Notre Dame Football: Welcome Back Dexter!

Where do you start writing after a game like that? There are so many players that are performing at such a high level now. As a writer you want to mention everyone, but that is impossible. You don’t want to offend any one, but there is also a limit about how much you can write.  The overall perception of this team is that they are suddenly trusting in the process. Coaches talk about this all the time. Trusting in this process is a key that leads to a team achieving their goal. This team is definitely drinking the coaching staffs kool-aid. In front of a green-out Notre Dame stadium, they definitely demonstrated that.

First Quarter

This season the Fighting Irish offense has made the statement and setting the tempo for the game. Saturday night the defense had the opportunity to step up and they did. Bryce Love was called on a lot by the Stanford coaching staff. I know that because they announce all the plays in the press box. I heard all this Love call, and I though he was killing the defense. It was quite the opposite. The defense stopped the Cardinal Running Back on his first two carries for no gain. Almost forgot to mention the first possession for Stanford was a three and out. That’s a testament to this stout Irish defense.

The second Irish possession was one of those memorable ones. After four rushing plays by Tony Jones Jr and Ian Book, the Irish go pass to Miles Boykin for 19 yards. What happened two plays later is what Hollywood writes in movies. Dexter Williams, returning off suspension gets the call and turns on his jets and scores from 45 yards away. You can’t make this stuff up.

Late in the quarter, Williams, Book and Avery Davis take care of the ball for 36 yards (21 of those yards go to Williams). A Book to Nick Weishar hook-up results in a home side corner of the end zone reception for a touchdown. The Irish end the first quarter 14-7.

Photo Credit Riley Trott Shake Down The Thunder Sports

Second Quarter

The second quarter starts with a miscue by the Irish defense. An incomplete pass in the end zone, turns into pass interference. With the penalty occurring in the end zone, the ball is moved to the one yard line. Second chance points have hurt the Irish this year on defense. Three plays later Stanford scores to tie the game at 14. the defense makes up for it on the next defensive set of downs by forcing a three and out.

Late in the second quarter, the earlier run game opened up the passing game. Four passes to Boykin totaling 64 yards, opened up Claypool for touchdown pass of 10 yards from Book. Putting the score at 21-14 Irish. the ensuing Cardinal drive totaled a -9 yards. That will set the stage for the second half of the game. The Irish totaled 182 yards total offense, 120 yards via the run.


Photo by Riley Trott
Shake Down The Thunder Sports

Third Quarter

The defense picked up the offense, the Irish ran five plays to start the second half. The defense took a stand and forced another three and out. Love was not going any place fast. “Love” cannot advance if you don’t let it go. The Irish DEFENSE don’t like “Love”.

Justin Yoon contributed some extra points as well. The Irish offense was stalled at the Stanford 28 yard line and Yoon makes a 37 yard field goal. The score is 24-14. In between all of this, Tyler Newsome boots another booming punt. 50 yards this time and the Cardinal starts at their own 19 yard line. Another penalty on the Irish defense led to a 46 yard field goal late in the third quarter.

Photo by Riley Trott
Shake Down The Thunder Sports

Fourth Quarter

The fourth quarter saw a defensive stand not seen this season by the Irish. The defense put negative yards on the Cardinal, -13 yards to be exact. Stanford only ran seven plays for a -1.9 average yard per play. Deja Vu but in reverse. This is almost like how the Irish lost in 2017. Only difference Stanford never had the lead. Jerry Tillery had three sacks in the fourth quarter including to in a row. The defense was not going to let Stanford near the ball.

After the first sack by Tillery, the Irish score on a touchdown pass from Book to Boykin to put the Irish up 31-17. The ensuing possession by the Cardinal resulted in an interceptions by Te’von Coney. The next play is the game winner as a Book to Mack (#MackBook) completion for 35 yards puts the Irish up 38-17. A complete game, 60 minutes of put your helmet on and play the game is in the books.

Lost in all the excitement is the “Legends Trophy” that is now back in rightful place in the “Gug.”It had been held captive for 3 years by Stanford.

Post Game

Ian Book

Media Question: “What was Dexter like in the huddle tonight, especially before he got that first carry?”

Ian’s Response: “He was very juiced up. Dexter’s such an explosive guy who brings a lot of emotion to the game, and he loves football. I just knew coming back, this couldn’t be a better week for him to come back. And I’m just excited for him. That first touch was just great to see him go score.”

