Irish Romp as Expected

Notre Dame padded its statistics without breaking a sweat as the Irish outclassed Bowling Green by 52-0 on Saturday. Their 573 yards of offense included six touchdown passes; five from Ian Book in the first half and one after intermission by Phil Jurkovec, his career first. Meanwhile, the defense held the Falcons to 228 total yards. Bowling Green’s only serious scoring threat was a field goal attempt that Julian Okwara swatted down.

Both teams were able to clear the benches in the one-sided affair, although Brian Kelly stayed with his first team offense for 40 minutes. Book hit three easy scoring passes to wide open receivers in the first quarter, and any doubt regarding the outcome was erased. The senior continued to work on staying in the pocket to find his receivers, and the lack of a Falcon pass rush made this a relatively successful exercise.

Cole Kmet celebrates a touchdown catch

Nine Notre Dame players ran the ball and nine caught passes. C’Bo Flemister had the final Irish touchdown of the day and Tony Jones, Jr. had a second consecutive 100-yard rushing effort. Book was 21 of 27 for 261 yards and Jurkovec was 5 of 7 for 79 yards.

There were no noteworthy game-changing plays or dramatic moments as the game ran downhill from the start. The best news is the hosts did not report any significant injuries as they prepare for upcoming games with traditional rivals. Chase Claypool, who had two touchdown receptions, showed no ill effects from an ankle sprain he suffered in last week’s game.

Let’s review the answers to our pregame questions.

Can VanGorder’s defense cause any discomfort for the Irish attack? Only on the first series when the Irish elicited audible groans with two passes behind the line of scrimmage and a two-yard quarterback scramble.

How well will the Irish linebackers and secondary defend Wade’s short passing game? Wade was given an early hook in favor of Grant Loy, who managed to hit tight end Quintin Morris ten times for 92 yards when he wasn’t running for his life. The coverage was good and Notre Dame allowed only one play over 20 yards.

Can Notre Dame turn in a mistake-free performance? Yes. There were no turnovers and just one penalty for a false start. That’s progress!

Will the Irish defense score more points than the offense? Not today, but a shutout speaks for itself.

Can Jurkovec give Kelly a viable option to consider at the QB position? Kelly kept Book in the game far too long and did not give Jurkovec any snaps with the starting line or receivers. Still, Jurkovec performed well and flashed his skills as a runner and passer.

Will the Notre Dame special teams show signs of life? Chris Finke has one nice punt return, Okwara blocked a Bowling Green field goal attempt, and Jonathan Doerer hit a short three-pointer for the Irish. That’s more than we usually get.

How well will the NBC camera crew hide the empty seats? They didn’t pan the crowd up close, but the long range shots gave the appearance of a decent turnout. The few faces I did make out were students or people who looked like relatives of Jack Swarbrick.

The 4-1 Irish can now turn their attention to the playoff chase and a strong performance against the visiting USC Trojans next week. The Trojans had a bye this week while Notre Dame’s glorified scrimmage was every bit the success it was supposed to be.

Tell John what you think in the comments below

11 thoughts on “Irish Romp as Expected

  1. There were no serious injuries, and while I wouldn’t describe the performance as laser-focused, it was very workmanlike and showed no hint that anyone was slacking or looking ahead. Glad to put this one behind us.

    I’m also glad that Michigan won, practically ensuring that they’ll be ranked when we meet them.

      • Fair, but I’d rather ND be the ones who crushes their dreams. They destroy their own strength of schedule, then we wreck the whole league with one soul-crushing beat down. I’d even pull for them to beat the Buckeyes, if that means clearing out a playoff contender.

    • Davis scored the next-to-last Irish TD on a pass play from Jurkovec. Flemister scored the final touchdown on a run when Clark was in the game at QB.

  2. I’ve always wondered what is Kelly’s rationale for determining when to remove Book and insert PJ. Book should have been done at halftime and PJ should have gotten to play with the starters for the third quarter.

    • I saw a couple reasons here. First, Ian needed some time to get his feet under him, literally; more reps meant more confidence-building for teams with better pass rushes, like USC and Michigan. Second, Coach Kelly wanted to give Ian a shot at equaling Brady Quinn’s single-game record for TD passes. (Fact-check me here, but I think Coach Kelly said as much Sunday.) After that possession, there was no legitimate point to keeping him in.

  3. Real Irish Fan says:

    “the few faces that I did make out looked like relatives of Jack Swarbrick” – you haters will always hate, never find any positives. You should be a Michigan fan, stop pretending to be an Irish fan.

  4. I was at the game. The stands were not as empty as you might think – despite the lack of challenge from the opponent (and I have been watching BGSU games for the past three years and there were no surprises whatsoever), there are still enough Irish fans that want to go to games and see their team. Even if they score 52 points easier than a beefed-up Madden ’18 team on your Xbox.

    Was it full? Nope – a couple of empty seats just to my left for the entire game (although those seats were not available for sale on the website, so someone wasted good money). Was it a fun game? Well, not if you were looking for a competitive contest. Was it a great time? Hell yes, especially for someone that only goes back every couple of years.

    My only issue? Too many damn new buildings on campus that I barely recognize anything outside of the general parameters of North Quad and South Quad. Roads are gone, the library loop is really wacky, there are more buildings behind the Alumni/Dillon/SDH/Fisher/Pangborn strip that I don’t recognize (I guess they are dorms), and the bookstore is essentially “off campus” at this point. Call me a curmudgeon, but I guess that’s “progress” after being gone for 26 years. (And I had the same gripe in 2013 when I went back then, too!).

    Here’s hoping the “practice” that they got on Saturday was enough to help them fine tune some things for next weeks contest against the Trojans. At least the Falcon band played some variety throughout the game.