Stepfan Taylor ran for 1 on first, 2 on second and inches on third down. That left one play from inside the 1 and the Notre Dame defense, led by Carlos Calabrese, stood up Taylor and pushed him back.
Taylor kept reaching and turning, and ended up reaching the ball across the goal line, but the officials ruled it was too late. The play had been stopped.
The celebration had to wait for a replay review. It was close, but the call stood. The fans completed storming the field, and the national title hopes in South Bend remained alive.
"Our defense is incredible," Irish coach Brian Kelly said.
Rees relieved Everett Golson after the sophomore took a helmet to the head during Notre Dame's game-tying field goal drive late in the fourth.
In the overtime, Rees lofted a 16-yard pass to Theo Riddick to convert a third-and-8 to the 7. On the next play, he threw behind Jones on a slant and the receiver reached back for a sliding two-handed catch and a 20-13 lead.
Then the Fighting Irish defense, which has now not given up a touchdown in four straight games, made it stand. Almost half the field was covered with Notre Dame fans, as rain poured down during the postgame celebration. They didn't seem to mind. Toss another victory into Notre Dame lore.