Notre Dame got a post-Halloween scare Saturday, but the Irish survived with a a 29-26 win over Pittsburgh in triple overtime.
In that game, Kelly looked to spark the offense by inserting Tommy Rees. Everett Golson was not playing badly, going 9-of-15 for 88 yards before being pulled, but something was missing. The Irish could not move the ball and they were still down to Pitt midway through the third.
The Tommy Rees experiment did not work as well as it has in the past Saturday. Rees got off to a quick start, but a costly interception halted a scoring drive and Pitt turned the pick into points.
Kelly eventually sat Rees and inserted Golson—again—and the sophomore quarterback led the Irish back in their biggest and most important comeback win of the season.
Brian Kelly has been a big fan of both his quarterbacks this year. While Rees was the team's biggest problem last year, he has been their saving grace many times this year. He has bailed Notre Dame out late in games this season against Michigan and Stanford, and won the only game he has started this season, 17-14 over BYU.
However, Saturday is probably the last time we will see Rees on the field for the Irish.
Golson made a mistake late in the fourth, throwing an interception in the end zone that nearly ended their chances at a comeback. At that moment, Kelly could have gone back to Rees to lead his team back and force overtime; however, Golson stayed in and brought the Irish back from the grave.
Golson played with veteran savvy, standing tall in the pocket and hitting DaVaris Daniels for a 45-yard pass and then Theo Riddick for a five-yard score. Then on the two-point conversion he used his legs to knot the game up 20-20.
Brian Kelly's decision to leave Golson in showed that he now has faith in the sophomore quarterback in pressure situations, and Golson converting under that pressure shows that he has made huge strides as a football player.
Yes, it involved some luck of the Irish, but Notre Dame is 9-0 and has its eyes set on a national championship.