PITTSBURGH -- Tommy Rees wasn't good for long, but he was good enough -- for long enough -- to save Notre Dame on Saturday against Pittsburgh.
Rees, who has replaced Dayne Crist as the Irish's starting quarterback, was mostly awful on Saturday but summoned a perfect drive in the fourth quarter -- going 8-for-8, and also connecting on the two-point conversion after his touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Eifert -- to rally Notre Dame past Pittsburgh 15-12.
Other than that drive, the Notre Dame offense was one play, a 79-yard burst off tackle by short-yardage back (!) Jonas Gray for a 7-3 Irish lead early in the second quarter.
Other than that drive, Rees was unremarkable. He was 15-for-32 for 137 yards and two turnovers -- an interception and a fumble. Rees has committed nine turnovers in four games, and had he not led that late TD drive, this week would have been full of talk of a quarterback controversy in South Bend, not to mention a 1-3 season going nowhere in the second year under Brian Kelly. Who would have been described, probably, as "embattled."
Instead, a 2-2 start for the Irish ought to become 4-2 after games with Purdue and Air Force, and after that who knows? A hot team is a confident team is a dangerous team.