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Blue & Gold Illustrated

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

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36 OCT. 7, 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED the Irish defense, it shouldn't surprise that stop- ping the pass has been the strength of this unit so far this season. Notre Dame entered the Virginia game ranked in the top 20 nationally in both passing yards allowed (17th) and pass efficiency defense (10th). The Irish even held Georgia star junior quarter- back Jake Fromm in check with 187 passing yards and one touchdown for a signal-caller who came into that game ranked No. 8 in passing efficiency. On paper, this looks like the most lopsided ad- vantage for the Irish over Bowling Green. Advantage: Notre Dame NOTRE DAME RUNNING GAME VS. BOWLING GREEN RUN DEFENSE An area of high expectations before the season became arguably the area of greatest concern for Notre Dame through the first three games. Injuries to junior starter Jafar Armstrong and sophomore backup Jahmir Smith have forced Kelly and company to become creative in the running game, to the point where short passes to wide receivers and running backs better define the Irish ground game than the traditional handoff. Against Georgia, Notre Dame recorded only 14 rushing attempts for an uninspiring 46 yards. This unit will improve dramatically once Arm- strong and Smith are back in the lineup at full health, but until then expect some more incon- sistency here. But as mediocre as Notre Dame has been run- ning the football, Bowling Green has been even worse at stopping the run. Under the leadership of first-year defensive co- ordinator Brian VanGorder — who served in the same capacity at Notre Dame from 2014-16 before being let go just four games into his final season in South Bend — the Falcons defense is allowing 220.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks 119th in the country, serving as some strong evidence as to why the Falcons are allowing 38.0 points per game. Even shorthanded, expect Notre Dame to have success on the ground. Advantage: Notre Dame NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. BOWLING GREEN PASS DEFENSE Senior wide receiver Chase Claypool has been every bit as good as advertised for the Fighting Irish this season, serving as a big-play target with a per-catch average of more than 15 yards and a couple scores through the first three games. And with the return of star junior tight end Cole Kmet — who made his comeback from a broken collarbone with nine catches for 108 yards and a touchdown against Georgia — expect more open space, wider lanes and scoring opportunities in the passing game for fifth-year senior wideout Chris Finke and sophomore wide receiver Lawrence Keys III, among others. Senior quarterback Ian Book appeared much more comfortable with Kmet back in the lineup, which doesn't bode well this weekend for the Falcons. As with almost every defensive data, Bowling Green ranks near the bottom nationally, checking in at 127th out of 130 teams in pass efficiency defense — a statistical category that takes into consideration a variety of factors. If there is one bright spot on Bowling Green's pass defense, it has been a top-25 team in the nation this season with 3.0 sacks per game. In ad- dition, senior linebacker Brandon Perce (4.5) and sophomore linebacker Jerry Roberts (4.0) have combined for 8.5 tackles for loss so far this season. Advantage: Notre Dame SPECIAL TEAMS Getting beat by an average of more