SOUTH BEND -- Oh, that was close.
And it shouldn't have been.
The 29-26 triple-overtime victory over Pitt (4-5) was nothing more than survival. Forget about any style points for poll voters to consider.
Alright, exhale. It's OK now.
Looked like Touchdown Jesus was waving wide right as Panther kicker Kevin Harper's bid to be an Irish villain missed its mark from 33 yards in the second overtime.
New life. Sooner or later something had to give.
Irish quarterback Everett Golson's one-yard bull run for six points allowed Notre Dame to sidestep a bullet, though leaving itself open for the return of the doubt it had erased by last week's thumping of Oklahoma.
It probably was a matter of the Panthers elevating their play, than the Irish dummying down their effort.
But there were mistakes.
Two interceptions, a fumble in the end zone, a missed field goal and a missed PAT were more problems than Notre Dame has dealt with in its past three victories.
Guess it had to happen sometime.
For at least three quarters, the Irish defense appeared mortal. Golson looked like a freshman. And Notre Dame didn't even vaguely resemble one of the nation's elite.
That changed in time to escape with the win.
How the circumstances that led to the victory impact Notre Dame's big picture won't be known until sometime late Sunday. Does it matter to Irish coach Brian Kelly? Will he labor over how voters perceive what was supposed to be a bullet-proof football configuration?
"I don't really care (about what else happens in college football)," Kelly said. "Everyone says I should care. I care about my football team. I care about getting better. We're just really focused on ourselves. We can't worry about all those other things. We really can't.
"I could be politically correct and say, 'Yeah, I care. We're going to watch (what else happens). But to be honest with you, we've got a lot of work to do with our football team."
Not many of the 80,795, who were on the edge of their seats for more than four hours, will argue with that.
Take a shower. Calm down. Boston College gets its shot next.