The “HOLY WAR” lived up to the hype that was talked about all week on social media. ABC Sports was fixated on the Ian Book vs Phil Jurkovec match-up almost all game long. Lost in all the discussion was how well Notre Dame was doing as the game progressed. There is also a new Deputy in town and his name is Ben Skowronek. Skowronek has become Book’s number one receiver for the obvious reasons. Book has also gained some composure since the reboot of the season occurred October 10th.
The most important part is that the offense and defense are focused on what’s in front of them. There were some sloppy plays in the BC game, but nothing that can’t be fixed. Coach Kelly has often said “it continues to be a work in progress” and that’s an important point to understand. The Fightin’ Irish are doing what’s asked of the coaching staff on and off the field.
In closing, the hardest part to understand is, why do opponents continue to give ND the first shot of scoring? BC wins the coin toss and opts to defer to the second half. It’s just a process that keeps on happening. Saturday that was no different.
The Fightin’ Irish opened their first drive with a combination of pass and rush. Book went 4-4 on the first drive until the fifth pass was mishandled by Michael Mayer. The drive ultimately gets stopped at the BC5 and Jonathan Doerer connects on a twenty three yard FG to put the Irish up 3-0.
Phil Jurkovec has had this game circled on his calendar since he went into the NCAA Transfer Portal. He had scores to settle and wanted to show why he should have been QB1 and not Book. Jurkovec played lights out on the BC first drive. After his first two passes for fifteen the twenty yards, on the fourth play he was reacquainted with former teammate Shaun Crawford. Crawford brought the heavy and sacked Jurkovec for an eight yard loss. Jurkovec achieved success on the drive as BC marched eighty yards to go up 7-3. After the BC defense forced a fumble on Chris Tyree at the ND19, BC gained only five yards and had to settle for a FG from forty ones yards out to go up 10-3.
Book was not going to let the game get out of hand. Just two weeks ago BC held a lead against Clemson at halftime. Book was not going to allow that to happen. After hitting Avery Davis for twenty two yards and Kyren Williams for twenty, Book has the Irish driving down the to the BC33. Ian helps his own cause with a twelve yard “Book Keeper” and sets the Irish up just outside the Red Zone. Book hits Skowronek in the right corner of the end zone for a ten yard TD pass. The Irish end the quarter 10-10.
First Quarter Stats
Jurkovec seemed to lose some composure in the second block. He went 3-11, zero Td’s. As BC had possession at the end of the first quarter, you can tell Jurkovec wanted another TD against his former team. The biggest play of their possession was a thirty four yard pass to Jaelen Gill for 34 yards. After the stifling ND defense stops them at the ND 14, BC again settles for another FG, this time from thirty one yards. To go back to the lead 13-10.
Book knows how to get this game under control and that’s by continuing to put TD’s on the board. Book helps his cause once again by seeing green in front of him and goes on a twenty yard run to the BC50. That play helped what happened next. Book completes a 48 yard pass to Davis to get the ball to the BC2. That set’s C’Bo Flemister up for the two yard TD scamper to put the Irish up 17-13.
Then it finally happens. The ND defense forces BC to punt for the first time and stops the consecutive drives of scoring as well as holding BC to negative one yards. The defense played stout and getting into Jurkovec’s head. Book also knows what to do when you get the ball on the fifty yard line. The big play that sets up the next Irish TD, is a nineteen yard pass to Javon McKinley to the BC19. From the the BC13 Book scrambled and got something out of nothing, he hits Skowronek for thirteen yards on the left hand of the field for the TD. Irish go up 24-13.
Let’s fast forward a bit. ND defense holds BC to no points after the fumble by Kyren Williams and forces BC to go three and out. Once again ND ends up with great field position at the BC49 on the Daelin Hayes fumble recovery.
Irish go away from the sorta heavy pass game and go rush instead. From the BC23, it is a “Book Keeper” play as Ian runs for 16 to the BC7. Who do you go to in this situation? You guessed it, Skowronek. From seven yards, Book throws it left again and puts the Irish up 31-16 to close out the half. Skowronek with two TD’s in the second quarter.
Second Quarter Stats
At the half all the Stats are in ND’s favor despite a couple miscues on offense. ND Total Yards 327 BC 160, ND 114 Rush Yards BC 29, Pass Yards ND 213 BC 131 Time Of Possession ND 17:25 BC 12:35. Book is 17-23 and three TD passes and Jurkovec is 10-20 and one TD pass. Tale of the tape is showing the correct status of QB1 at Notre Dame.
Everyone will tell you that coming out of halftime and you get the ball, you need to score. Well Jurkovec tried to do it, and the ND defense didn’t let him do it. After opening up with a twenty eight yard pass, Jurkovec was shutdown by his former teammates. They also chewed up a lot of clock doing it. After eleven plays, sixty six yards and 4:37 used, the ND offense took over at the ND9. It gets a little bit messy at this point by both teams.
Book completes a pass to Skowronek for twenty six yards to the BC40 and the ball was popped loose by BC and they take over at the BC39. The Next play Jurkovec is intercepted by Jack Kiser and the Irish get the ball back at the BC43. The Irish offense makes quick work of the turnover. After two successful rushes by Tyree two and thirteen yards, Flemister received a monster pass from Book that sets himself up for one yard TD run to put the Irish up 38-16 late in the quarter.
Late in the third quarter, the Fightin’ Irish have made Jurkovec a one dimensional offense. BC gets the ball and they just the heck out of it. Only four pass plays on the drive. BC scores a late TD in the third to bring the score to 38-23 Fightin’ Irish.
Opening the fourth quarter, Davis starts off with a twenty nine yard trickery play that puts them to the BC28.
Book takes the next play and runs it in from one yard out to put the Irish up 45-23 early in the quarter. But Jurkovec has a little fit left in him. After going three and out and ND missing a FG from forty eight yards, Jurkovec got another chance. From the BC30, BC drives 6 plays, 70 yards and 1:28 of clock to get the final score to 45-31.
The Wrap Up
With all the talk now settled, the Fightin’ Irish move to 8-0 and 7-0 in the ACC. There is no questioning that Ian Book deserves to be QB1. 20-27 for 283 yards passing, 3 Pass TD’s, a rushing TD, led all Rushers with 85 yards and a QBR 198.8, that’s a phenomenal day. Ben Skowronek had a career day with three TD receptions. He had only two TD receptions coming into the game so he doubled his numbers today. C’Bo Flemister ran for two TD’s, and now has ten on the season.
The score 45-31 is not reflective of the game. ND Total Yards was 557 to BC 357, ND 274 Rush compared to BC 85. Book was 20-28 while Jurkovec went 18-40 and an INT. The offensive line refused let Book be sacked while Hayes got to Jurkovec.
And no PUNTS by the Fightin’ Irish on Saturday meant that Jay Bramblett took on sole activity of assisting with FG’s and PAT’s.
The Fightin’ Irish have a bye week. They will begin to prepare for UNC on November 27th.
Cheers and Go Irish!☘🏈🌩