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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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: “Balance on offense, the ability to run it and throw it with great balance. It certainly is a group
🏈🏈🏈 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!☘🏈