Notre Dame Football News: Brian Kelly Answers For Eyebrow-Raising Calls In Northwestern Loss

Saturday's 43-40 overtime loss to the Northwestern Wildcats was a sobering one for a Notre Dame Fighting Irish team that was looking to get well after last Saturday's gut punch of a road loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Notre Dame did have a chance to put the game out of reach with a simple extra point up 11 in the fourth quarter. However, head coach Brian Kelly decided to go for two after the kicking game struggled on Saturday.

“Our chart tells us in that situation to go for one but we were up I think 11 at the time and we felt like given the circumstances, our kicking game situation, that we were going to try to extend it with a two-point play,” Kelly said, via Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune.

The second call that had fans' eyebrows firmly raised was Kelly's decision to keep running the ball with 1:36 left and the Irish leading by 3 at the Northwestern 33. The Wildcats were out of timeouts, so with the down and distance at 2nd-and-8, Kelly could have called for two kneel downs and coffin cornered a punt deep into Northwestern territory with 15 seconds left.

Instead, Kelly chose run and Cam McDaniel fumbled the ball away to the Wildcats who would drive down for a game-tying field goal.

“I don't know that I've ever in my college career taken a knee and then punted the football,” Kelly said. “We would have run the ball once at least and then considered our options from there.  So, it just never entered into my mind to think in those terms.”

Regardless of hindsight on these calls, it was an altogether disappointing day in South Bend for a Notre Dame team suddenly struggling to answer all of the questions in front of them.

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