Third-quarter update: Irish trail 20-6, title hopes on the line

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Notre Dame’s national championship hopes are in serious jeopardy, as the flailing Irish trail Pittsburgh 20-6 after three quarters at Notre Dame Stadium.

Brian Kelly chose to stick with Tommy Rees at quarterback to start the second half, and he led two drives — one ended in a punt at midfield, and one ended in an interception on a badly thrown ball to a wide-open Pitt defender, Eric Williams. After the pick, Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri found tight end J.P. Holtz for a 43-yard gain up the middle, then a 9-yard touchdown pass to give the Panthers a 17-6 lead.

Everett Golson returned for the next series, but the Irish again stalled at midfield. Pitt immediately got a 48-yard run by Ray Graham, and moved to first-and-goal from the 2, before the Irish stiffened and got a badly needed stop, forcing Pitt to settle for a 21-yard field goal and a 20-6 lead.

Graham has 151 yards on 15 carries against the vaunted Notre Dame rushing defense.

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