Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 26, 2022*

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

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22 NOV. 26, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED TURNING POINT Notre Dame didn't need long to establish its turning point in the 44-0 undressing of Boston College. Already leading 3-0 after kicking a field goal on its first offensive possession, freshman cornerback Benjamin Morrison intercepted a pass from Boston College quarterback Emmett Morehead that set the Irish offense up at the Eagles' 20-yard-line. Just five plays later — all rushes by sophomore tailback Logan Diggs — Notre Dame extended its lead to 10-0 less than five minutes into the game. A lock to be named a 2022 Freshman All-Amer- ican — and likely a first-teamer — this turning- point interception by Morrison was the first of his 3 picks on the day. They were the third, fourth and fifth interceptions for Morrison in only the last three games, and of the season, which easily leads the team. The 18-year-old also recorded two pickoffs against Clemson Nov. 5, one of which he returned 96 yards for a touchdown that gave Notre Dame a 28-0 lead in the upset win. STATS OF THE GAME Where to begin? Five defensive takeaways — 4 in the first half — were a season high for Notre Dame, which it par- layed into 27 points. But perhaps the advantages that Notre Dame held in total yardage (437-173) and rushing yardage (281-56) best illustrate the beatdown. No one particular defensive player stood out in the Fighting Irish shutout. But in a collective effort, Notre Dame held the Eagles to an average 3.0 yards on their 58 offensive plays. Notre Dame posted 7 tackles for loss for minus-43 yards. Notre Dame scored on each of its first eight possessions — including all seven in the first half — with 5 touchdowns and 3 field goals. Ad- ditionally, the 37-0 halftime lead for Notre Dame extended its scoring advantage over opponents in the first half of its 11 games this season to 203-83. The Irish scored on 6 of their 7 trips inside the red zone. The Eagles moved inside Notre Dame's 20-yard just once, and failed to score. SENIORS SHINE A chilly Senior Day at the stadium didn't spoil the warm farewells and the hot play from many of the 25 Irish seniors. A former walk-on turned scholarship player turned rotation regular, graduate student wide receiver Matt Salerno caught 2 passes for 20 yards with a 1-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter that gave Notre Dame a commanding 17-0 lead. Salerno also returned 2 punts for 30 yards — one for 28 yards — filling in for injured senior safety Brandon Joseph. Graduate student and two-time team captain Jarrett Patterson again boosted his case as the best offensive guard in the country. The rock of the Irish line helped pave the way for 281 yards rushing and a season-best 7.4 yards per carry, all while not allowing a sack. Defensive end Isaiah Foskey also capped his career at the stadium in memorable fashion. The Notre Dame senior recorded a sack on the final play of the first half, which made him the program's career-record holder with 25. THREE OBSERVATIONS BY TODD D. BURLAGE CORNERBACK BENJAMIN MORRISON What more needs to be said? The future Freshman All-Ameri- can recorded 3 interceptions against Boston College, the first of which helped Notre Dame to a 10-0 lead less than five minutes into the game, a scoring advantage that was never threatened. Morrison's 5 interceptions this season — all of which came in the last three games — lead the Irish and have changed the course of this season. RUNNING BACK LOGAN DIGGS The sophomore ripped off a 51-yard run on the first play from scrimmage en route to a team-best 122 yards rushing on just 15 carries (8.1 yards per attempt). His 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter gave Notre Dame a 10-0 lead, and he also reeled in a 28-yard reception. This was Diggs' third 100-yard rushing performance in the last five games. WIDE RECEIVER MATT SALERNO The former walk-on made good on his Senior Day with 2 receptions for 20 yards that included a 1-yard touchdown grab, the first scoring catch of his career. He entered the game with just 4 career receptions for 38 yards. Salerno also added 30 yards on 2 punt returns, highlighted by a career-best 28-yard runback. DEFENSIVE END ISAIAH FOSKEY Playing his final game at Notre Dame Stadium, the senior recorded a sack of BC quarterback Emmett Morehead on the final play of the first half. It gave Foskey 25 for his career, which broke the all-time program record previously held by former Irish great Justin Tuck (24.5 from 2002-04). KICKER BLAKE GRUPE After missing 3 of his previous 5 field goal attempts heading into the Boston College game, the graduate student went 3 of 3 despite the inclement weather. Grupe made field goals of 26, 41 and 46 yards, and converted all 5 of his point after tries. GAME BALLS BY TODD D. BURLAGE Graduate student Matt Salerno, a walk-on who was granted a scholarship prior to this season, scored his first career touchdown and had a career-best 28-yard punt return on his Senior Day. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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