Irish Swamp Hapless Tech

Jack Coan led a balanced attack and the Notre Dame defense scored two touchdowns as the Fighting Irish overwhelmed Georgia Tech by 55-0 on Senior Day. Coan hit 15 of 20 passes for 285 yards and a pair of scores in just over two quarters of action. Linebacker Jack Kiser recorded the first touchdown for the Irish with a 50-yard interception return and senior Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa closed out the scoring with a 70-yard fumble return.

The game was a mismatch from the start. If it were a heavyweight fight, it would have been stopped before the first period ended. Although Notre Dame won every conceivable matchup, the dominance of its defensive front against the matadors who impersonated offensive linemen for Tech was the most compelling aspect of the rout. The Irish had six sacks, ten tackles for loss and two turnovers. Led by Isaiah Foskey, they battered Georgia Tech quarterback Jordan Yates without mercy.

Almost everything went right for Notre Dame. The lone exception was their first offensive possession. Chris Tyree returned the opening kickoff just past midfield and Coan quickly found Kevin Austin with a pass to the Yellowjacket ten yard line. Two sacks later, the Irish had to settle for a field goal.

Tech’s first play from scrimmage provided a preview of coming attractions. Yates barely got off a throw under pressure that Kiser scooped up and returned inside the five yard line. It was ruled an incomplete pass rather than a fumble, however, so the visitors kept the ball. That didn’t last long. Yates was running for his life a few plays later when he chucked an ill-advise pass right into the arms of Kiser, who ran untouched into the end zone for a 10-0 Irish lead.

The floodgates opened as Notre Dame scored touchdowns on its next five possessions to complete a 45-0 first half. Michael Mayer had a 52-yard touchdown reception and both Kyren Williams and Logan Diggs scored twice. Georgia Tech remained in disarray. Their lone scoring threat came at the end of the half and was almost comical. Backup kicker Jude Kelley attempted a 47-yard field goal with a low trajectory boot that was swatted down by Tagovailoa-Amosa.

Logan Diggs scored on a 5-yard run and a 20-yard screen pass

Notre Dame emptied the bench in the third quarter and the scoring barrage slowed down. A 68-yard run by Tyler Buchner set up another field goal by Jonathan Doerer to make it 48-0 late in the period. When Yates answered with a 54-yard run into Irish territory, it appeared the Yellowjackets might get on the scoreboard. Foskey ended those dreams by sacking Yates and forcing a fumble in the process. Tagovailoa-Amosa picked up the ball and rumbled into the end zone surrounded by a convoy of his mates. His first career touchdown was a great moment for the entire team, but also for Myron and his family, who had traveled from Hawaii to see it.

The Irish outgained Tech by 514-224. Yates finished 14 of 28 for 96 yards and the lone interception by Kiser. Star tailback Jahmyr Gibbs was held in check throughout. He ran for 58 yards and did not catch a pass.

Let’s review the answers to our pregame questions for further analysis.

Will Notre Dame’s freshmen continue to make winning plays when called upon? Diggs and Audric Estime were impressive on offense, as were Lorenzo Styles and Deion Colzie. Joe Alt played another strong game at left tackle. Buchner had some trouble making things work with the third string offensive line in front of him. He simply needs more work.

Can Gibbs extend his streak of long scoring plays in each game? His longest run from scrimmage was 17 yards, so it was not a good day for him or his team.

Which defensive line will do the best job of pressuring the quarterback? Tech had a couple of sacks early but Notre Dame was all over Yates virtually every time he dropped back to pass.

Will the Irish finally get off to a fast start on offense? The opening drive stalled in the red zone, but Kiser’s score must have motivated the offense. Five consecutive touchdowns to close a 45-0 half was by far their best stretch this season.

Will Tech continue to struggle on third down and in the red zone? I don’t believe they saw the red zone all day, but third down was a disaster for them when they managed to get that far.

Which tailback (Williams or Gibbs) will have a better afternoon? No clear winner here. Both were more lightly used than normal due to the one-sided nature of the game. Williams had 120 total yards with 56 rushing, 31 receiving and 33 on punt returns. Gibbs had 122 total yards including 58 rushing, 0 receiving and 64 on kickoff returns.

Will we see Rudy play a few snaps late in the fourth quarter? Oh, yes, and it was glorious. Walk-on quarterback Cole Capen was inserted to be the holder on a successful extra point by Harrison Leonard. Capen returned later to quarterback the Irish offense as they ran out the clock to end the game.

