John Heisler | December 30, 2018
The plan was simple, actually.
It made all the sense in the world when University of Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly suggested consistently to his players over the last month that the Cotton Bowl assignment in the 2018 College Football Playoff semifinals would require every player's best effort of the season.
That was only logical when the opponent definitively was the best team the Irish played all season — second-ranked and unbeaten Clemson, the champion of the Atlantic Coast Conference making its fourth straight CFP appearance.
Making Kelly's hopes, dreams and expectations come to fruition proved far more challenging for the Irish on the field of AT&T Stadium.
After hanging with the Tigers for a period, the Irish watched as Clemson (now 14-0) parlayed maybe the most productive single quarter of passing football the CFP has witnessed into an eventual 30-3 triumph to claim a spot in the CFP title game against Alabama (14-0), another unbeaten team.
In a game of this magnitude, any team hoping to win has to make plays — and the Irish (12-1) didn't make nearly enough of them.
Read more here.