Published: Wed, January 02, 2019
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Bald eagle lands on fan's head at the Cotton Bowl

Bald eagle lands on fan's head at the Cotton Bowl

"Are you looking forward to playing Clemson again?"

Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly has tried to appear more calm and relaxed on the sideline this season, but he couldn't help but let out some serious emotion early in the contest against Clemson. "We make every game the biggest game of the year". Despite winning both games, Alabama covered the spread in neither. "Since I was a little kid I always wanted to be here".

As impressive as those touchdowns were, however, they couldn't match what Tee Higgins did on the final play before halftime in the first College Football Playoff semifinal game.

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When the third-ranked Irish needed just about everything to go flawless, their national championship drought instead stretched to three decades after another big postseason loss. That was also where they got their last major postseason victory, with wins over Texas A&M to cap the 1992 and 1993 seasons. "So I'm sure it'll be a real challenge for us, and I'm sure we'll need to play better than we did today".

Clemson won the 2016 championship - its only other national title was 1981 - with a 35-31 victory over Alabama after Hunter Renfrow, now a Tigers senior, caught a 2-yard touchdown from DeShaun Watson with a second remaining in Tampa Bay. The Fighting Irish defense missed having All-America cornerback Julian Love on the field when Clemson took over the Cotton Bowl.

"We just look at it as another game to play, another team to play, a great team (we have) to play", sophomore nose guard Quinnen Williams said Saturday.

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