CLEMSON, S.C. – Deshaun Watson threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third and Clemson's defense stopped DeShone Kizer on a tying two-point conversion as the 12th-ranked Tigers held on to beat No. 6 Notre Dame 24-22 on Saturday night.
Tigers linebacker B.J. Goodson had an interception and a fumble recovery, halting two fourth-quarter drives by the Fighting Irish (4-1). But the biggest stop was by defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, who brought down Kizer short of the goal line with 7 seconds left.
"Tonight it was BYOG, bring your own guts," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.
Kizer rallied Notre Dame from 21-3 down in the second half with two touchdown passes, the last a 1-yard toss to Torii Hunter Jr.
Clemson secured the Notre Dame's onside kick and closed out the victory, moving to 4-0 for the fourth time in five years.
Waterlogged Clemson fans rushed the field when time ran out in the win over the highest-ranked Tigers opponent since they defeated No. 5 Georgia to start the 2013 season. Those title dreams died a few weeks later when undefeated Clemson was stomped by eventual national champion Florida State.
Another loss was surely on many minds as Clemson saw its 18-point lead sliced to two after Hunter's TD catch.
This time, though, the Tigers defense held.
Watson accounted for 190 yards, 93 on the ground. He had a 21-yard TD run early in third quarter to put the Tigers up 21-3. That's when Notre Dame's defense rose up to give its offense a chance to come back.
Kizer had a 56-yard scoring pass to C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame's eighth play this season of at least 50 yards. The Irish closed to 24-16 on Kizer's 3-yard scoring run.
Clemson struck quickly in Notre Dame's first visit to Death Valley since 1977, with Watson running for 38 yards on the game's first play. Watson found Leggett moments later for a 6-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead.
Clemson kept the pressure on its next series. Watson connected with Scott for a 13-yard TD and a 14-0 lead.
The rainstorm that saturated much of the East Coast was a focus of the week. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Clemson graduate, told fans to stay home unless they had to attend. The stands, though, were filled with orange ponchos and raincoats.