Will the Irish be ready to play the Cyclones? That was a topic of discussion in social media circles the past week. I was asked if the Irish were prepared to play against ISU. My answer was, “they will be ready.” Matt Campbell while in the pre-game press conference had his game face on. Most of the discussion still lurks from the loss at Michigan, coming off a bye week. The locker room is a place where situations may arise. Those actions will effect a team and their ability to perform on game day.
When you look back at this game, there were two defining plays that set the tempo. The punt by Jay Bramblett that led to the Alohi Gilman forced fumble and the Chase Claypool recovery. Then the sack by Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah leading to Owusu-Koramoah recovering it. Those two plays took the wind out of the Cyclones and their fans in attendance.
After going three and out, the Irish got the ball back on a dropped ball by Tarique Milton on the ISU42. Jonathan Doerer put the first points on the board for the Irish via 39 yard Field Goal Attempt.
One of the keys to an Irish victory was to get to Brock Purdy. Purdy is a very good quarterback and the Irish defense had to find a way to get in his head early and it happened on the fifth play of the Cyclones first drive. Owusu-Koramoah got the sack and the fumble recovery. The sack quieted the Cyclones fan base. With turnovers comes the need to put more points on the board and the Irish did just that. After a 26 yard run by Tony Jones Jr, Book finds Claypool on a fade away pass in the end zone.
The Fightin’ Irish had three possessions in the first quarter. Scoring on two out of the three. The first quarter demonstrated that the Irish can control the line of scrimmage on offense and defense. They also converted two fourth down plays on each of the scoring drives. The Irish lead 10-0 after the first quarter.
Special Teams contributed to start off the second quarter. On the ensuing kick-off after the Cyclones kicked a field goal, Braden Lenzy takes the ball and returns it 26 yards to the ISU35. Unfortunately the Irish weren’t able to move the ball and the play would have to a 51 yard FGA by Jonathan Doerer.
To add to the excitement the defense once again stepped up against Purdy and the Cyclones offensive line. On fourth and one the defense stopped Breece Hall for no gain and the Irish take over on downs. Two plays later, Book finds Claypool for a 43 yard pass, initially ruled a touchdown. The review showed other wise and was called down at the ISU1. That set up Jafar Armstrong up for a one yard TD scamper. The Irish grow their lead to 20-3.
The Irish defense bent a little bit, late in the second quarter. That bend, don’t break forced Coach Campbell to send out his punting team again, The Cyclones convert from 26 yards out. The Irish were definitely prepared to play as they took a 20-6 lead into the locker room at the half. ISU did not have answer for the Irish on either side of the ball.
The Irish defense was not going to let ISU come out of the locker room and gain confidence in the second half. The Irish defense made Purdy one dimensional because the pass game was not working to open the second half. That cannot be said for the Irish on offense. Tony Jones Jr delivered a present to his team and his mother Natalie as the next play Jones Jr broke an 84 yard TD run and a great stiff arm to boot. Jones Jr also set a Camping World Bowl record with that run. The rout is on and the scores grows to 27-6
The defense continued in their defiant ways. Forcing a three and out, the Irish continued to pressure Purdy and force him to play off balance. Late in the third quarter, with the keeping all the plays in from of them, Purdy was able to penetrate the 50 yard line and set his team up for another FGA. Prior to the FGA Purdy is dropped for a sack by Adetokundo Ogundeji. From 42 yards, the field goal was good and Cyclones were only allowed three points once again. 27-9 is the score.
The last Irish drive of the quarter once again was spread out and distributed to an array of players. One of those players was Chris Finke, playing in his last game at Notre Dame was on the receiving end of a 20 yard pass from Book. That reception got the Irish to the ISU5, where the drive stalled at the ISU1. Doerer once again kicked flawlessly and converted from 19 yards away to put the Irish up 30-9 to end the third quarter.
With a 30-9 lead, the Irish did everything to keep the Cyclones from scoring. The Irish defense allowed five total yards of offense in the fourth quarter. The defense put a minus thirteen in Rush Yards, while allowing eighteen yards passing. The Fightin’ Irish put additional points on the board late in the fourth quarter. From 39 yards Doerer split the uprights to give the Irish a final score of 33-9.
Let’s give the defense a shout out here. In the second half the Irish defense allowed only 68 total yards of offense. Overall on the day only 272 yards of total offense over 60 minutes. Brock Purdy is a very good quarterback that came up against a defense that had a chip on its shoulders. The Fightin’ Irish came to play and win this game.
