The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame gutted out a 21-17 win over the LSU tigers in the 2018 Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s. The game was a slugfest at the line of scrimmage from the start, with the Tigers and Irish getting some gains towards the red zone, but no one scored a touchdown in the first half of the game. Notre Dame was able to scratch out a field goal when Justin Yoon made a 46-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the second quarter.
LSU’s special teams was a disaster as they muffed punts and missed field goals, which would have made a difference in the final score.
Notre Dame had to make a major change after a lack of production by inserting sophomore QB Ian Book for Brandon Winbush, Notre Dame’s starting quarterback for the first five series, struggled, including three-and-outs on his last three series. Winbush managed to connect with Equanimeous St. Brown for a 35 yard completion on the first play of the game, but the opening drive stalled at the LSU 31 when Josh Adams was stopped for a three-yard loss on fourth-and-1.
The Fighting Irish (10-3) trailed 14-6 early in the fourth quarter but tied it on a 6-yard Michael Young reception and two-point conversion to Josh Adams. The win breaks a nine-game losing streak by Notre Dame in bowls either designated as a New Year’s Six or played on Jan. 1.
Miles Boykin scored on a 55-yard touchdown pass with 1:28 remaining and No. 14 Notre Dame got its first win in a New Year’s Day bowl since 1994. Boykin caught a pass from Ian Book with his right hand at the LSU 33, managed to elude corner Donte Jackson and then broke a tackle attempt by John Battle up the right sideline for the game-winning score.
LSU had the best chance of scoring with two drives of at least 10 plays to get deep in opposing territory. Unfortunately, both ended with missed field goals to remain scoreless. One of those drives went all the way to the Irish 1-yard line before two stuffed runs and a false start contributed to the team coming away with zero points.
Both teams will have a lot of holes to fill before next season, with Notre Dame losing its top performers on the line and LSU expected to lose several key skill players. However, the programs are each moving in the right direction and should return to the top of the rankings next year.