In a surprising move, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly told reporters Monday that Malik Zaire will start at quarterback in the Music City Bowl, replacing Everett Golson. Malik Zaire will start against LSU in the Music City Bowl. — Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) December 29, 2014 Kelly said that Zaire’s understanding of the offense has increased with “game plan reps” over the past month. — Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) December 29, 2014 It will be the first career start for Zaire, who replaced a struggling Golson in the regular season finale at USC, a 49-14 loss. Kelly said that Golson will play as well, but it will be the redshirt freshman Zaire who starts the game against LSU on Tuesday. Golson completed 9-of-20 passes for 170 yards against the Trojans. He also ran for 18 yards and a score on six carries. Golson, a redshirt junior, threw for 3,355 yards and 29 touchdowns while gaining 277 yards and scoring eight times on the ground this season. However, Kelly expressed continued frustration with Golson’s habit of turning the ball over. Golson lost eight fumbles and threw 14 interceptions on the season, all of which game in Notre Dame’s final nine games. Notre Dame started the year 6-0 and climbed to No. 5 in the rankings before losing five of its final six games to finish a disappointing 7-5. The Music City Bowl between the Irish and 8-4 LSU will kick off at 3 p.m. ET in Nashville on Tuesday. For more Notre Dame news, visit . – – – – – – – Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him

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