Key Sequence Could Decide Game

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Pittsburgh had a second-and-5 at the 26-yard line midway through the second quarter when LeSean McCoy, trying to find a running lane where there was none, reversed field and ended up being dropped for a nine-yard loss by Kyle McCarthy. On the next play, Pat Bostick — one of four players who have taken a snap as quarterback for Pittsburgh thus far — tripped while dropping back on third-and-14 and lost 5 more. So, instead of having a makable field goal in a 3-3 game — at the time, Pittsburgh’s Conor Lee was three field goals shy of becoming the Panthers’ all-time leader — they punt.

Huge, huge blunder.The Irish have more playmakers. That was obvious enough in the first half. The biggest play came a few minutes later when Golden Tate hauled in a Jimmy Clausen pass that was twice tipped by Pittsburgh defenders for a 47-yard gain. That set up the first Jimmy-to-Michael Floyd touchdown that made it 10-3. Bostick’s interception, and Raeshon McNeil’s patient, 47-yard return (before he fumbled. David Bruton recovered) set up a second Clausen-to-Floyd connection that gave the Irish a 17-3 lead at the break.From what we’ve seen of Pittsburgh’s offense in the first half, the lead might prove to be insurmountable.How good if Floyd, by the way? He’s running that 12-yard out route over and over and Jimmy is hitting him every time. He has seven catches for 81 yards at halftime.Sightings: Jon Bon Jovi is on the ND sideline. Detroit manager Jim Leyland was in the press box eating a hot dog at halftime. The longtime Pittsburgh resident was wearing a Notre Dame hat and sweatshirt.

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