Notre Dame expects another down to the wire finish against Pittsburgh tonight at Heinz Field. The two teams have played each other the last five seasons, with each game decided by a touchdown or less.
"They always just play us so hard, and before I got here two losses I think in overtime, difficult games that went to overtime," Irish coach Brian Kelly explained this week. "Midwestern team--tough, blue collar, physical, they don't seem to like Notre Dame very much, and they want to beat Notre Dame. I think it's one of those games where you know you're going to go in and it's going to be a fight. We're prepared for that."
No game was closer the last year's Triple Overtime win by the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium that kept ND's undefeated season alive. The Irish were essentially done as the Panthers lined up for a 33 yard field goal in the 2nd overtime. But Pitt missed and the two teams played on. The Irish would win in the next overtime.
Notre Dame offensive linemen Zack Martin and Chris Watt remember what was going through their minds as the field goal attempt was happening.
"We need a miracle," Martin said, who admits he didn't even watch the play and instead waited to hear the reaction from fans.
"It was a perfect season--I was like--something's got to happen," Watt said with a smile. "We were just praying to God."
It worked out of for the Irish then and it was also worked out for ND two years ago in the last meeting in Pittsburgh as Notre Dame escaped with a 15-12 victory.
Notre Dame is 7-2 after four straight wins. The Irish need to win out to have a shot at making one of the five BCS bowl games.