Camping World Bowl MVP
To The Victors, Go The Spoils
Post Game Press Conference
Chase Claypool: “I appreciate everyone, speaking to my family, my friends, you know, everyone who supported me throughout the years to get me to this point. For a long time, something like this was a dream, you know, and it’s something that was a dream that couldn’t be reached. But, you know, I hope I’m an example and live an example of someone if you just keep on dreaming, then that dream will come true, so yep.”
Coach Brian Kelly: “I’m just so proud of our football team, my staff and coaches. You know, 2019 will be one that I will always remember for a group of guys that just loved to play the game. They had such a strong brotherhood. They did not listen to what the naysayers had to say about them. The negative tone, the negative people out there. All they cared about was playing the game. It was clean. It was about competing, always looking to better themselves.”
” Even this week, you know, ‘Notre Dame is not ready to play.’ They used that as another form of motivation to show people wrong. You just read this team wrong and it’s just so satisfying that this group has been rewarded with 11 wins because they have thought only about their teammates and how they can work to get better each and every day. So they overcame adversity, lived the life lessons of it. They’re not perfect. They never pretended to be perfect and never wanted to be, but always strived for excellence. So I’ll always remember this group as a special group.”
Media Question: “First of all, Chase, great opening statement to give Coach time. But, Coach, this question is for you. Would you say that this is the most complete performance of your 11 wins? And, if so, how great is it that you got it to happen at the final game?”
Coach Kelly Response: “Yeah. All three phases were outstanding today. I thought the defensive performance, when you hold an offense that put 40 points on a team that’s playing in the playoffs in Oklahoma, to no touchdowns, you know, you can’t hide from that. A team that is a prolific offense, to not score a touchdown today, they had plenty of time to prepare. The defense is without some really good players as well. And [we] just did an outstanding job today. I thought our special teams was outstanding.”
“And then offensively, you know, we ran the ball effectively, play-action pass, spread the field around. And when you got playmakers like Chase Claypool, Tony Jones ran the ball effectively, Ian Book, it was a comprehensive game plan, and all three phases shown themselves very well today. “
Media Question: “What’s the biggest thing you guys are going to take away from your four years at Notre Dame ahead in your career?”
Khalid Kareem Response:”Wow, I mean, football, it’s a very trying sport. You have to really lean on your brot hers and your coaches and just your circle, because, I mean, everyone’s story is not the same. I mean, I struggled early, and I just lean on my brothers and they really pull me through. And those are some relationships that I literally will not forget. And I feel like that’s the biggest thing taking away, just the friendships and all the relationships that I’ve made over the four years here.”
Chase Claypool Response: “Yeah. Same with me. Just to second that. You know, being so far away from home in another country, you need a family that’s going to have your back through the ups and downs, and these guys did that every step of the way. If it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be here right now, because it’s hard. It’s hard. It’s really hard. So, thankfully, I had a good family to lean on and they were always there for me.”
Shake Down The Thunder Sports Question: “You played a big part in some of those early points. You had the fumble recovery there early. How did it feel to help the team out and take the wind out of the sails of Iowa State?”
Chase Claypool Response:”Yeah. I guess it was a good thing I missed the tackle at the beginning because our D-boys kind of shut the ball out and gave me a gift. We feed off each other, us and the defense. You know, they tell us they’re going to get us a stop, and then we have to go score for them. So, you know, it’s give and take. I was happy we were able to put something on the board right after that turnover and then continue that on. The defense kept giving us good field position, good confidence, because, you know, once we get a lead, you know, we can start opening up our playbook a little bit.”
Media Question:”Coach, you talked about the fans being disappointed with this destination. How comfortable are you in the current construct of the postseason of where Notre Dame is right now? This is an 11 win team now and you’re playing on December 28th.”
Coach Kelly Response:”Yeah, I mean, those are those are things that are out of our control. All we try to do is, the games that are in front of us, play those games. You know, there are others that control those things. And as I told our guys, there are things that are out of our control. And all we can control and is how we prepare, how we play, and then others make those decisions. You know, how do you sit, you know, at 14, 15, 16 for five weeks in a row and win games by an average margin of 25, 26 points? We can’t control those things so just keep playing. And so it’s similar to your question, is, we don’t control those things so we don’t worry about those things. We just keep playing. And we love where we are as an independent and we’ll continue to control the things that we can.”