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20 OCT. 7, 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI N otre Dame's 35-20 victory versus No. 18 Virginia could aptly be titled "The End Game." Defensive ends, that is. Trailing 17-14 at halftime, the No. 10-ranked Fighting Irish (3-1) used a superb second-half defensive effort — specifically the pass rush by the contingent of ends, led by senior Julian Okwara, that helped result in eight total sacks — to propel them to a victory versus the Cavaliers (4-1). Notre Dame ran only eight plays for 20 yards in the third quarter, yet it outscored the Cavaliers 14-0 to take a 28-17 lead after those 15 minutes. The turnaround began with a forced fumble of Virginia quarter- back Bryce Perkins on a rush by se- nior end Jamir Jones, replacing in- jured senior Daelin Hayes, that was returned 48 yards by junior tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa to the Vir- ginia 7-yard line. Two plays later, senior running back Tony Jones Jr. scored from two yards out. Shortly thereafter, a sack by Ok- wara generated another fumble that senior end Ade Ogundeji returned for a 23-yard touchdown. Notre Dame's offense had only 195 yards through the first three quar- ters before finishing with 343. Jones scored three touchdowns and rushed for a career-high 131 yard on 18 car- ries, but it was the Fighting Irish de- fense that was the impetus behind their 21-3 dominance in the second half. "They were exactly what I wanted them to be," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said of his troops bounc- ing back from a 23-17 defeat at No. 3 Georgia and then trailing at halftime versus the Cavaliers. "They were de- termined, they were persistent, they didn't panic. "Many teams earlier that I've had here would not have found a way to win that game, but this is a group that has really developed a persis- tence about them in the way they do things on a day-to-day basis. "This is not just about playing football; this is about the way they do things every single day, and it showed up." FIRST QUARTER: NOTRE DAME, 14-7 Top Moment: With the score tied 7-7, Virginia was driving again and had second-and-six at Notre Dame's 37-yard line when Okwara sacked and stripped the football from Cava- liers quarterback Perkins, and recov- ered the loose ball as well. The Fight- ing Irish took possession at their 46-yard line at the 2:07 mark. Four plays later and aided by two Virginia holding penalties, sopho- more running back C'Bo Flemis- ter powered his way to an 11-yard touchdown run with 18 seconds remaining. Standout Performers: Prior to the sack and lost fumble, Perkins had completed all seven of his passes for 114 yards. For Notre Dame, senior quarterback Ian Book was 8-of-8 passing for 68 yards. Stats: Notre Dame finished with 102 total yards: 68 passing and 34 rushing. Virginia totaled 117 yards: 114 passing and three rushing. Notes: Following the opening kickoff, Virginia drove 69 yards in seven plays and scored on third- and-goal from the 6-yard line when a scrambling Perkins found wideout Joe Reed alone in the left corner for the score … Perkins was 4-of-4 pass- ing during the drive for 72 yards, highlighted by a quick pass in the flat to Reed that Okwara broke on a tad late for a potential intercep- tion before Reed gained 43 yards … Notre Dame answered on its first drive after the Cavaliers' score with a 75-yard touchdown march capped by a five-yard run through the mid- dle by Jones … The drive took 13 plays and consumed 6:23 … The Irish converted four third downs on that possession … Especially crucial was that when Notre Dame was fac- ing third-and-10 at its 25, Virginia was offside on an incomplete pass by Book … The big play was a 28- yard toss to fifth-year senior Chris Finke to the Cavaliers' 14-yard line. … Three Virginia penalties contrib- uted to Notre Dame's two touch- down drives. SECOND QUARTER: VIRGINIA, 17-14 Top Moment: With 42 seconds re- maining, Perkins tossed a 16-yard fade for a touchdown to a leaping Hasise Dubois in the end zone, de- spite tight coverage by sophomore cornerback TaRiq Bracy. Standout Performer: In addition to the touchdown, Dubois set up the score by catching a 39-yard post route. Virginia drove 76 yards in five plays and 1:02 to take the lead. Per- kins continued to shine, finishing the half 18-of-22 passing for 235 yards with two touchdowns. Stats: After connecting on all eight passes in the first quarter for 68 yards, Book was 5 of 12 for 62 yards in the second. Notre Dame produced only 73 yards total offense in the quarter. Virginia had minus-two net rushing yards in the first half, but the passing of Perkins was enough to hold a lead. Notes: Virginia cut its deficit to 14- 10 on a 32-yard field goal by Brian Delaney with 8:07 remaining … The 61-yard march took 16 plays and milked 7:11 off the clock … Keeping the drive alive was a four-yard run by Wayne Taulapapa on fourth-and- one from the Irish 37-yard line … On the ensuing series, Notre Dame re- sponded by moving to Virginia's 29- yard line before a 47-yard field-goal attempt by junior Jonathan Doerer sailed wide left at the 4:47 mark. THIRD QUARTER: NOTRE DAME, 28-17 Top Moment: Leading 17-14, Virginia had third-and-10 at Notre Dame's 38-yard line on its second series of the half. A strong rush by Jamir Jones forced a Perkins fumble as he went into his throwing mo- tion, and Tagovailoa-Amosa caught the ball in mid-air and returned it 48 yards to the Virginia 7-yard line. Two plays later, Tony Jones Jr. bulled into the end zone from two yards out to regain the lead for Notre Dame (21-17) at the 9:20 mark. RUSH JOB Notre Dame's dominant second-half pass pressure spearheaded a 35-20 victory versus No. 18 Virginia

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