Who said that the Wildcats were going to be an easy team to beat? Coming into Saturday’s contest against the Fighting Irish, the Wildcats had two signature wins. They beat Michigan State at East Lansing, and they beat Wisconsin in Evanston. The Wildcats planned on giving the Fighting Irish a difficult time and they did just that. The Wildcats did everything in their power to play the role of spoiler, but the Fighting Irish found yet another way to win.
The first possession has not been the Fighting Irish best friend as of late. Saturday night the Irish opened with the ball once again. The problem is that they have not held it long on that first possession. After three run plays by the Irish, the run by Ian Book resulted in a fumble and a recovery by the Wildcats on the Irish 35 yard line. If there could be a stroke of luck on a turnover, the Irish we the recipient of that little piece of luck. A missed wide right field goal attempt by the Wildcats resulted in zero points scored by Northwestern.
The only scoring of the quarter would come on the ensuing possession by the Fighting Irish. Book found four receivers. He found Claypool for 16, Boykin for 15, Finke for 7 and Kmet for 17 yards for a total of 55 yards passing. In the end, it was Dexter Williams from one yard out, that put the Irish on the board first.
The Irish defense absolutely stepped up after the Irish put points on the board. The first three and out of the evening on the Wildcats. The stop unfortunately did not lead to points for the Irish as a rear miss by Justin Yoon from 44 yards went wide left.
The second quarter was like something out of a Twilight Zone episode. To open the second quarter, the Wildcats gave Notre Dame some of their own medicine. Except the Wildcats did it with the run instead of the pass. 25 yards rushing by the Isiah Bowser was the factor that allowed the Wildcats to score the touchdown on their opening drive.
The rest of the quarter was a complete mystery. Neither team did much the ball. Notre Dame was less than one-dimensional. The Irish were 4 carries for 9 yards and Book was 1 for 4 for 9 yards passing and 0-2 on 3rd down conversions. The Wildcats controlled the time of possession 11:57 to 3:03.
The Irish came out of the locker room with something to prove in the second half. The sack by Okwara for a 9 yard loss was the catalyst that sets the tone for the Irish ensuing possession. Book once again hit five different receivers for a total for 77 yards passing. The big pass going to Boykin for 20 yards and a touchdown.
After a 3 and out by the Wildcats offense, Book to passing once again. This time book made fast work of the possession. After another monster reception by Claypool for 31 and 14 yards, Mike Young ends up on the receiving end of a 47 yard TD pass from Book. The Irish turned around an incredible third quarter. Book went 11-14 for 195 yards. That’s some turn around from the first half. The Irish defense held the Wildcats to 2-5 for 21 yards and 11 rushes for 11 yards.
The Irish open the fourth quarter with some quick points. Justin Yoon puts up a field from 43 yards out to claim the quarters first points. The Wildcats don’t allow the Irish to enjoy the previous possession as they come out firing. They score on six play and score on a Thorson to Lees 27 yard touchdown pass to bring them close once again.
The ensuing Irish possession was a possession they wish they could have back. After 5 plays, the Irish are forced to punt. The punt is blocked by the Wildcats and they take possession on the ND 17 yard line. Five plays later, the Wildcats find themselves back in the endzone on a QB keeper by Thorson for 1 yard.
The Irish were not done. There was some magic still left for Book to use. Book finds Claypool for 21 yards, Book has two rushes himself for a total of 10 yards. Book finds Boykin for a 15 yard reception and then Book closes of the drive with his own 23 yard to find the gold at the end of the rainbow. The Irish go on to beat the Wildcats 31-21 after a roller coaster of a game.
🏈🏈🏈 Ian Book 22-34 343 yards passing, 2 Passing TD’s, 1 Rushing TD, 56 yards rushing
🏈🏈 Te’Von Coney 10 tackles, 6 solo, 4 assist and 2 sacks
🏈 Chase Claypool 8-10 for 130 yards receiving
The Irish come home for their last game at Notre Dame this season. It will be Senior Night and it will be a cold one as well. It is expected to get down to about 33 degrees under a clear sky according to The Weather Channel. So dress warm for the 7:30 kick-off. The game will be televised on NBC.
Cheers and Go Irish!