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

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26 OCT. 7, 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED A TALE OF TWO HALVES On the first five plays of Virginia's opening drive of the game, Notre Dame had three tackles for loss. Yet, the defense had already given up 58 total yards to the Cavaliers by allow- ing 18- and 43-yard receptions. This was a theme throughout the first half, with Virginia gaining 15 or more yards on eight different plays for a total of 184 yards. For perspec- tive, the Cavaliers accumulated 233 total yards on 35 offensive plays in the first half. If not for a strip sack and recovery by senior defensive end Julian Okwara on the Irish 32-yard line, the score might have been worse than 17-14 going into the half. When the Notre Dame defense took the field in the third quarter, they flipped the script. The Irish only allowed two chunk plays in the en- tire half, a 15-yard pass and a 10-yard run. The defense also came up with its own big plays. Twice in the sec- ond half, Notre Dame stripped UVA quarterback Bryce Perkins, recovered and advanced the fumble — one for a touchdown and the other for a big gain inside the Cavaliers 10-yard line. One came on a hit by Okwara and was recovered by senior defensive end Ade Ogundeji, who completed the scoop-and-score from 23 yards out. "It was a big lift for them to score because our team was down because we had two punts in a row, and then Ade scores and it just hyped us up," senior running back Tony Jones Jr. said. Okwara made the type of big plays Irish fans have expected from him all season. He finished with three sacks, two forced fumbles and two quarter- back hurries. The team finished with eight sacks, 13 tackles for loss and five turnovers. JAMIR JONES MAKES THE MOST OF HIS OPPORTUNITY Heading into the Virginia game, senior defensive end Daelin Hayes was Notre Dame's most productive defensive lineman. But after a first- quarter shoulder injury, he was side- lined for the rest of the game and did not record a tackle. For much of the game, senior de- fensive end Jamir Jones took his place and had some big plays. He had the strip sack that led to Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa's 48-yard scoop and run, which resulted in the Irish starting their next drive with the ball near the Virginia end zone. Before the season, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly mentioned that there was so much depth at the defensive end position that it would be helpful to redshirt one of them. Many thought that the Irish would accomplish this by having Jones take advantage of the new NCAA redshirt rule, which would limit him to four games but allow him to reserve a year of eligibility. However, if Hayes's injury is seri- ous, the Irish will no longer have the luxury of redshirting Jones. "We're going to have to see what Daelin Hayes' situation is, to be quite frank," Kelly said. "We are here to win this year, and we'll figure it out from there." He also mentioned that during practice this week Jones participated on scout team, which indicates that the plan was to not use him against Virginia. Obviously, Hayes's injury caused Kelly to improvise. This was the second game Jones participated in this season. The first was last weekend against Georgia. While the Irish certainly would like to reserve a year of eligibility for Jones so he can play next season, another redshirt option could be Hayes. Be- cause this is only the fourth game of the season, Hayes could theoretically reserve his eligibility and come back in 2020. That is, assuming his injury causes him to miss the rest of the year. SHUTTING DOWN THE RUN Notre Dame came into this game giving up 204.3 yards per contest, which ranked 109th in the country. Even though the Irish were able to play well against D'Andre Swift and Georgia, the Bulldogs still ac- cumulated more than 150 yards on the ground against the Irish defense. But Notre Dame struggled earlier in the season, giving up more than 200 rushing yards apiece to New Mexico and Louisville. VIRGINIA GAME NOTES BY ANDREW MENTOCK AND VINCE DEDARIO Senior defensive end Jamir Jones (No. 44) moved into the lineup after classmate Daelin Hayes went out with a shoulder injury in the first quarter. Jones made several huge plays, including the strip-sack that led to Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa's 48-yard return deep into Virginia territory. PHOTO BY ANDRIS VISOCKIS

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