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        === Notre Dame 9-0 after surviving scare from Pitt in 3 OTs ===
 
 South  Bend,  IN (Sports  Network) -  Everett Golson  was benched at halftime,
 returned  when the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish faced their biggest deficit of
 the  season  and kept  Notre  Dame's  title  hopes  alive by  orchestrating  a
 sensational 29-26 comeback win over Pittsburgh in three overtimes.
 
 Golson  threw two  fourth-quarter touchdown passes and sent things to overtime
 by  running in  a two-point conversion with 2:11 remaining, bringing the Irish
 all the way back from a 14-point deficit.
 
 After  trading  field goals in  the first  overtime, Notre Dame senior running
 back Cierre Wood fumbled the ball while trying to dive over the goal line.
 
 Pittsburgh  recovered  in the end  zone, but with the  game on his foot, Kevin
 Harper  missed a 33-yard try wide to the right to keep the roller coaster ride
 going.
 
 "We had an opportunity there and a golden opportunity. We didn't get it done,"
 Pitt  head coach Paul  Chryst said. "I thought a lot of guys put it all on the
 line,  and that's all can you ask the team to do, and it's a tough one because
 that's a good team we played."
 
 Harper put the pressure back on Notre Dame by nailing a 44-yarder on the first
 possession of the third OT, but two first downs moved the ball to the one, and
 Golson  bulled  his way in on  a sneak for  the decisive score and the Irish's
 second win in overtime this season.
 
 Notre  Dame (9-0),  ranked third  in the  most recent  installment of  the BCS
 standings, improved to 9-0 for the first time since 1993.
 
 Golson ran for 74 yards and threw for 227 more on 23-of-42 passes. He was also
 picked off in the end zone in a thrill-a-minute fourth quarter.
 
 "He  got  a chance to go  back in there and  got the game ball tonight," Notre
 Dame  head coach  Brian Kelly said of his freshman quarterback. "He could have
 kept his head down and said I can't help us. He wanted to go back in there and
 help his football team. So that's a learning step for him."
 
 Pittsburgh  (4-5), looking  for its third straight win, forced three turnovers
 and scored the most points Notre Dame had given up all season.
 
 Ray  Graham,  who along with  teammates Devin  Street and Lafayette Pitts, was
 charged  with  simple assault  and  conspiracy  earlier  this week  but  ruled
 eligible  after denying  any involvement with the situation, gashed one of the
 nation's best run defenses for 172 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
 
 Tino Sunseri completed 19-of-29 passes for 164 yards and a score in the loss.
 
 For the third time in four games, Notre Dame trailed at halftime, this time by
 a  10-6 count,  and Kelly opted to  bench Golson in favor of Tommy Rees coming
 out of the break.
 
 Rees  lasted two  series after throwing an interception directly to linebacker
 Eric  Williams, who  returned the  pick to  the Pitt  44-yard line.  Two plays
 later,  J.P.  Holtz caught  a screen pass  and rumbled 43  yards to the 9-yard
 line. Sunseri and Holtz hooked up again on the next snap, this time in the end
 zone for a 17-6 cushion with 5:52 left in the third.
 
 After a Notre Dame punt, Graham ran left and sprinted 48 yards deep into enemy
 territory.  Despite having 1st-and-goal at the two, the Panthers settled for a
 21-yard field goal by Harper.
 
 A  fourth-down run  by  Golson,  an overturned  fumble  and  a defensive  pass
 interference  penalty  kept a Notre Dame  drive alive early in the fourth. The
 extended  possession  ended in T.J. Jones  catching a screen pass and going in
 for  an 11-yard  touchdown, though Kyle Brindza missed the extra point to keep
 the Irish trailing, 20-12.
 
 Golson  led  the  Irish 91  yards  on  their  next  drive, only  to  throw  an
 interception in the end zone with 3:59 remaining.
 
 Notre  Dame got the ball back again less than a minute later at midfield, and,
 with  plenty of time in the pocket, Golson flung a pass downfield that DaVaris
 Daniels  ran under for  a 45-yard pickup to the five. On the next play, Golson
 ran to his right and found Theo Riddick in the end zone with 2:11 showing.
 
 Golson  again  was flushed to  the right  on the two-point conversion, shifted
 upfield,  lunged for the  goal line and reached the ball over the plane to tie
 things.
 
 Neither  team  did much  with the  ball in the  remaining regulation time, and
 Harper and Brindza exchanged 41- and 37-yard kicks, respectively, in the first
 OT.
 
 "When  people play Notre  Dame, it's going to be a war," Irish star linebacker
 Manti  Te'o  said. "It was  ugly at  times and beautiful  at times and that is
 college football. I'm just glad the outcome favored us."
 
 Notre  Dame  held the ball for  nearly 16 minutes  in its first two drives and
 came away with field goals both times.
 
 Brindza booted a 37-yarder midway through the first quarter, then hit one from
 20  yards  out early in  the second after  instant replay overturned a Riddick
 touchdown run from the two.
 
 Graham  was key  in both of Pitt's  scoring drives in the first half, starting
 with  a 55-yard  run on  the Panthers'  first play  from scrimmage  to set  up
 Harper's 39-yard field goal in the opening quarter.
 
 Late  in the second, Graham caught a screen pass and took it upfield for a 13-
 yard gain on 3rd-and-9 to keep a Pitt driving moving, and ended it by taking a
 sweep  to the  right, bulling over outside linebacker Ishaq Williams along the
 sideline and running in for a 16-yard TD with 3:55 left in the half.
 
 Brindza missed a 43-yard kick wide to the right at the halftime gun.
 
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Riddick  led  Notre Dame  with 84 yards  on 22 carries,  while Daniels led all
 receivers  with seven  catches for 86 yards  ... Rees threw for 65 yards on 6-
 of-11 attempts ... Notre Dame has not allowed a touchdown in the first quarter
 this season ... Graham has 10 100-yard rushing games in his career ... Pitt is
 1-14 against Notre Dame teams ranked in the top-5 ... The Irish have won three
 straight  in  the series ...  Notre Dame  visits Boston College next Saturday,
 while Pitt resumes its Big East slate against Connecticut the day before.
 
 11/03 23:44:01 ET