Once and a while there are moments that you reflect in a game. Sometimes your defense needs to set the pace and of play and that happened on Saturday afternoon. Kyle Hamilton stepped into the role of a big time defensive player. As a matter of fact he was the lightning in the bottle the team needed. Avery Davis is another guy that stepped in and took care of business. The final score of 66-14 masks the the first quarter play for the Irish offense. The important part is once again is that the correct adjustments were made by the staff.
The first possession of the game had flashbacks to Louisville. The Irish got to third and two, fourth and one, and on the “Book Keeper” the Irish convert on a first down. It was close as well. After an incomplete pass to Claypool, Book gets sacked for a loss of seven and he makes eight on the next play. It’s tremendous that Jay Bramblett can boot the ball. His 36 yard punt took an Irish bounce to the two yard line.
The Irish defense was quick to let Sherion Jones that he was playing in Notre Dame Stadium. Kyle Hamilton put his exclamation point on that presence as well. On third and eight, Hamilton steps into a pass that he takes back for a touchdown. “Pick 6” by the Freshman. His beastly feat brought the stadium to it’s feet.
New Mexico chewed d the clock on their possessions but could never get started. After 6:18 with the ball they could only move the ball 39 yards on ten plays. The Irish on offense seemed to struggle as well. The one thing the defense didn’t need was to get back on the field after being there for almost six and a half minutes. Book continued to miss his targets, but Bramblett again was able to flip the field for the Irish. this time a 44 yard punt to the New Mexico 17 would help the defense protect the half field.
The defense made quick work of the Lobos possession and forced them to punt. The Irish take possesion and will set up for the second quarter after two plays.
At the half the Irish lead 7-0 on the “Pick 6” from Kyle Hamilton.
The second quarter started with what can normally be called a “quick score” in a typical game. The true definition of quick score will follow. 3:13 into the the quarter after a series of runs by Book “keeper”, and a Chase Claypool 20 yard completion, Book scoress from one yard out on the “Book Push” to put the Irish up 14-0. The defense held serve after the the Irish score and forced a three and out on the Lobos. The irish punt on the ensuing possession gets great distance from Bramblett once again, this time for 48 yards to the NM 38.
Jaylon Elliott not to be not to be outdone by Hamilton intercepts Jones and returns it for two yards. On first down the Irish redefine “quick score” as a shovel pass to Avery Davis and takes it 59 yards for a one play, 59 yards in ten seconds. But yes, there is more. After another defensive stand, the Lobos are forced to punt again, this time a touch-back and the Irish would start o n their own 20 yard line. After an incomplete pass to Claypool, thanks to a penalty of pass interference on the Lobos, the Irish advance 15 yards. Another pass to Javon McKinely for 65 yards goes for a touchdown, this time two plays, 80 yards in 28 seconds, the score goes to 28-0.
The Irish defense continued to play fierce in the trenches. The next Lobos possession, Shaun Crawford wanted to join in the defensive pick club and the offense gets the ball back again. Once again the offense scores in rapid fashion. Two plays, 54 yards, in eleven seconds. To make the score 35-0. To end the half, Jonathan Doerer kicks a 36 yard field goal to bring the half time score to 38-7.
First Half Summary
The Irish scored on five drives, 326 yards of offense, and used only 4:31 of clock on their scoring drives. Time of Possession was 9:13 for the Lobos and 5:47 for the Irish. Typically if the opponents T.O.P outweighs yours there is a problem. That wasn’t the case on Saturday afternoon. The Irish defense for the first half held the Lobos total offense to 40 attempts for 155 yards.
The third quarter was like deja vu all over again for the Lobos. After receiving the kick-off to open the quarter, the tenacity of the Irish defense forced a quick three and out. The Irish offense runs out and takes care of business in short form. Sfter a pass to Tony Jones Jr for six yards, a touchdown pass to Chris Finke for 54 yards took only 39 seconds of game clock and two plays. Don’t blink was the theme of the Irish offensive prowess.
The Lobos tried to get something going in the third quarter, but it wasn’t going to happen. The only thing working for the Lobos was their running game. Why they tried to go pass, we will never know. After nine plays, the Irish took over on downs on their own 35. This time the Irish would chew up some clock on their scoring drive but not much. After a couple rushes by Jones Jr, Book finds Mckinley again for a 20 yard touchdown reception to put the Irish up 52-7. That drive culminated six plays, 65 yards and 1:58 of clock.
The Lobos had no answer for the Irish defense. The drive by the Lobos was once again halted by an Irish defensive forced turnover. This time a fumble recovered by TaRiq Bracy gets the Irish offense back on the field. This would the last possession for the Lobos and the start of the next Irish scoring drive. Phil Jurkovec also comes in as Book would be done for the day. 52-7 is the score at the end of the quarter.
