The University of Notre Dame closed their 2014 football season on a positive note, defeating Louisiana State University on Tuesday in a wild 31-28 upset at the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee.
Notre Dame and LSU previously played in a bowl game in the 2007 Sugar Bowl. LSU won that game in decisive fashion in what was Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn’s final appearance in an Irish uniform.
The victory was Malik Zaire’s first in a Notre Dame uniform. Coach Brian Kelly started Zaire, a red shirt freshman, who shared playing time with junior Everett Golson.
Golson led the Fighting Irish to the national championship game in 2012, but struggled with turnovers in the second half of the 2014 season, throwing 14 interceptions and 8 lost fumbles. Golson did not play in 2013 due to an academic dishonesty suspension.
Zaire’s solid performance against LSU creates a possible showdown for the quarterback position. Coach Kelly showed a willingness throughout the bowl game to swap out the two players for different situations.
For his part, Golson could choose to return to Notre Dame to compete for the position, transfer to another school, or attempt to enter the NFL draft.
The win was a good ending to an otherwise disappointing season. The Irish, who were undefeated going into an October match-up against #2 Florida State, ended their season with five losses after losing four straight regular season games.
The upset against LSU could help the team with recruiting in the off-season and increase confidence among the players who were battered with injuries and disappointing losses in 2014.
The first game of the 2015 season will be against Texas on September 5 in South Bend.