than 40 points in its last three games hasn't afforded Bowl- ing Green many opportunities to shine on special teams. Falcons junior placekicker Nate Needham has only one field goal on three attempts. Junior punter Matt Naranjo's unit ranked 71st last week with a 37.7-yard net punting average, and neither of the Bowling Green return teams cracked the top 70. Notre Dame has been well above average in its special teams work. True freshman punter Jay Bramblett particularly has been reliable, keeping his average above 40 yards and allowing minimal return opportunities with good hang time. The coverage units also have excelled. Advantage: Notre Dame COACHING Clearly, experience is the deciding factor in this category. Boston College is Loeffler's first head coaching job, so he'll be working the sidelines in his fifth career game. Kelly has been doing this for almost 30 years. But beyond the obvious advantage Kelly holds in the matchup of head coaches, the schematic battle between Irish offensive coordinator Chuck Long with VanGorder trying to stop him is most notable. Since VanGorder worked under Kelly for two- plus years there will be some schematic familiarity GAME PREVIEW: BOWLING GREEN Offense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. WR 83 Chase Claypool 6-4½ 229 Sr. 88 Javon McKinley 6-2 220 Sr. WR 10 Chris Finke 5-9½ 184 5th-Sr. 87 Michael Young 5-10 190 Jr. LT 74 Liam Eichenberg 6-6 305 Sr. 75 Joshua Lugg 6-7 307 Jr. LG 69 Aaron Banks 6-6 325 Jr. 57 Trevor Ruhland 6-3½ 292 5th-Sr. C 55 Jarrett Patterson 6-5 300 So. 61 Colin Grunhard 6-0½ 289 Jr. RG 78 Tommy Kraemer 6-6 319 Sr. 56 John Dirksen 6-5½ 309 So. RT 72 Robert Hainsey 6-4½ 295 Jr. 73 Andrew Kristofic 6-5 280 Fr. TE 84 Cole Kmet 6-5½ 250 Jr. 89 Brock Wright 6-4½ 246 Jr. or 24 Tommy Tremble 6-3½ 235 So. WR 13 Lawrence Keys III 5-10½ 172 So. 25 Braden Lenzy 5-11½ 180 So. or 18 Joe Wilkins 6-1½ 194 So. QB 12 Ian Book 6-0 212 Sr. 15 Phil Jurkovec 6-4½ 227 So. RB 6 Tony Jones Jr. 5-11 224 Sr. 34 Jahmir Smith 5-11 205 So. or 20 C'Bo Flemister 5-11 200 So. or 4 Avery Davis 5-11 202 Jr. Defense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. DE 42 Julian Okwara 6-4½ 248 Sr. 9 Daelin Hayes 6-4 266 Sr. DT 95 M. Tagovailoa-Amosa 6-2½ 286 Jr. 57 Jayson Ademilola 6-3 279 So. NG 41 Kurt Hinish 6-2 295 Jr. 54 Jacob Lacey 6-2 293 Fr. DE 53 Khalid Kareem 6-4 265 Sr. 91 Ade Ogundeji 6-4½ 253 Sr. Buck 22 Asmar Bilal 6-2 225 5th-Sr. 2 J. Genmark Heath 6-1 228 Jr. or 31 Jack Lamb 6-4 233 So. Mike 40 Drew White 6-0 230 Jr. 33 Shayne Simon 6-3 232 So. or 52 Bo Bauer 6-3 230 So. Rover 6 J. Owusu-Koramoah 6-1½ 216 Jr. 13 Paul Moala 5-11½ 216 So. CB 5 Troy Pride Jr. 5-11½ 194 Sr. 3 Houston Griffith 6-0 198 So. or 8 Donte Vaughn 6-3 212 Sr. S 11 Alohi Gilman 5-10½ 201 Sr. 14 Kyle Hamilton 6-4 210 Fr. S 21 Jalen Elliott 6-0½ 210 Sr. 12 DJ Brown 6-0 198 So. CB 20 Shaun Crawford 5-9 180 5th-Sr. 28 TaRiq Bracy 5-10 170 So. NOTRE DAME DEPTH CHART Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. KO 39 Jonathan Doerer 6-3 23 Jr. 98 Harrison Leonard 5-10 203 Fr. PK 39 Jonathan Doerer 6-3 203 Jr. 98 Harrison Leonard 5-10 203 Fr. P 19 Jay Bramblett 6-1 188 Fr. 98 Harrison Leonard 5-10 203 Fr. H 19 Jay Bramblett 6-1 188 Fr. 17 Nolan Henry 6-0 193 5th-Sr. Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. LS 54 John Shannon 6-2 225 Sr. 65 Michael Vinson 6-2 224 So. PR 10 Chris Finke 5-9½ 184 5th-Sr. 11 Alohi Gilman 5-10½ 201 Sr. KR 13 Lawrence Keys III 5-10½ 172 So. 23 Kyren Williams 5-9 205 Fr. Special Teams

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