Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2019

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

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26 DECEMBER 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FIGHTING IRISH SHUT DOWN THE CARDINAL IN SECOND HALF Throughout most of the season, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea has been praised for his in-game adjustments. The Stanford game was no exception. Cardinal junior quarterback Da- vis Mills got off to a hot start against Notre Dame, connecting on 5 of 5 throws for 71 yards with a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. By the end of the first half, he was 19- of-29 passing for 196 yards with two touchdowns, and the Cardinal trailed the Irish by just four points (21-17). During the first 20-plus minutes of the second half, however, the Irish defense shut down Mills. He com- pleted just 5 of 12 passes for 31 yards while Notre Dame built a 38-17 lead. "Defensively, I think what hap- pened for us more than anything else, they were to do some spot pass- ing game, and we had to make some adjustments at halftime, which we did and kept the ball in front of us," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. "We went into some more drop eight, and I think that was pretty ef- fective for us in the second half." At the same time, the Fighting Irish were able to get more pressure on Mills, especially from seniors Ade Ogundeji and Jamir Jones, who com- bined for two sacks, a quarterback hit and a forced fumble in the second half. Junior rover Jeremiah Owusu- Koramoah also wreaked havoc be- hind the line of scrimmage en route to a team-best nine tackles, and almost picked off a pass in the backfield. In the second half, the Notre Dame defense also clamped down on the Stanford rushing attack, allowing just 36 yards. Mills ended up throwing for an additional 49 yards in garbage time at the end of the fourth quarter, but it's safe to say this is a defensive per- formance from the Fighting Irish that the former Rivals five-star quarter- back won't soon forget. BIG PLAYS ON SPECIAL TEAMS A FACTOR The game did not start the way Notre Dame drew it up while pre- paring for the Cardinal. Outside of the first drive for Notre Dame, the offense struggled for the better part of a quarter and a half until true freshman defensive end Isaiah Fos- key bullied his way into Stanford's backfield and blocked a punt. That play set up the Irish offense on the Stanford 1-yard line, which three plays later turned into a touchdown to pull Notre Dame to within three. Senior long snapper John Shannon then got into the action with the re- covery of a muffed punt, setting up a field goal by junior kicker Jonathan Doerer that pushed the lead to 31-17 early in the fourth quarter. Another Shannon sighting came late in the fourth when he deflected a punt back into the field of play from the end zone, which was downed on the Stanford 4-yard line. The next play, senior defensive end Ade Ogundeji came around the edge with a strip-sack in the end zone that was recovered by senior end Khalid Ka- reem for a touchdown and the final tally of the game. If not for the momentum swing of the punt block in the second quar- ter, the game may not have ended in favor of the Irish. Notre Dame was down 17-7 at the time and nothing was going right for the offense. The STANFORD GAME NOTES BY ANDREW MENTOCK AND VINCE DEDARIO Junior rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah posted a team-high nine tackles and also broke up a pass as the Irish defense held Stanford scoreless for a 37:35 stretch from the second quarter until late in the fourth quarter. PHOTO BY SPENCER ALLEN MISCELLANEOUS NOTES • Senior Ian Book became the first Notre Dame quarterback with 2,500 passing yards, 500 rushing yards and 30 touchdown passes in a season. Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts is the only other signal-caller in the country to hit those marks in 2019. Since 2017, only Book, Hurts, Kyler Murray of Oklahoma, JT Barrett of Ohio State and D'Eriq King of Houston have hit those marks in the regular season. • Senior safety Jalen Elliott and fifth-year senior linebacker Asmar Bilal each played in their 50th career game. They become just the fifth and sixth players in Notre Dame history to play in 50 or more games during their careers. The others are Manti Te'o, Harrison Smith and Drue Tranquill with 51, and Tyler Newsome with 50. • Tommy Tremble's second-quarter touch- down catch was the sophomore's fourth re- ceiving score of the season. For the first time in school history, two tight ends have had four touchdown receptions or more in the same season — junior Cole Kmet with six and Tremble with four.

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