Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2020

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

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20 FEBRUARY 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED IOWA STATE RARELY GETS BLOWN OUT Notre Dame's 33-9 victory over Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl Dec. 28 is more impressive than it may seem on the surface. The Cyclones finished the year with just a 7-6 record, but they were beaten by four teams that finished in the top 25 of the final College Foot- ball Playoff rankings by seven points or less, including narrow defeats against No. 4 Oklahoma (42-41) and No. 7 Baylor (23-21). In fact, Iowa State entered its matchup with the Fighting Irish as one of just three schools (Washing- ton and Oklahoma were the others) with one or fewer losses of 14 points or more since the start of 2017. ISU's last defeat of 20 points or more was a 49-19 blowout at the hands of West Virginia to close out the 2016 season. That was head coach Matt Camp- bell's debut season at the helm, when the Cyclones finished 3-9. In order to produce such a domi- nating performance, the Irish had to put together a complete game. "All three phases were outstand- ing today," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. "When you hold an offense that put 40 points on a team that's playing in the playoffs in Oklahoma to no touchdowns, you can't hide from that. A team that is a prolific offense to not score a touch- down today, they had plenty of time to prepare. "The defense is without some re- ally good players as well. And [we] just did an outstanding job today. I thought our special teams were outstanding." While the 33 points Notre Dame scored is below its season average, the Fighting Irish had such a com- manding lead in the second half that they were able to burn clock by run- ning the ball with third-string sopho- more running back C'Bo Flemister. Prior to the Camping World Bowl, Iowa State's lowest scoring output of the season was 17 points, which the Cyclones had in losses to Iowa and Kansas State. SENIOR SKILL PLAYERS ON OFFENSE THRIVE In the final collegiate game for many Notre Dame players, three se- nior offensive skill players — wide receiver Chase Claypool, quarter- back Ian Book and running back Tony Jones Jr. — put together ster- ling performances. Claypool, who has now exhausted his eligibility, set the tone early in the game, scoring the game's first touchdown with an acrobatic 24-yard catch. He finished the contest with seven receptions for 146 yards (20.9 yards per catch) and the one score. He ended the season as the team leader in catches (66), receiving yards (1,037) and 13 touchdown grabs (13). "You don't really play the game for statistics," Claypool said after the game, "So it's nice, but I'm not going to remember getting to 1,000 yards this game. I'm just going to remem- ber going out with [my teammates]." Book, who announced he will re- turn for a fifth season the day after the bowl win, had a very efficient game, completing 71.4 percent of his 28 passes for 247 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He finished the season with 3,034 passing yards and 34 touchdowns through the air. Jones, who announced Dec. 31 that he is entering the NFL Draft, had his first 100-yard rushing game since Notre Dame's 30-27 win against USC Oct. 12. He concluded the Camping World Bowl with 135 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries. A large portion of Jones' produc- tion came on Notre Dame's first of- fensive play of the second half, when he ran 84 yards for a touchdown. He also had two receptions for one yard. Jones, who was banged up during the second half of the season with a rib injury, finished the campaign with a team-best 857 rushing yards and seven total touchdowns. "Offensively, we ran the ball ef- fectively, play-action pass, spread the field around," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. "And when you've got playmakers like Chase Claypool, Tony Jones ... Ian Book. It was a comprehensive game plan, and all three phases showed themselves very well today." JEREMIAH OWUSU-KORAMOAH SHOWS WHY HE'S AN EMERGING STAR One Notre Dame player who has consistently improved throughout IOWA STATE GAME NOTES BY ANDREW MENTOCK AND VINCE DEDARIO Senior running back Tony Jones Jr. racked up a team-high 135 yards on just 11 rushing attempts, includ- ing an 84-yard touchdown scamper that broke the game open early in the second half. PHOTO BY JAMES GILBERT

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