Blue and Gold Illustrated

Dec 19, 2020

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

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Page 35 of 55

36 DEC. 19, 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED no interceptions in a 30-3 Clemson rout. It's hard to imagine that Lawrence could have played any better than Clemson backup D.J. Uiag- alelei did against Notre Dame in the first meeting. The true freshman passed for 439 yards against the Irish, with Powell and Rodgers combining for 14 catches and 295 receiving yards. Advantage: Clemson NOTRE DAME RUNNING GAME VS. CLEMSON RUN DEFENSE With his 20 carries for 110 yards against Syra- cuse, sophomore tailback Kyren Williams recorded his sixth 100-yard rushing performance in 10 games and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark. Even with multiple injuries and lineup shuffling along the offensive line the last two games, Notre Dame's ground game has produced. The Irish finished their regular season ranked 13th in the country in rushing at 235.0 yards per game, in no small part because of the complemen- tary work fifth-year senior quarterback Ian Book provides to Williams. Book averaged 63.3 rushing yards over the last four games and added three rushing touchdowns. But Book's raw production numbers tell only part of the story. The shifty signal-caller has found a knack for saving his biggest runs for the crucial times, part of the reason why Notre Dame ranks 10th in the country with a 51.4-percent conversion rate on third downs. Clemson allows only 102.6 rushing yards per game — which last week ranked No. 10 in the country — but surrendered 208 to the Fighting Irish in the first meeting. Fifth-year senior linebacker Baylon Spector, who rarely leaves the field, paced the Tigers in total tackles with 62, with 9.5 behind the line of scrim- mage and a team high 11 quarterback hurries. Freshman defensive end Myles Murphy has con- tributed 44 total stops, 10 for lost yardage. We will call it a draw because of the absence of center Jarrett Patterson, the return of Tigers tackle Tyler Davis (and maybe linebacker James Skalski) and how after the first carry against Clemson, Williams was limited to 75 yards on 22 attempts. Advantage: Even NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. CLEMSON PASS DEFENSE The gripe heading into Notre Dame's first matchup with Clemson was the lack of production from the Irish wide receivers. Well, veteran wideouts Javon McKinley, Ben Skowronek and Avery Davis picked a perfect game for a coming-out party, making clutch plays while combining for 13 catches and 213 yards in the upset of the top-ranked Tigers. McKinley didn't stop there and has averaged about six catches and 99 yards in his last four games — with three 100-yard outings — including his 111-yard, three-touchdown performance in the regular-season finale against Syracuse. Steady all season, Book has thrown for at least 279 yards in five of his last six contests, notably a 22-of-39, 310-yard, one-touchdown passing per- formance against Clemson in the first meeting. Highlighted by Clemson senior safety Nolan Turn- er's three interceptions, the Tigers have picked off 13 opponent passes this season. And led by 3.5 sacks apiece by Spector and Mur- phy, Clemson's talent and depth along its front seven is illustrated by six different players record- ing at least three sacks this season. Advantage: Notre Dame SPECIAL TEAMS The placekickers for both teams were stellar in the first meeting, with Clemson junior B.T. Potter