Rees’ late heroics keep Irish’s national title hope alive
News-Sun staff report October 14, 2012 5:06PM
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Updated: November 16, 2012 6:19AM
Tommy Rees didn’t have time to grasp the magnitude and pressure of the moment.
When Everett Golson had to leave the game after a helmet-to-helmet hit with 3:18 to go in the fourth quarter, Rees barely had time to find his helmet.
“The best way I can describe it is, you really don’t have time to think,” Rees said after Notre Dame’s 20-13 overtime win over Stanford on Saturday. “You’ve got 10 guys on offense, and then 100 guys on the team, that are counting on you, let alone the university and Notre Dame and playing for everyone that’s there. You don’t have time to think about that kind of stuff. Just get out there and play.”
For the third time this season, Rees, a graduate of Lake Forest High School, did just that and closed out a victory for the Irish.
This time, he led a drive that set up Kyle Brindza’s game-tying chip-shot field goal with 20 seconds left, then threw the go-ahead touchdown to T.J. Jones in overtime.
Golson was up and about down the stretch, but Kelly said he had some blurred vision, so Rees stayed in.
Golson is expected to play and start for the Irish when they play a danger game against BYU on Saturday.
In overtime, Rees was sacked on the first play. But he hit Vernon Hills High School graduate DaVaris Daniels for nine yards, then floated a nifty 16-yard pass to Theo Riddick in the face of a jailbreak blitz, then hit Jones on a slant for what proved to be the game-winning score.
Golson finished 12-of-24 for 141 yards and a touchdown. Rees was 4 of 4 for 43 yards and a TD.
“He’s always ready to go,” tight end Tyler Eifert said. “It’s a tough situation. . . . But he understands our offense so well and the defense so well, it doesn’t take much time for him to get used to it.”