Notre Dame will now wait to see if its most impressive game of the season is enough to raise their position in the playoff rankings. The Irish started the day in the eighth position and will jump Michigan State, and possibly Oregon. All they can do at this point is to win the last game at Stanford and await the fallout from the rest of the country.

13 thoughts on “Irish Swamp Hapless Tech

  1. ND really just needs Oregon and Cincinatti to lose a game. Oregon has 3 tough games – Utah 2x and Beavs

    Cinci has 2 games, but only realistic chance of loss is vs. Houston in AAC title game.

    However, ND also gets in on OSU loss to Wisconsin in Big 10 title game or Bama loss to Auburn or a beatdown by Georgia..
    Any 2 of above scenarios should put ND in

  2. Awesome win for ND!!!! What a way to celebrate a blowout victory on Senior Day!! It was really nice to see a lot of different players get playing time. Especially the walk-on players. Go Irish beat Cardinal!!!!!

  3. Dominant performance and possibly best coaching job of Kelly’s tenure. The two freshmen RBs look really good. What a deep and talented group!

    Playoff talk:
    The Good- Oregon losing.
    The Bad -The state of Oklahoma remaining with 1 loss heading into their match up.

    For one week only, I’ll be rooting for Michigan over OSU simply because their more likely to lose in the Big Ten Title game.

    As I’ve said for weeks, ND has a pretty decent chance of getting in and still contend it’s coming down to the Bama/GA game.

    Let’s go Irish!!!

  4. I didn’t expect the first half explosion since like Vannie said they tend to start slow and play sluggish on senior day, so that’s what I was expecting. Even though this was a great win I think ND still has only defeated one team currently in the top 25. I’m not sure how the other playoff hopefuls fare. tOSU has defeated several teams that were ranked at the time they beat them but as of now it looks like they, too, have only defeated one team currently ranked in MSU. If they defeat Michigan they will have dispatched two top ten teams while losing to Oregon.

    Congratulations to all the seniors. The provided great leadership this year and I’ll miss watching some of them play.

  5. Antone Perrone says:

    Great win for the Irish and although Stanford apparently has one of the worst teams now they’ve had in years, they’d like nothing better then to destroy ND’s banner year with an upset. Kelly won’t let that happen.
    On another note, what is the deal with Kyle Hamilton? Is he really hurt that bad, or is he protecting himself for the draft? Not much has been said about the extent of his injury, but it’s curious to say the least about the situation from Kyle’s and ND’s standpoint.

    • Jerome McKeever says:

      Kelly did address Hamilton’s recuperation, saying in effect that he’s out for the regular season, since it will take that long for him to heal. Kelly added that Hamilton has a lot at stake and his family is very concerned. I have seen Hamilton projected as a top 5 pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Obviously, Hamilton’s NFL career is taking top priority.

  6. Irish in the South says:

    Best first quarter all year. Dominant performance and excellent play by the defense. congratulations to our seniors who have a game to remember.

    Oregon’s loss gives us a chance to move up to maybe number six. With conference championship games ahead….Who knows, strange things can happen.

  7. Hard to believe but the Irish now have a real shot at making the playoffs. I asked at the beginning of the year if this would be a reload or rebuild year. I think ND has shown it is reloading. A decisive win at Stanford and a Michigan and Alabama loss would get them into the playoffs (I think).

  8. If the team wants to be considered for the playoffs, it’s time to dominate rather than slog past an inferior opponent. Can such a dream come true on Saturday? I wouldn’t bet on it.

    These are your words, do you still feel the same way?

    • Georgia Tech certainly was a lot worse than their talent level and previous performances indicated. They were 18 point underdogs but that was the worst game I’ve seen any team at any level play this season. That includes the Bears, Lions and Jaguars. How did they beat North Carolina by 23 points and lose to Clemson by just 14-8? Just crazy. I wonder if they will bother to show up next week against Georgia or just claim a mass COVID infection and take a forfeit.

      Notre Dame deserves much of the credit for the win though. The defense swarmed and the offense finally found some consistency after the first series. I hope ND can earn the benefit of the doubt with the playoff committee when compared against the Oklahoma teams, Michigan and even Cincinnati. That remains to be seen. Stanford doesn’t give them an opportunity for a statement victory but I’d like to see another great performance next week anyway.