CHICAGO — Chris Tyree returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and backup quarterback Drew Pyne threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter in relief of an injured starter Jack Coan as No. 12 Notre Dame beat No. 18 Wisconsin 41-13 Saturday at Soldier Field.
Brian Kelly, now in his 12th season with the Irish, became the winningest coach in Notre Dame history with victory No. 106, surpassing the legendary Knute Rockne
Coan, a Wisconsin transfer, helped lead Notre Dame to a 10-3 halftime lead by tossing a 36 yard scoring pass to Kevin Austin in the second quarter, but left with an ankle injury midway through the third quarter with the game tied at 10.
After the Badgers took a 13-10 lead in the first minute of the final stanza, Notre Dame reeled off 31 straight points thanks to four Wisconsin turnovers.
Tyree's return gave the Irish a 17-13 lead.
The first turnover, a fumble by Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz, set up Pyne's 16 yard touchdown pass to Austin to put Notre Dame ahead 24-13.
Mertz, who replaced Coan as the Badgers' starter last season after Coan sat out with an injury, threw four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns in the final 2:30 to salt away Notre Dame's fourth win of the season. Wisconsin now stands 1-2.
The first pick six was a 66-yard return by former Indiana Mr. Football Jack Kiser. The Irish linebacker stepped in front of a Mertz pass to the right flat and ran untouched to give Notre Dame a 34-13 lead.
Then fellow linebacker Drew White grabbed a deflected Mertz pass and weaved his way 45 yards to end zone to make the final score 41-13.
Notre Dame's Cam Hart was responsible for the other two Irish interceptions of Mertz.