Shake Down The Thunder Sports Question: “Coach a couple of weeks ago talked about this team’s identity was still being built. Last week you guys built on that with you starting as quarterback. Your second week in, what would you say that this team’s identity is starting to be?”
Ian’s Response: “We just want to be an elite offense. I know that one thing we were talking about through the first couple of games was having such a great first half and then kind of letting go the second half. So week in, week out, in our preparation we just want to keep scoring points as an offense, don’t let go.”

Coach Kelly

COACH KELLY: “Well, great win. Obviously two top 10 teams playing at Notre Dame Stadium, this is why our
kids come to Notre Dame to play in these big games. And they responded in kind. They started fast. I thought their attention to detail was great. Great enthusiasm out there. And then we finished strong. And, so, you have to put together four quarters when you play Stanford.”
“We have, you know, a history with this football team. And the fourth quarter has not been strong for us. And
we knew, especially last week and the way they came back that we would have to play four quarters if we
were going to win this football game. So really proud of the way our guys handled the mental game as much as the physical game and certainly the execution part. You have to have all these three phases working for you today. And they did a great job.”
“Stanford is a great opponent. But we were up to the task today. And we had guys making plays and
controlled the second half in particular and put them in tough situations. That’s a very talented team. If they can control down and distance, then they make it very difficult for you. We were able to control first down, put them in predictable situations, which allowed us to do a lot of things today that gave us the kind of outcome that we
got today. So with that we’ll open up to questions.”

Media Question: “Would you say that this is the most complete victory, complete game you guys have played so far this season?”

Coach’s Response: “Yeah, I think our kids — you know, when you look at victories, as a football coach, as a head coach, you know, there’s always things that we can look at.”
“I think — I like the fact that we finished the game. We started fast, but we finished. And that’s where you, as
a football coach, when you’re looking at your team, you see a resolve, a mental toughness that you’re really
trying to build with your group, and we saw that today. So, yes, affirmatively.”
Shake Down The Thunder Sports Question: “Two weeks ago when we were here with you, you talked about this team’s identity still coming into play. Last week you really identified and talked to the team with Ian Book starting his quarterback. After today’s result, what is this team’s identity offensively and defensively?”

Coach’s Response: “Balance on offense, the ability to run it and throw it with great balance. It certainly is a group

now that is playing with a lot more confidence. I don’t think that you can walk away saying it’s not a physical
group. We block out on the perimeter with a physicality.”
“But I think the balance that we can run it, throw it, I don’t know what the numbers were exactly. But we threw it for 278. And we ran it for 272. Pretty good balance there. And I think that physical component is part of it as well.”
“Defensively, I don’t know if they get enough credit for who they are as a defense. They’ve been really good
of taking away what your strengths are. Wake Forest, you know, was a very difficult team to play, because of
their tempo. We got them off the field. This team is really good — if they can control down and distance — we put them behind the chains and made them predictable. The defense has to exert themselves in a fashion to do that in all three parts of the defense, on the “D” line, linebacker and defensive back.”
“So I think it’s starting to come together. Man, we’ve got a long way to go. We’re going to go to Blacksburg,
Virginia and play in a tough environment. And then we have to play Pittsburgh, who is tough to play. Oh, then
we’ve got to play Navy, by the way; Northwestern, who just beat Duke. We’ve got a long season ahead of us. So if we’re going to walk out of here thinking that we just are the best team, we’re going to get beat and it’s going to diminish this victory.”
“So I told our team, I’m proud of what you accomplished tonight, but if we don’t embrace how hard this is going
to be, we’re climbing Mount Everest with this schedule. So take one step at a time and get ready for a tough
opponent in Virginia Tech.”

Game Balls

🏈🏈🏈 Jerry Tillery-4 sacks on the night and he received the game ball, 6 total tackles and a forced fumble.

🏈🏈 Tyler Newsome-4 punts, 205 total yards average 51.2, and a long of 53.

🏈 Ian Book-This kid can ball. He owns everything he does. He expects as much out of himself as he does his teammates.

Next up for the Irish is the Virginia Tech Hokies in Blacksburg, VA. ABC has announced this is the prime time game. 8 PM is the kick off. Cheers and Go Irish!☘🏈

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