspective, we’re happy with the win, but I can’t even begin with the work we have to do to get better.”
Coan’s second TD pass to Mayer came after Toledo freshman QB Dequan Finn scooted 26 yards on a bootleg run to put Toledo ahead 29-24 with 1:35 remaining. Finn split playing time with sophomore Carter Bradley, who threw for 213 yards.
The winning drive took just 26 seconds to go 75 yards on three plays and was aided by two Toledo penalties. Buchner rushed for 68 yards on seven carries and was 3-for-3 passing for 78 yards, including a 55-yard TD pass to Chris Tyree that gave the Irish a 24-16 lead with 10:57 to play.
Toledo answered with an 8-yard TD run by Bryant Koback (21 carries for 122 yards) with 7:48 left to pull the Rockets to within two. Then, after Kyren Williams fumbled for Notre Dame, the Rockets went 73 yards to the end zone, with Finn putting his team ahead. The Irish outgained the Rockets 449-353.
“I’m proud of the fight in that locker room,” Candle said. “By tomorrow, I’ll probably have watched this tape a thousand times. We’ll move forward.”
The Irish were their own worst enemy in the first half. The Rockets went to the locker room up 16-14 after Chris McDonald intercepted Coan’s pass intended for Mayer and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown with 46 seconds remaining. Toledo’s other points in the half came on three field goals by Thomas Cluckey.
More Top 25
► No. 5 Texas A&M 10, (at) Colorado 7: Sophomore backup quarterback Zach Calzada threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Spiller with 2:41 remaining and Texas A&M edged Colorado.
Spiller’s TD gave the Aggies (2-0) their first lead in a game in which they lost freshman QB Haynes King to a lower right leg injury and eight of their first nine drives were three-and-outs.
Colorado’s hopes of an upset over the 17-point favorite Aggies ended when Brendon Lewis’ pass to Dimitri Stanley on fourth-and-13 from his 22 covered just 12 yards.
The Aggies (2-0), whose 10-game winning streak is second-longest in the nation to Alabama, ran out the clock on the Buffs (1-1), who managed just one first down after taking a 7-3 halftime lead.
The Buffs lost their best rusher, Jarek Broussard, to an unspecified injury midway through the third quarter.
► Stanford 42, (at) No. 14 USC 28: Tanner McKee passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another score in his first collegiate start, and Stanford rebounded from a season-opening loss by knocking off USC.
Nathaniel Peat had an 87-yard touchdown run while racking up a career-high 115 yards, and Kyu Blu Kelly returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown in a surprising rout for the Cardinal (1-1, 1-0 Pac-12).
McKee went 16 of 23 for 234 yards while seizing his chance to start after outplaying Jack West in the opener. McKee hit Elijah Higgins and Brycen Tremayne for TDs as Stanford rolled to a 29-point lead in the fourth quarter of its ninth victory over USC in the California rivals’ last 14 meetings.
Kedon Slovis passed for 223 yards, and Keaontay Ingram and Darwin Barlow rushed for TDs as the Trojans’ (1-1, 0-1) nine-game regular season winning streak ended with a thud.
► (At) Arkansas 40, No. 15 Texas 21: Arkansas piled up 333 rushing yards and got touchdowns from four players on the ground while its defense stuffed Texas.
Dominique Johnson scored from 5 yards in the second quarter, Trelon Smith from 1, and Raheim Sanders from 26 in the third and AJ Green from 30 in the fourth as the Razorbacks (2-0) racked up its most rushing yards since 2016, their last winning season.
Texas (1-1) trailed 16-0 at the half, but a touchdown after an interception in Arkansas territory on the Razorbacks’ first drive of the third quarter provided a temporary burst.
The Longhorns’ 256 yards of total offense are its lowest since 2015.
Texas quarterback Hudson Card was replaced by Casey Thompson on the final drive of the third quarter. Thompson led the Longhorns on two touchdown drives, both on his own rushes. Arkansas followed with Green’s touchdown. Thompson finished 5 of 8 for 57 yards and added 44 on the ground on seven carries.
Arkansas freshman kicker Cam Little went 4-for-4 on field goals of 24, 24, 44 and 22 yards.
► (At) BYU 26, No. 21 Utah 17: Jaren Hall threw three touchdown passes and totaled 241 yards of offense, helping BYU topple Utah.
Tyler Allgeier added 97 yards on 27 carries as the Cougars snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Utes. It was BYU’s first victory over their rivals since 2009.
BYU ran for 219 yards, becoming the first team to gain at least 200 rushing yards against Utah since Texas also rushed for 231 yards in the 2019 Alamo Bowl.
Micah Bernard ran for 146 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries to lead Utah. Charlie Brewer threw for 147 yards and a touchdown for the Utes, who trailed the entire game.
► (At) No. 22 Miami 25, Appalachian State 23: D’Eriq King threw for 200 yards and rushed for 67 more, freshman Andy Borregales kicked a go-ahead 43-yard field goal with 2:04 remaining and Miami rallied from a halftime deficit.
Cam’Ron Harris rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown for Miami (1-1), and Don Chaney Jr. had a rushing score before leaving in the first half with a leg injury. King led a 10-play, 55-yard drive in the fourth that set up Borregales for what became the winning points.
Jalen Virgil had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and Camerun Peoples had 95 rushing yards and a score for the Mountaineers (1-1), who took a 23-22 lead with 5:48 left when Malik Williams caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Chase Brice.
But Appalachian State’s last chance stalled near midfield, and Miami got the ball back with 55 seconds left and ran out the clock.
Brice completed 21 of 34 passes for 199 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
The most notable catch during the game between No. 22 Miami and Appalachian State didn’t even happen on the field.
Wasn’t even a football. It was a cat.
The animal somehow got into Hard Rock Stadium, then got caught by one of its paws off the façade of the upper deck. It eventually fell to the lower level of the stadium, where fans using an American flag as a makeshift net of sorts were able to safely catch it before it was carried off to safety.
“They were trying to grab it from above and they couldn’t reach it but they were scaring it downward,” said Craig Cromer, a facilities manager at the University of Miami and season-ticket holder who with his wife Kimberly brings the flag to each home game. “It hung there for a little while with its two front paws, then one paw, then I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s coming soon.’”
That’s when the Cromers unhooked the flag from the ties they use to keep it on a railing and hoped for the best. The petrified cat fell, bounced a bit off the flag and eventually was secured by some in the nearby student section before being brought away by stadium security workers.
The cat was not showing any signs of injury. The Cromers, other than a spilled beverage and getting sprayed by the dangling cat, were otherwise fine.