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GAMEDAY College Football

Gator Bowl: Notre Dame 45, South Carolina 38

(AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Tyler Buchner accounted for five touchdowns to help offset two interceptions returned for TDs, and No. 19 Notre Dame beat 20th-ranked South Carolina 45-38 in a wild TaxSlayer Bowl.

The highest-scoring game in Gator Bowl history was filled with big plays and memorable moments. But Buchner delivered the knockout blow when he found tight end Mitchell Evans wide open for a 16-yard touchdown on a third-and-7 play with 1:38 remaining.

Buchner, who regained the starting job after Drew Pyne entered the transfer portal following the regular-season finale, threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 61 yards and two scores.

But his three interceptions nearly proved too much to overcome.

O'Donnell Fortune returned one of them 100 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, and DQ Smith returned another 47 yards for a score in the first. But Buchner bounced back from both miscues to earn his first victory in three career starts.

Notre Dame (9-4, No. 21 CFP) overcame a 14-point deficit and won despite South Carolina's scoring on the two pick-6s and on special teams. Punter Kai Kroger connected with long-snapper Hunter Rogers for one of the oddest TDs in bowl lore.

Spencer Rattler completed 29 of 44 passes for 246 yards for the Gamecocks (8-5, No. 19 CFP), with an interception and two touchdowns to Xavier Legette.

South Carolina was missing a number of key starters, including running back MarShawn Lloyd, versatile tight end Jaheim Bell, tight end Austin Stogner, defensive lineman Zacch Pickens, safety Devonni Reed, cornerbacks Cam Smith and Darius Rush, and receivers Josh Vann and Jalen Brooks.

Notre Dame played without All-American tight end Michael Mayer, standout edge rusher Isaiah Foskey, cornerback Cam Hart and defensive lineman Jayson Ademilola.

THE TAKEAWAY

Notre Dame: The Irish gave coach Marcus Freeman his first victory following a lengthy layoff. Notre Dame lost its bowl game last year to Oklahoma State after naming Freeman the head coach and dropped its season opener at Ohio State.

South Carolina: Special teams are usually coach Shane Beamer's specialty, but he had a few uncharacteristic mistakes to go along with the punter-to-long snapper touchdown pass. Dakereon Joyner was flagged for a block in the back in the second quarter, a call that got Beamer so irate that he drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Those penalties resulted in a 45-yard swing. The Gamecocks also were flagged in the second half for having two guys wearing the same number on a punt and twice for delay of game.

December 30, 2022


Scoring Summary
First Quarter NDSCar
SCar TD 11:48 Xavier Legette 13 yard TD pass from Spencer Rattler (Mitch Jeter Extra Point) 0 7
ND TD 5:54 Tyler Buchner 15 yard TD run (Blake Grupe Extra Point) 7 7
SCar TD 2:27 Hunter Rogers 23 yard TD pass from Kai Kroeger (Mitch Jeter Extra Point) 7 14
SCar TD 0:44 DQ Smith 53 yard interception return for TD (Mitch Jeter Extra Point) 7 21
Second Quarter NDSCar
ND FG 8:36 Blake Grupe 37 yard field goal 10 21
SCar FG 5:18 Mitch Jeter 45 yard field goal 10 24
ND TD 5:06 Logan Diggs 75 yard TD pass from Tyler Buchner (Blake Grupe Extra Point) 17 24
Third Quarter NDSCar
ND TD 10:28 Tyler Buchner 11 yard TD run (Blake Grupe Extra Point) 24 24
SCar TD 8:31 Xavier Legette 42 yard TD pass from Spencer Rattler (Mitch Jeter Extra Point) 24 31
ND TD 0:31 Braden Lenzy 44 yard TD pass from Tyler Buchner (Blake Grupe Extra Point) 31 31
Fourth Quarter NDSCar
ND TD 12:41 Logan Diggs 39 yard TD run (Blake Grupe Extra Point) 38 31
SCar TD 7:42 O'Donnell Fortune 100 yard interception return for TD (Mitch Jeter Extra Point) 38 38
ND TD 1:38 Mitchell Evans 16 yard TD pass from Tyler Buchner (Blake Grupe Extra Point) 45 38
Team Stats
  Notre Dame South Carolina
First downs 27 20
  Rushing 14 5
  Passing 13 13
  Penalty 0 2
3rd Down Efficiency 11-19, 58% 5-15, 33%
4th down efficiency 1-1, 100% 1-2, 50%
Rushes-Yards 46-264 22-65
Passing Yards 294 287
Return Yards 25 213
Completions-Attempts-Int 19-34-3 31-49-1
Sacks-Yards Lost 2-21 3-16
Punts 4 6
Fumbles Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties - Yards 4-40 8-73
Notre Dame Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
T. Buchner 18 33 274 3 3
D. Sherwood 1 1 20 0 0
South Carolina Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
S. Rattler 29 46 246 2 1
K. Kroeger 1 1 23 1 0
D. Joyner 1 1 18 0 0
Notre Dame Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
A. Estime 14 95 6.8 0
L. Diggs 13 89 6.8 1
T. Buchner 12 61 5.1 2
C. Tyree 5 21 4.2 0
South Carolina Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
J. McDowell 6 28 4.7 0
S. Rattler 7 27 3.9 0
D. Joyner 1 8 8.0 0
C. Beal-Smith 3 8 2.7 0
A. Brown 1 2 2.0 0
A. Wells Jr. 1 -2 -2.0 0
R. Amos 1 -2 -2.0 0
X. Legette 2 -4 -2.0 0
Notre Dame Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
B. Lenzy 4 89 22.3 1
L. Diggs 2 81 40.5 1
J. Thomas 5 67 13.4 0
M. Evans 3 39 13.0 1
C. Tyree 4 10 2.5 0
A. Estime 1 8 8.0 0
South Carolina Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
X. Legette 7 78 11.1 2
N. Adkins 5 78 15.6 0
D. Joyner 3 35 11.7 0
A. Wells Jr. 5 30 6.0 0
H. Rogers 1 23 23.0 1
A. Brown 4 22 5.5 0
J. McDowell 3 13 4.3 0
C. Beal-Smith 2 7 3.5 0
O. Blake 1 1 1.0 0
Notre Dame Interceptions
Player Int Yards
B. Morrison 1 0
South Carolina Interceptions
Player Int Yards
O. Fortune 1 100
D. Smith 1 53
N. Barrett 1 -5
Notre Dame Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. Sot 4 205 51.3
South Carolina Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
K. Kroeger 6 240 40.0
Notre Dame Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
M. Salerno 1 7 7.0
South Carolina Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
A. Brown 2 12 6.0
Notre Dame Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
C. Tyree 1 18 18.0
South Carolina Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
X. Legette 2 53 26.5
Notre Dame Missed FG
Player Length
South Carolina Missed FG
Player Length




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