Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 12, 2019

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

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Page 22 of 55 OCT. 12, 2019 23 BOWLING GREEN RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE A lot of credit has to go to both Davon Jones (16 carries for 59 yards) and Bryson Denley (13 carries for 57 yards) for running with great authority, and even violence, when there was very little room to navigate. Their 116 yards between them on 29 carries were exactly 1977 Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell's stats when No. 1 Texas fell to Notre Dame 38-10 in the 1978 Cotton Bowl that won the Irish the national title. The great Campbell was contained despite topping 100 yards, because ev- erything was so hard earned. It was the same for the Falcons' backs, except the mismatch up front was far more pronounced. It was a good effort to at least try to control the clock, where Bowling Green did have almost eight more minutes of possession. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame BOWLING GREEN PASSING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE Outside of 6-4, 228-pound junior Quintin Morris, the targets were extremely limited for quarterback Grant Loy, who replaced starter Darius Wade early. Morris caught 10 of Bowling Green's 15 completions and accounted for 92 of the 110 receiving yards. He kept one drive alive by catching 15-yard passes on two third-and-nine situations. The rest of the options combined for five catches for a meager 18 yards. Loy sometimes was able to buy himself time in play action by rolling to his right, and even picking up about 30 yards on those roll-outs in which contain- ment was broken, but he almost never had time to go through his progres- sions. The Irish recorded two sacks and seven pressures, and the 7.3 yards per completion and extremely low 4.1 yards per attempt speak for themselves. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame NOTRE DAME RUNNING GAME VS. BOWLING GREEN RUN DEFENSE It was so easy for the Fighting Irish to just play pitch and catch that the run- ning game was more like an auxiliary item that just happened to produce 233 yards and 6.9 yards per carry. The breakdown had eight carries for 54 yards in the first quarter, seven for 30 in the second, four for 72 in the third and 15 for 77 in the fourth. Senior running back Tony Jones Jr. had his third 100-yard game (seven at- tempts for 102 yards) in five games and second in a row, with the stretch play on the left especially effective while he has patiently waited for the crease. He began the initial scoring drive with four straight runs that picked up 40 yards. Sophomore quarterback Phil Jurkovec was the second-leading rusher with 42 yards on four carries, highlighted by a nifty 19-yard weave through traf- fic. It provided insight on why he was so frustrated in the spring game when quarterbacks are almost automatically whistled down while trying to maneuver around defenders. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. BOWLING GREEN PASS DEFENSE This was the most conspicuous mismatch from the start, with senior quarter- back Ian Book connecting on 8 of 8 passes for 128 yards with three touchdowns to three different receivers in the first quarter. Junior tight end Cole Kmet and sophomore tight end Tommy Tremble caught four of those passes for 54 yards and two scores, and then the lanes opened up for senior wideouts Chase Claypool, who snared two touchdowns among his three catches, and Javon McKinley, whose five catches for 104 yards included a 25-yard touchdown on third-and-16. The Falcons entered the game 129th in pass efficiency defense among 130 teams (ahead of only UMass), and it showed. A 40-yard wheel route to a third tight end, junior Brock Wright, was perfectly executed, and getting junior running back Avery Davis (three catches for 39 yards and one touchdown) involved was a bonus to round out the attack. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame SPECIAL TEAMS Fifth-year senior punt returner Chris Finke had 25- and 15-yard gains in the first quarter to set up 46- and 50-yard touchdown drives that expanded the score to 21-0. Two special teams penalties on Bowling Green also forced them to start deep in their territory. Senior drop end Julian Okwara blocked a 40-yard field goal attempt in the second half — the first by an Irish player in five years. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame THIRD-DOWN CONVERSIONS Easily the best production of the season for Notre Dame at 8 of 11 (72.7 percent), highlighted by the 25-yard score by McKinley on third-and-16. The Falcons were a decent 8 of 19 (42.1 percent), but also failed on two fourth-down attempts, including a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-one. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame TURNOVERS The lone turnover was Irish senior safety Jalen Elliott intercepting a Hail Mary attempt into the end zone at the end of the first half. Typically, the rule for defenders there is to knock the ball to the ground to avoid any potential tip plays, but when you're already leading 35-0 … ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame ANALYSIS There was a reason why Notre Dame was a 45-point favorite, and the enor- mous talent disparity showed in the 52-0 victory. The Irish conducted this with business-like efficiency and were not flat, but the production and fancy stats, especially in the passing game, likely will be balanced with the realization that against stronger opposition there will be less margin for error. ON PAPER REVISITED BY LOU SOMOGYI Senior wide receiver Chase Claypool — who had three catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns — and the Fighting Irish passing attack proved to be too much for Bowling Green to handle. PHOTO BY ANDRIS VISOCKIS

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