The No. 3 Fighting Irish, rallying from a 20-6 deficit to tie the game at 20-20, extended their winning streak to nine straight, the best start since 1993.
“We played a very good team today,” said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly in a televised interview. “Pittsburgh played their butts off.”
In games involving other Top 10 in the Bowl Championship Series rankings, it was No. 1 Alabama 21, No. 5 Louisiana State 17; No. 2 Kansas State 44, No. 24 Oklahoma State 30; No. 4 Oregon 62, No. 17 Southern California 51; No. 6 Georgia 37, Mississippi 10; No. 7 Florida 14, Missouri 7; and No. 10 Louisville 45, Temple 17.
Golson, who completed 23 of 42 passing attempts for 227 yards, connected with T.J. Jones on an 11-yard touchdown pass to bring Notre Dame within 20-12 at the start of the fourth quarter. He then hit Theo Riddick on a 5-yard throw and rushed for a two-point conversion with two minutes, 11 seconds left to tie the game at Notre Dame Stadium.
Kevin Harper, who kicked two field goals during regulation time, gave the Panthers (4-5) a 23-20 lead with a 41-yard kick in the first overtime. Kyle Brindza, who also had two for Notre Dame, countered with a 37-yard field goal to tie the game at 23-23.
Pittsburgh’s Jarred Holley recovered a fumble by Cierre Wood in the endzone, depriving the Fighting Irish of a touchdown in the second overtime. Harper, with the chance to give Pittsburgh the victory, missed a 33-yard field goal after a high snap to end the period.
Harper came back in the third overtime to give the Panthers a 26-23 lead on a 44-yard field goal until Golson scored a touchdown on a quarterback sneak.
“We overcame some uncharacteristic mistakes,” Kelly said. “Last year, that would have been a loss. But our team kept fighting, kept playing.”
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