To start the fourth quarter, a Phil Jurkovec 23 yard rush led to a C’Bo Flemister has one yard TD run to put the Irish up 59-7. The Irish sub-in Freshman QB Brendon Clark to come in and finish the mop up duty. Clark finishes the drive with a 22 yard TD pass to Braden Lenzy to put the Irish up 66-7. The Irish go on to win the game 66-14.
Coach Kelly Opening Statement: “Well, pleased with the victory,certainly, at home. You know, I thought that our team kind of found themselves a little bit today. We had been looking to go into a second week here and put the pieces together and I think by and large, they started to fall together for us today. You know, you saw a number of different players on the offensive side of the ball have significant roles in what we did offensively, and that was kind of, you know what we were expecting to kind of happen today and it came to fruition.”
“You know, I think the defense kind of set it up for us,the big interception by that kid, 14, who is — he’s around the ball. I mean, he just has a great nose for the football and the interception for a touchdown, you know, got us some great momentum, and then we were able to feed off that.”
” I thought Avery Davis’s electric run, who we incidentally gave the game ball to, for him being so humbles and a player and unselfish to flip from quarterback to running back to defense and back to the offensive side of the ball and come up big with an electric run that really got the entire team and the stadium into it.”
“How do you explain Kyle Hamilton’s ability to be around the football?”
Coach Kelly’s Response: “I mean, it starts with you know,really good vision, and he recognizes things for the first really well. Route recognition is outstanding. Some have a good pattern read recognition. Some don’t. He knows that when two is going to the flat, one it probably breaking back towards him, and he just has a natural sense and feel for route recognition. Two go vertical;I’m going to stay on top of two. Some guys have it. Some guys struggle with it. He’s got that in natural ability and then length, obviously helps quite a bit.”
“Regarding Davis, he’s obviously spent time on your offense in the past but it’s been a while. What is it about him that he was able to walk into that situation with very little work over the last several months and be productive today and how big was his playbook, or did we just see the short role that you had for him and it worked?”
Coach Kelly’s Response: “It was bigger than what we featured today. We wanted to get him involved a little bit today and we didn’t want to show a whole lot today.So he’s a smart kid, played high school football at a very good program. Knows the game well. Was able to retain most of our offense.”
Media Question: “When Avery flipped back to offense, how long did it take to get back up to speed?”
Ian’s Response: “He had to learn some of the plays and that but he’s really athletic. You saw that tonight. Someone,you might switch their position, you might think it’s going to be a bigger issue than it was with him. Shows the type of player he is and where he’s at mentally and he’s ready to go. Nothing better than to see him get that run tonight. I’m excited for him and I know he was,too. I like to say he belongs on offense. That’s what we like and we’ll keep him there.”
Media Question: “Could you describe what McKinley’s assets are?”
Ian’s Response: ” He’s really athletic and super strong. When you see him running, you saw four or five guys bounce off of him. I was super happy for him, and he’s faster than people think. So when you get him the ball in adrag like that and he can go all the way down the field and make four or five people miss, that’s huge and again, he has another touchdown on a back shoulder fade. He’s able to go there and be strong with his hands and bring down a fade ball. He’s someone you want on the perimeter and he’s someone we need this year and he’s doing great.”
🏈🏈🏈 Kyle Hamilton INT for a Touchdown, 1 Solo and 1 Assist Tackles
🏈🏈 Asmar Bilal 7 Solo, 1 Assist tackles
🏈 Bo Bauer 4 Solo tackles
🏈🏈🏈 Avery Davis 59 yards on a Touchdown Run
🏈🏈 Ian Book 15-24 Passing, 360 yards, 5 TD Passes, 46 Yards Rushing
🏈 Chase Claypool 96 receiving Yards, 1 Touchdown
🏈🏈🏈 Jay Bramblett 4 Punts 163 Yards/Long 48. Pivotal in the first ND defensive score of the game as he put the ball of the Lobos 2 yard line
The Wrap Up
So the Irish offense was slow getting out of the gate on their first couple of possessions. Charge by the “Pick 6” of Kyle Hamilton the Irish turned it on the in the second quarter. The defense had three interceptions and recovered a fumble. As well as making the Lobos a one dimensional team in the running game.
Third and short cannot be a problem against Georgia next weekend. The Irish are need to snap out of the early game funk and come out firing on all cylinders. It was great to see great distribution of the ball amongst the receiving and running back corp. The true test of the Irish will be played out on Saturday in Athens GA. 8 PM EST on CBS.
Cheers and Go Irish! ☘⚡🏈
We would also like to thank Tracey Saraceni for her photography excellence. Please visit her website www.traceyslens.weebly.com