Notre Dame dominated play in the first half against Pittsburgh on Saturday, but found itself trailing 10-6 at the half, thanks to an offense that sputtered in the red zone, and a defense that went from invincible to vulnerable in a matter of moments.
Tied 3-3 after one, Notre Dame drove all the way to the Pitt 1-yard line early in the second quarter. But Theo Riddick — who had a 2-yard touchdown run overturned on a replay — was stuffed for no gain on second down, then a 4-yard loss on third down, and the Irish had to settle for a 20-yard Kyle Brindza field goal. The drive went 89 yards on 18 plays and took up 9 minutes, 26 seconds — but resulted in just three points.
After the teams traded punts, Pitt suddenly seized control with four straight plays of at least 10 yards — three passes and then Ray Graham’s 16-yard touchdown run, on which he ran right through Notre Dame safety Matthias Farley. It was just the second rushing touchdown Notre Dame has surrendered all season.
Tommy Rees — who entered the game when Everett Golson’s helmet came off for a third-down play late — finished the quarter, running the hurry-up and setting up a Brindza 44-yard field-goal attempt, which was wide right as time expired. Golson finished the half 9-of-15 for 88 yards.