"This was a matchup that we had wanted at Notre Dame, and I know LSU felt the same way," Coach Brian Kelly said. "We wanted to be challenged. We were disappointed in the way we played obviously at the end of the year, and our guys wanted the opportunity to finish the season the right way."
The Tigers (8-5) were unsuccessful on a fake field-goal try at the end of the first half, a call that stood on review. The Fighting Irish (8-5) blocked a 40-yard field-goal try by Trent Domingue early in the fourth quarter.
Kelly watched the fake field-goal try on the video board and thought the Irish stopped holder Brad Kragthorpe short. Coach Les Miles thought Kragthorpe scored and wasn't happy the play wasn't overturned for a touchdown. Miles also wasn't pleased at the lack of better replays that might have shown Kragthorpe got the ball over the line before his knee went down.
"The guy that carried the ball, forcing it, said he absolutely scored," Miles said. "Kids will be kids, but this guy's going to tell the truth."
Notre Dame got the ball with 5 minutes 41 seconds left and never gave it back, driving 71 yards in 14 plays before Brindza's field goal.
"We dictated the outcome by controlling the football," Kelly said. "Obviously, if LSU has the football with No. 7 [Leonard Fournette], he's a game changer. We certainly couldn't give them the football back."
Kelly gave sophomore Malik Zaire his first start but also played senior Everett Golson, using both quarterbacks on the winning drive.
Notre Dame held the ball for 37 minutes but finished with a 449-436 edge in offense against the Southeastern Conference's toughest defense thanks only to that final drive. Golson was four for five for 50 yards passing on it, including a 12-yard completion to Ben Koyack on third and 10. Zaire finished off the drive with two rushes to set up Brindza.
Brindza had missed six of nine field-goal tries in the last five games of the regular season, including a 32-yard try late in a loss to Louisville.
"To leave a program so historic like this in this kind of fashion is great," Brindza said. "It's a blessing for me, but also to be able to help win a game for all my teammates is a bigger blessing."
The Fighting Irish were ranked as high as fifth before dropping four consecutive games and five of their last six, struggling in the fourth quarter against Florida State, Northwestern, Arizona State and Louisville. Kelly set a target of controlling the ball for nine minutes each quarter, and they beat that by a minute for the game.
Zaire rushed 22 times for 96 yards and was 12 of 15 for 96 yards passing. He threw for a touchdown and ran for one. Golson was six of 11 for 90 yards passing, and Kelly said the senior needed a painkilling shot after taking a hit to his ribs early in the game.
Fournette ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns, and the freshman also returned a kickoff 100 yards.
On a chilly, windy night in Silicon Valley, the Cardinal (8-5) blew past the Terrapins with the kind of complete performance that had eluded them most of the season. Stanford outgained Maryland 414 to 222 yards and looked right at home at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., about 11 miles from its campus.
It was the most points scored in a bowl game in Stanford history.
Maryland missed a chance for its first postseason win since 2010, when it beat East Carolina in the Military Bowl. The Terrapins (7-6) lost three of their final four games.
No. 13 Georgia 37, No. 21 Louisville 14: Freshman Nick Chubb ran for a career-high 266 yards and two touchdowns and the Bulldogs overcame an injury to starting quarterback Hutson Mason to win the Belk Bowl at Charlotte, N.C.
Chubb averaged eight yards per carry and the Bulldogs (10-3) piled up 301 yards rushing against the nation's second-best run defense. He set a Belk Bowl rushing record, surpassing the 174-yard effort by Boston College's Andrew Callender in 2004.
Mason threw for 149 yards and a touchdown before leaving because of blurred vision with the Bulldogs ahead, 20-7, in the second quarter. He was replaced by Brice Ramsey, whose primary duty was to hand off the ball to Chubb.
Georgia's defense came up with four turnovers, with Dominick Sanders recording two interceptions.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Kyle Bolin made his first start for Louisville (9-4) and finished 20 of 40 for 301 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown. Brandon Radcliff ran for 91 yards and a touchdown.
Chubb's rushing total was second highest in school history behind Herschel Walker's 283 yards against Vanderbilt in 1980. Chubb finished the season with 1,323 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.