His 21-yard pass to Emeka Egbuka set up Trayanum’s run over left guard on a night Ohio State had struggled to convert in short yardage.
Down 3-0, the Irish came out looking sharp to start the second half, but they were stopped on downs when quarterback Sam Hartman failed to pick up a yard on fourth-and-1. That came after Audric Estime picked up 1 on third-and-2.
One play later, TreVeyon Henderson found space along the left side then outran the pursuit for a 61-yard touchdown for the Buckeyes, and Jayden Fielding’s PAT kick made it 10-0 with 11:14 to go in the third quarter.
Notre Dame answered with a punishing 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive spent mostly on the ground. Three different Irish carried the ball before Gi’Bran Payne took a direct snap and powered in from a yard out. Notre Dame ran for 54 yards on the drive, but a 15-yard pass from Hartman to Tobias Merriweather set up Payne’s run.
That cut Ohio State’s lead to 10-7 with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
The Buckeyes moved the ball into Irish territory on the drive, but a 15-yard personal foul penalty on right tackle Josh Fryar for unnecessary roughness wipeout a third-down conversion.
Jesse Mirco’s ensuing punt was downed at the 4-yard line, but the Irish went on another march. This time, more of the damage was done through the air as Hartman completed passes of 28 and 25 yards then found Rico Flores Jr. in the back of the end zone from two yards out to give the Irish a 14-10 lead with 8:22 left.
Ohio State followed that by driving to the Notre Dame 11, but the Buckeyes again failed to get a yard on third or fourth-and-1 and had to turn the ball over on downs with 4:10 left.
Ohio State punted on each of its first two possessions, but Notre Dame drove to the Ohio State 18 the first time it had the ball.
That drive came to an end when Hartman was ruled out of bounds on a fourth-down scramble to the sideline.
On their next possession, the Irish drove to the Ohio State 29 but Spencer Schrader missed a 47-yard field goal.
Ohio State then had a 70-yard drive end in no points when the Irish turned them away twice from the 1-yard line.
After Miyan Williams was stood up for no gain, Ohio State tried a play-action pass only for McCord to find he had no one open.
He heaved a desperate attempt to tight end Cade Stover, but it was broken up by Jaylen Sneed.
Ohio State outgained the Irish 147-141 in the first half thanks to the late scoring drive.
McCord was 9-for-16 passing for 84 yards while Hartman completed 9 of 13 passes for 88.
Egbuka caught four passes for 37 yards, but he also failed to haul in a potential touchdown in the end zone on the final drive of the half.