Blue and Gold Illustrated

Dec 19, 2020

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

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Page 17 of 55

18 DEC. 19, 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI I n one of the most unorthodox seasons in college football an- nals, Part I for Notre Dame (10-0) still achieved perfection follow- ing its 45-21 victory at home versus Syracuse (1-10). Part II, the postseason, begins Dec. 19 with the ACC Championship at Charlotte, N.C., versus the No. 3 Clemson Tigers, whom the Fighting Irish vanquished 47-40 in double overtime on Nov. 7. Syracuse was competitive the first 27 minutes while taking a 7-3 lead, but three Notre Dame touchdowns in a span of 3:12 right before halftime made it 24-7 at the intermission and basically sealed the outcome. Fifth-year senior quarterback Ian Book led that late second-quarter charge with a 28-yard touchdown run and then 21- and 28-yard scor- ing passes to fifth-year senior wide receiver Javon McKinley. In his swan song at Notre Dame Stadium, Book completed 24 of 37 passes for 285 yards with three touchdowns — plus a rare intercep- tion — and scored on 28- and 17-yard runs while finishing with 53 rush- ing yards on eight carries. McKinley, who had not scored this season de- spite leading the team in receiving, tallied three times while finishing with 111 yards on seven catches. Running back Kyren Williams be- came the sixth Notre Dame sopho- more to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards (see pages 14-15), finishing with 110 yards on 20 carries, while a fourth- quarter 94-yard touchdown burst by freshman Chris Tyree enabled him to finish with 109 yards on the ground versus the Orange. Leading the defense in stops was freshman cornerback Clarence Lewis with 12 (10 solo). Senior rover Jer- emiah Owusu-Koramoah remained a play-making force with two passes broken up and a forced fumble. "It's extremely gratifying to finish the season the way we did," head coach Brian Kelly said. "This group is built different. The consistency that they have shown over the last three years is amazing. To win 24 consecu- tive games at home, that's hard to do — it's hard to do 24 things consecu- tively in anything. "I have a hard time doing any- thing twice in a row, so 24 is really an amazing feat by this group." FIRST QUARTER NOTRE DAME, 3-0 Top Moment: On the game's open- ing series, the Irish drove 73 yards, highlighted by a 29-yard screen to fifth-year senior wide receiver Ben Skowronek on third-and-seven from the Irish 43-yard line. A couple of incomplete passes forced a 25-yard field goal by senior Jonathan Doerer with 9:32 remaining. Feature Performer: Syracuse's punt coverage team, led by punter Nolan Cooney, pinned the Irish in- side their 10-yard line on the next two Irish series after the score. Stats: Notre Dame ran 19 plays for 119 yards, with Book completing 9 Curtain Call; Encore Next Postseason awaits after 45-21 win versus Syracuse secures second unblemished regular season (10-0) in three years

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