Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 1, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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26 OCT. 1, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED IAN BOOK TAKES ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITY Not many knew what to expect when it was revealed that junior quarterback Ian Book would be given the start at Wake Forest. Head coach Brian Kelly and com‑ pany were mum on the situation leading into the game, and it was unclear if there would be a rotation between Book and senior Brandon Wimbush, who started the first three games of the season. Book received the nod and did not squander his opportunity, complet‑ ing 25 of 34 passes (73.5 percent) for 325 yards with two touchdowns. He added 43 yards and three scores on 10 rushing attempts for good mea‑ sure, leading the Irish to a 56‑27 vic‑ tory over the Demon Deacons. His five total touchdowns were the most since DeShone Kizer, now with the Green Bay Packers, accounted for six versus Texas in 2016. And it was the most passing yards for a Notre Dame quarterback since Kizer threw for 471 against Syracuse in 2016. "We accelerated the reps, but he didn't know for sure until Thurs‑ day," Kelly said of when Book knew he would get the nod. "We started to up his reps, but Brandon got a lot of the first‑team reps, too. "I would say Ian probably started to get a sense later in the week that he was going to play quite a bit." Book averaged 13 yards per com‑ pletion, the most by an Irish signal‑ caller with at least 25 completions in a game since Jimmy Clausen aver‑ aged 13.44 against Michigan in 2009. "Physicality is the thing that would jump out at me," Kelly said of Book's improvement from 2017. "He's stron‑ ger, and he's faster. He sticks his foot in the ground, and he's gone. He's pretty good." Expectations will run high for Book moving forward after the performance. "Every week, that's our mindset," Book said. "We want to be better, we want to score more points and we want to be an elite offense. It starts again tomorrow. We'll put this be‑ hind us and get going for next week." SPREADING THE WEALTH Notre Dame was able to spread the ball around a bit more in the 29‑point win over Wake Forest. Junior quarterback Ian Book found 10 different players in the pass‑ ing game, and eight had multiple catches. Senior tight end Alizé Mack led the way with six receptions for 61 yards. Three players — Mack, junior wide receiver Chase Claypool and senior wide receiver Chris Finke — reeled in at least four passes. Tight ends and running backs hauled in 13 of Book's 25 comple‑ tions. Junior Tony Jones Jr. and soph‑ omores Jafar Armstrong and Avery Davis each had two, while sopho‑ more tight end Brock Wright caught one, which went for a three‑yard score — the first of his career. It was the first time the Irish of‑ fense hit the double‑digit mark in terms of receivers involved since 2016 against Army. Head coach Brian Kelly and of‑ fensive coordinator Chip Long were thrilled with Book's ability to spread the wealth among his weapons on offense. "It's where we wanted it to go and grow," Kelly said of the menu against Wake Forest. "The balance of run and pass is why this offense brought Chip in. You saw what it should look like today." RUNNING BACKS ARE COMING ALIVE After a rough start in the first two weeks against Michigan and Ball State, Notre Dame's running backs — junior Tony Jones Jr., and soph‑ omores Jafar Armstrong and Av‑ ery Davis — have found more of a groove in the last two games. Against the Wolverines and Cardi‑ nals, Irish running backs combined for 195 yards and five touchdowns on 54 carries (3.6 yards per attempt). Despite finding the end zone five times, the group struggled to make impact plays in the run game. Versus Vanderbilt and Wake For‑ est, the Irish ball carriers logged 54 rushing attempts for 360 yards (6.7 yards per carry) and three scores. "They needed these games to re‑ ally find themselves," head coach Brian Kelly said of Jones, Armstrong and Davis. "Now, they know they can run through players. They still have to pick their feet up and make some more plays, but we just needed games to find ourselves offensively. "That's why I knew this was the week we needed to do this. Ian [Book] needed that supporting cast." DEFENSE COMES UP STRONG Dating back to last season, Wake Forest had accumulated more than 500 total yards in four straight games. Notre Dame brought an end to that streak by holding the Demon Dea‑ cons to 398 total yards, with only 139 through the air. Wake Forest rushed for 259 yards and three touchdowns, but it took them 61 carries (4.2 yards per attempt). The Notre Dame defense came up clutch on several occasions to help fuel the offense. A fumble by sophomore wide re‑ WAKE FOREST GAME NOTES BY COREY BODDEN Ten different Fighting Irish players hauled in at least one reception, among them junior wide receiver Chase Claypool (four catches for 51 yards and a score). PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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