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Blue & Gold Illustrated

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

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28 OCT. 7, 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED Irish defense and turned it into a strength. When all three levels of the defense are playing sound, fundamental foot- ball, they are very hard to beat. When you combine the leadership, game- planning and in-game adjustments by defensive coordinator Clark Lea and his staff, you have the recipe for a unit that will continue to lead Notre Dame the rest of the season. OFFENSIVE LINE STILL INCONSISTENT The interior of the Notre Dame of- fensive line is still a concern after the fifth week of the season. Their lack of movement in the run game is astounding. Even on a touchdown run by senior running back Tony Jones Jr., he ran into Aaron Banks and had to adjust his route to the end zone. Sophomore center Jar- rett Patterson just spent too much time in the backfield against Virginia. The Irish need their guards and cen- ter to re-establish the line of scrimmage down field, and they're not doing it. This doesn't come from a lack of size or talent. The line isn't firing off the foot- ball or playing with a pad level that will allow them to move the defense. In all four games this season, this has been an issue for Notre Dame and it will continue to plague them until the line improves its technique and how quickly they get off the line. On a positive note, they were able to protect senior quarterback Ian Book for most of the night. Notre Dame held Virginia to fewer sacks than their season average, one of which was in the first quarter when Book was flushed from the pocket and ran out of bounds. Junior tight end Cole Kmet even saw some positives in the run game. "We hit some outside runs," he said. "That one Tony hit for a touch- down, I was able to seal it off and [sophomore tight end] Tommy [Tremble] was able to get that corner. "So [it was] definitely something we harped on this week, and I think we did a good job." Notre Dame ran a two-tight-end set for most of the first half, keeping Kmet and sophomore Tommy Tremble in the game together. This formation kept the Virginia defense on their toes because the Irish were able to run double tights one play and four wide the next with- out switching personnel groups. It created matchup problems for the Cavaliers defense, and Notre Dame was able to take advantage of this versatile personnel package. ✦ NOTRE DAME VS. VIRGINIA QUARTER-BY-QUARTER COMPARISON Notre Dame 1st Qtr. 2nd Qtr. 3rd Qtr. 4th Qtr. 1st Half 2nd Half Total Time of Possession 7:59 4:42 4:41 9:01 12:41 13:42 26:23 Third-Down Conversions 4-4 1-5 0-2 1-4 5-9 1-6 6-15 Fourth-Down Conversions 0-0 1-1 0-0 1-1 1-1 1-1 2-2 Average Field Position ND-35 ND-23 ND-42 ND-29 ND-28 ND-35 ND-32 Virginia 1st Qtr. 2nd Qtr. 3rd Qtr. 4th Qtr. 1st Half 2nd Half Final Time of Possession 7:01 10:18 10:19 5:59 17:19 16:18 33:37 Third-Down Conversions 1-1 2-5 0-5 1-3 3-6 1-8 4-14 Fourth-Down Conversions 0-0 1-1 0-1 0-0 1-1 0-1 1-2 Average Field Position UVA-25 UVA-26 UVA-40 UVA-31 UVA-26 UVA-37 UVA-33 PLAY CHART (NO. OF PLAYS) Yards ND UVA Nega ve 3 11 0-5 38 33 6-9 9 12 10-19 5 13 20-29 3 1 30-39 2 1 40-49 0 1 50 or more 0 0 RED ZONE EFFICIENCY (INSIDE 20-YARD LINE) No Poss. TD FG Score Notre Dame 3 3 0 0 Virginia 4 2 2 0 BIG PLAYS (25 YARDS OR MORE) Notre Dame • 1-10 UVA42 Book pass complete to Finke for 28 yards to the UVA14 • 2-15 ND22 Book pass complete to Kmet for 37 yards to the UVA41 • 2-7 ND32 T. Jones rush for 28 yards to the UVA40 • 1-10 UVA30 T. Jones rush for 30 yards and a touchdown Virginia • 2-11 UVA47 Perkins pass complete to Reed for 43 yards to the ND10 • 2-6 UVA28 Perkins pass complete to Dubois for 39 yards to the ND33 The Irish offensive line had a solid performance against Virginia — paving the way for 178 rushing yards while allowing only two sacks — but there is room for improvement. PHOTO BY ANDRIS VISOCKIS MISCELLANEOUS NOTES • Notre Dame's eight sacks were the most for an Irish team since also recording eight against Hawai'i in the 2008 Hawai'i Bowl. • Senior defensive ends Julian Okwara (three sacks) and Khalid Kareem (2.5 sacks) received the game balls for the Fighting Irish for their performance. Okwara's sack total tied for the sixth-most in a single game in program history with 10 other players. The record is four, held by three different players and occurring four separate times. • In the first half, Notre Dame held Virginia to minus-two rushing yards. In their previous four games, the Cavaliers rushed for an aver- age of 55.7 yards in the first half. Virginia's final total of four rushing yards was among the four lowest by a Notre Dame foe since 1996. • Junior tight end Cole Kmet recorded four catches for 65 yards on the day, giving him 13 receptions over the past two games. This ties for fourth-most receptions over a two-game span by an Irish tight end. The most was 16 by Kyle Rudolph in 2010 versus Michigan and Michigan State. • Junior wide receiver Michael Young, who did not play the first three games due to in- jury, recorded his first catch of the season, a seven-yard reception for a first down, on Notre Dame's initial scoring drive.

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