and Notre Dame senior Jonathan Doerer each con- verting four field goals in a tense double-overtime game that left no room for error. Doerer has converted all 46 of his point after tries this season, but an up-and-down 14 of 20 on field goals. Potter shares similar numbers, convert- ing 53 of his 54 extra points and 16 of 21 field goal attempts. Notre Dame has been adequate but not spec- tacular on its punt and kickoff coverage and return teams. The highlight for these Irish units remains, as it has most of this season, the two touchdowns scored off blocked punts and excellent coverage. Neither team has allowed or recorded a tradi- tional kickoff or punt return for a touchdown this season. Advantage: Even COACHING Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly entered the first matchup against top-ranked Clemson having lost all five of his previous games against top-five teams by an average score of 31-15. Kelly lifted that anvil off his back with an upset of Clemson that marked the first victory for Notre Dame over a top-ranked team since 1993, leaving the question of whether Kelly can defeat a top-five GAME PREVIEW: ACC CHAMPIONSHIP Offense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. WR 11 Ben Skowronek 6-3 220 5th-Sr. 18 Joe Wilkins Jr. 6-1½ 190 Jr. WR 3 Avery Davis 5-11 202 Sr. 18 Joe Wilkins Jr. 6-1½ 190 Jr. LT 74 Liam Eichenberg 6-6 302 5th-Sr. 73 Andrew Kristofic 6-5 292 So. LG 69 Aaron Banks 6-6 330 Sr. 76 Dillan Gibbons 6-4 309 Sr. C 75 Josh Lugg 6-7 310 Sr. 52 Zeke Correll 6-3 295 So. RG 78 Tommy Kraemer 6-6 317 5th-Sr. 75 Josh Lugg 6-7 310 Sr. RT 72 Robert Hainsey 6-5 290 Sr. 77 Quinn Carroll 6-7 306 So. TE 89 Brock Wright 6-4½ 255 Sr. 24 Tommy Tremble 6-3 242 Jr. or 85 George Takacs 6-6 245 Jr. or 87 Michael Mayer 6-5 235 Fr. WR 88 Javon McKinley 6-2 215 5th-Sr. 8 Jafar Armstrong 6-1 220 Sr. QB 12 Ian Book 6-0 206 5th-Sr. 10 Drew Pyne 5-11½ 194 Fr. RB 23 Kyren Williams 5-9 194 So. 25 Chris Tyree 5-9½ 188 Fr. or 20 C'Bo Flemister 5-11 195 Jr. Defense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Vyper 9 Daelin Hayes 6-4 270 5th-Sr. 29 Ovie Oghoufo 6-3 240 Jr. or 7 Isaiah Foskey 6-5 257 So. DT 95 M. Tagovailoa-Amosa 6-2½ 282 Sr. 57 Jayson Ademilola 6-3 279 Jr. NT 41 Kurt Hinish 6-2 296 Sr. 54 Jacob Lacey 6-2 293 So. SDE 91 Ade Ogundeji 6-4 268 5th-Sr. 19 Justin Ademilola 6-2 248 Jr. or 7 Isaiah Foskey 6-5 257 So. Buck 33 Shayne Simon 6-3 228 Jr. or 35 Marist Liufau 6-2 226 So. or 24 Jack Kiser 6-1½ 227 So. Mike 40 Drew White 6-0 227 Sr. 52 Bo Bauer 6-3 230 Jr. Rover 6 J. Owusu-Koramoah 6-1½ 215 Sr. 10 Isaiah Pryor 6-1½ 204 Gr. CB 4 Nick McCloud 6-0½ 192 5th-Sr. 5 Cam Hart 6-2½ 207 So. CB 28 TaRiq Bracy 5-10 180 Jr. or 26 Clarence Lewis 5-11½ 192 Fr. SS 20 Shaun Crawford 5-9 180 6th-Sr. 3 Houston Griffith 6-0 204 Jr. FS 14 Kyle Hamilton 6-4 219 So. 12 DJ Brown 6-0 194 Jr. or 10 Isaiah Pryor 6-1½ 204 Gr. NOTRE DAME DEPTH CHART Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. KO 39 Jonathan Doerer 6-3 197 Sr. 38 Dawson Goepferich 6-2 200 5th-Sr. K 39 Jonathan Doerer 6-3 197 Sr. 38 Dawson Goepferich 6-2 200 5th-Sr. P 19 Jay Bramblett 6-1½ 193 So. 38 Dawson Goepferich 6-2 200 5th-Sr. LS 65 Michael Vinson 6-2 226 Jr. 44 Alex Peitsch 6-1 208 Fr. Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. H 19 Jay Bramblett 6-1½ 193 So. 14 J.D. Carney 5-10 180 Sr. PR 32 Matt Salerno 6-0½ 196 Jr. 13 Lawrence Keys III 5-10½ 173 Jr. KR 25 Chris Tyree 5-9½ 188 Fr. or 8 Jafar Armstrong 6-1 220 Sr. Special Teams

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