Notre Dame wins Citrus Bowl with spectacular Miles Boykin catch in dying moments of game

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2018 Citrus Bowl - Notre Dame 21 LSU 17 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Notre Dame receiver Miles Boykin made not only one of the top plays of this bowl season but one of the more memorable catches in Notre Dame bowl history. He made a superb one-handed grab and raced down the sideline for a 55-yard touchdown with 1:28 remaining to give the 14th-ranked Fighting Irish a 21-17 victory over No. 16 LSU.

The win by Notre Dame (10-3) is its first in a New Year’s Day bowl since the 1994 Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M and snaps a nine-game skid in January postseason games.

“He looked at me like I had two heads. But I felt like he had a chance,” said Kelly about his prediction before the game that Boykin would be the games Most Valuable Player. “He’s got the ability, if we could get him the football. And Ian got him the football and Miles made a great individual play and, lo and behold, I’ve got the MVP sitting next to me.”

Boykin had only nine catches for 151 yards and a touchdown coming into the game, but he got his first start after starters Chase Claypool (shoulder injury) and Kevin Stephenson (suspension) were ruled out.

Boykin showed off his wide-catch radius on what proved to be the game-winning play. On first-and-10 from the Irish 45, Ian Book lofted a pass up the right sideline that Boykin was able to snag with his right hand at the LSU 33, eluding corner Donte Jackson. Boykin then broke a tackle attempt by Donte Jackson at the LSU 26 before finding a clear path to the end zone.

“Ian put it in place where only I could reach it,” said Boykin, who finished with three receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. “It was a great pass and I was just lucky enough to pull it down on one hand. I’ve got pretty big hands.”

2018 Citrus Bowl - Notre Dame 21 LSU 17 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

LSU coach Ed Orgeron said that Boykin made a great grab but lamented his defense’s other struggles on the play.

“We had our best cover guy on him (Jackson) but he’s a big receiver,” he said after the Tigers finished the season 9-4. “We had two guys on him and missed the tackle. That’s what I’m mostly disappointed with.”

In truth the game lacked drama the first three quarters. It was scoreless until four seconds remained in the first half when a Justin Yoon 46-yard field goal gave Notre Dame a 3-0 halftime lead.

The Tigers twice had opportunities on the Irish one yard line but managed just three points. In the second quarter they had fourth-and-goal before being called for a false start which resulted in a missed 22-yard field goal by Connor Culp.

In the fourth quarter a Guice 2-yard reception put the Tigers in another fourth-and-goal at the one yard line. Orgeron decided to go for the 3-point lead and a Jack Gonsoulin 17-yard field goal, gave the Tigers a 17-14 lead.

“We shot ourselves in the foot too many times,” Etling said. “We executed pretty well every possession, but made one or two bad plays, false starts that put us five yards back and all the sudden we’re in a tougher situation.”

NOTRE DAME 21, LSU 17

Notre Dame  0  3   3  15  —  21
LSU               0  0  7   10  —  17 

ND—FG Yoon 46, :04
LSU—Guice 20 pass from Etling (Gonsoulin kick), 11:37
ND—FG Yoon 49, 2:47
LSU—Guice 2 pass from Etling (Gonsoulin kick), 11:13
ND—Young 6 pass from Book (J.Adams pass from Book), 7:49
LSU—FG Gonsoulin 17, 2:03
ND—Boykin 55 pass from Book (Yoon kick), 1:28

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Notre Dame, J.Adams 15-44, Wimbush 4-38, De.Williams 2-36, Book 11-36, T.Jones 1-0, (Team) 1-(minus 2). LSU, Guice 21-98, Da.Williams 9-44, Etling 10-21, Gage 1-15, Dillon 1-(minus 8).

PASSING—Notre Dame, Kmet 0-1-0-0, Wimbush 3-8-0-52, Book 14-19-1-164. LSU, Etling 19-33-0-229.

RECEIVING—Notre Dame, Boykin 3-102, J.Adams 3-19, St. Brown 2-47, Weishar 2-13, Smythe 2-10, Young 2-8, T.Jones 2-(minus 1), Finke 1-18. LSU, Chark 5-63, Moreau 4-64, Guice 3-24, Anderson 2-35, Sullivan 2-24, Gage 2-15, Da.Williams 1-4.

MISSED FIELD GOALS—LSU, Culp 24, Gonsoulin 38.

Attendance : 57,726

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

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