Notre Dame defeats LSU 21-17 in 2018 Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s
Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book completed 14-of-19 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns, including a wild 55-yard scoring strike to Miles Boykin with 1:28 left to play, as the Fighting Irish rallied for a 21-17 victory over LSU in the 2018 Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s.
The win was the Irish’s first New Year’s Day bowl win since 1994 and gave Notre Dame a 10-win season for the second time in three years.
“Every year our mission is to play for a national championship, but we’ve built this to continue that process and work towards being one of those four teams that are part of the playoffs,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said following the game. “There’s strides that you make as you’re building yourself toward being a playoff team, and today was a nice stride toward that.”
In addition to throwing for his second-highest completion total of the season, Book also carried the ball 11 times for 64 yards in the game, while Boykin caught three total passes for 102 yards, earning game MVP honors. And to hear Kelly tell it, the award was one he saw coming for Boykin before the game even kicked off.
“We were in practice and we knew that we were going to have to get a couple of one-on-one matchups on the outside and I told Miles, I said, ‘Miles, you’re going to win the MVP trophy,’ and he looked at me like I had two heads,” Kelly said. “But I felt like he had a chance. He’s got the ability, if we could get him the football. And Ian got him the football and Miles made a great individual play and, lo and behold, I’ve got the MVP sitting next to me.”
“It was really almost just a blur,” Boykin added of the game-winning catch, his longest reception of the season. “We talk about situations like this all the time and it’s not often that you get to be in one like this. And so it was just an extremely humbling moment for me just to be able to go out there and help make a play to help my team win.
“We talk about how as a receiver, we’re play makers and winning the 50-50 ball — we talk about that every day. During that moment, I had to make the play. Otherwise, I didn’t know how the outcome was going to be.”
For the second consecutive year, LSU was led offensively by running back Derrius Guice, who had 21 carries for 98 yards and also caught three passes for 24 yards and two touchdowns. The reigning game MVP, Guice now has 53 touches for 271 total yards and four total touchdowns in the past two Citrus Bowl games.
“I’m really proud of Derrius Guice and what he represents — LSU in his heart — and what he’s made us,” said LSU head coach Ed Orgeron.
And while the result was certainly not what Guice and the Tigers had in mind, it’s hard not to see the connection Orgeron has made with his players and his team this season.
“Coach O is a guy that really helped change my life,” Guice said of Oregon. “I thank God for him every day, for giving me the opportunity time in and time out, trusting me with the ball, trusting me as a leader. Time in and time out, he chose me as a team captain.
“He did a heck of a job preparing us for this game, man,” Guice continued. “You know we just couldn’t finish the job that we needed to finish. Like coach said, we played poorly. It starts with us. We should have finished every drive in the end zone. So we just got to move on from here and make it better.”