Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 8, 2018*

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

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Page 23 of 55

24 OCT. 8, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED TURNING POINT Our original choice was with the game tied at 14, a Stanford punt was placed inside the Notre Dame 5-yard line with 2:03 left until half- time, but several Cardinal players missed chances to down it there and it resulted in a touchback. Junior quarterback Ian Book then ran the two-minute drill to perfection, com- pleting 5 of 5 passes for 74 yards to propel a 21-14 halftime lead. However, been there, done that before versus Stanford. The Cardi- nal kept hanging around, and after a missed Justin Yoon 50-yard field goal attempt with 13:51 left and the Irish holding on to a 24-17 lead, Stanford went backwards 13 yards before punting. Book and Co. responded with a 58-yard touchdown march, capped with an eight-yard scoring pass to se- nior Miles Boykin. Those two fourth- quarter sequences helped finish the job for the Irish the way they couldn't from 2015-17 versus Stanford. STAT OF THE GAME Complementing the "Turning Point" in the fourth quarter was the defensive domination that allowed Stanford only 31 yards of offense in the second half — and minus-13 in the fourth quarter. Stanford had six possessions in the second half. Four resulted in three-and-out punts, and a fifth had a turnover on the first play, with senior linebacker Te'von Coney in- tercepting a pass to set up Notre Dame's final touchdown in the 38- 17 victory. The second-half Cardinal drives were: • Three plays for one yard. • Three plays for zero yards. • Eight plays for 53 yards (field goal). • Three plays for minus-13 yards. • One play for an interception by Coney. • Three plays for minus-10 yards. PHYSICAL FITNESS From 2009-17, one of the primary storylines in the Notre Dame-Stan- ford series was the physical tough- ness of Stanford along both the offensive and defensive lines. The Cardinal had a blue-collar identity about them, and that helped them build a 7-2 advantage in the series during that time. The feeling was if Notre Dame could just hold its own in the trenches against the Cardinal, the chances of victory would be en- hanced. In the 2018 meeting, the superior physicality of the Irish was reflected beyond just the 272-55 advantage in rushing yards. After not "looking the part" phys- ically during the 4-8 season in 2016, the impact of second-year strength and conditioning coach Matt Balis and his staff has been conspicuous. They laid strong, upgraded ground- work in 2017, but have elevated to a higher plane across the board in 2018. THREE OBSERVATIONS BY LOU SOMOGYI OFFENSE: WR MILES BOYKIN AND RB DEXTER WILLIAMS Notre Dame had two big-time performances from its offensive play- makers. Boykin, a senior wide receiver, set career highs with 11 catches and 144 receiving yards, and his fourth-quarter touchdown made it a 31-17 game to finally give Notre Dame breathing room against the Cardinal. Williams, a senior running back, made his presence felt in his first appear- ance of the season. He raced 45 yards for a touchdown on his first carry of the season, and with Tony Jones Jr. hobbled and Jafar Armstrong out with an injury, he took over. Williams finished with career highs in carries (21) and rushing yards (161). DEFENSE: DT JERRY TILLERY The senior defensive tackle was the biggest star on a night when a number of Notre Dame players put together outstanding performances. Tillery made his presence felt early in the game, shooting into the back- field twice on the opening drive of the game, forcing a quick Stanford three-and-out. He tied a Notre Dame record with four sacks, three of which came during the second half to help put the game away. Stanford's last-ditch effort to get back into the game was ended by Tillery, who made back-to-back sacks to start the drive. The Cardinal were forced to punt and never got the ball back. SPECIAL TEAMS: P TYLER NEWSOME The fifth-year senior captain was matched up against Stanford's Jake Bai- ley, one of the nation's best specialists. Bailey was on top of his game, but Newsome was even better. Newsome's four boots averaged 51.2 yards, and his booming punts pre- vented the Cardinal from getting their return game going and helped the Irish win the field position battle. TOP PLAYERS OF THE GAME BY BRYAN DRISKELL Senior wide receiver Miles Boykin set new personal career highs in catches (11) and receiving yards (144) during the victory, nabbing four for 64 yards on one touchdown drive and finishing another with an eight-yard score. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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