Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 12, 2016

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

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Page 28 of 55 SEPT. 12, 2016 29 STRONG DEBUT Sophomore cornerback Shaun Craw- ford made his much-anticipated Notre Dame debut against Texas, but the tal- ented defender did not get comfortable as early as he would have liked. "I didn't settle down really quick; I wanted to settle in really after the first play," Crawford explained after the game. "It took me a little while." Texas went after Crawford late in the first quarter, overthrowing a pass in the end zone that stretched the sophomore corner. That play seemed to wake him up. "Once they tried me on the seam route, it was time to play," Crawford said. "They were going to come after me so I was going to have to be ready." Crawford finished his first career start with five tackles and an intercep- tion that set up a third-quarter score, making it a 31-28 game in favor of the Longhorns. Late in the fourth-quarter, Crawford picked up a blocked extra point attempt and ran it back for a two- point conversion that tied the game at 37-37. "Pick it up and return it," Crawford said of his first reaction when the ball bounced in his direction. "I was kind of hesitant at first … Coach [Scott] Booker does a great job with special teams, talking about scoring on special teams, and I just saw the opportunity. We needed those points." SOPHOMORE RECEIVERS BREAK OUT A pair of sophomore wide receivers had their first extended offensive ap- pearances, and both made an impact. Sophomores wide receivers C.J. Sanders and Equanimeous St. Brown combined for just two catches and eight yards on offense during the 2015 season. It did not take long for either to make their presence felt, surpassing their career numbers along the way. St. Brown hauled in five passes for 75 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sand- ers caught three passes for 55 yards, including a 25-yard score that showed off his dynamic ability. The added dimension both provided helped the offense finish the game with 45 points and 444 yards. "He's a stud," junior quarterback DeShone Kizer said of St. Brown. "We expected it out of him. We treated him as if he was a veteran … We're relying on him to make big plays just like he did today." Head coach Brian Kelly was just as effusive in his praise for Sanders. "I thought C.J. Sanders had a great game," Kelly noted. Sanders added 126 yards in the re- turn game, giving him a team-high 181 all-purpose yards. QUESTIONABLE HIT Late in the third quarter, junior quar- terback DeShone Kizer tried to hit se- nior wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. with a pass into tight coverage. Hunter had three defenders around him, and af- ter momentarily catching the football, Hunter was hit in the head by Texas sophomore safety DeShon Elliott. Hunter lay on the ground for sev- eral minutes before being helped off the field. He did not return, and Notre Dame was forced to replace the se- nior captain with true freshman Kevin Stepherson. No flag was thrown on the play, but it was obvious on the replays that El- liott hit Hunter in the head with his helmet. According to NCAA rules, that should have been a targeting call. Elliott should have been ejected, and Notre Dame should have had a first down around the Texas 10-yard line. Instead, Notre Dame was forced to attempt a field goal, which was subse- quently blocked. In a game that went to overtime, those lost points proved costly. After the game, a clearly agitated head coach Brian Kelly was still miffed at the lack of a call. "Very disappointed that we lost Torii Hunter to a blow to the head," Kelly TEXAS VS. NOTRE DAME QUARTER-BY-QUARTER COMPARISON Texas 1st Qtr. 2nd Qtr. 3rd Qtr. 4th Qtr. 1st Half 2nd Half Final Time of Possession 5:25 8:17 6:39 6:54 13:42 13:33 27:15 Third-Down Conversions 1-4 4-5 0-3 1-4 5-9 3-9 8-18 Fourth-Down Conversions 1-1 1-1 0-0 0-0 2-2 0-0 2-2 Average Field Position UT-22 UT-20 UT-23 UT-30 UT-21 UT-26 UT-23 Notre Dame 1st Qtr. 2nd Qtr. 3rd Qtr. 4th Qtr. 1st Half 2nd Half Final Time of Possession 9:35 6:43 8:21 8:06 16:18 16:27 32:45 Third-Down Conversions 2-4 2-4 1-3 2-4 4-8 3-8 7-16 Fourth-Down Conversions 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 Average Field Position ND-23 ND-25 ND-46 ND-32 ND-23 ND-39 ND-32 PLAY CHART (NO. OF PLAYS) Yards UT ND (-) Yards 8 8 0-5 Yards 49 45 6-9 Yards 12 6 10-19 Yards 13 12 20-29 Yards 2 3 30-39 Yards 0 1 40-49 Yards 0 0 50 or more Yards 2 1 RED ZONE EFFICIENCY (INSIDE 20-YARD LINE) No Poss. TD FG Score Texas 7 6 1 0 Notre Dame 5 3 1 1 BIG PLAYS (25 YARDS OR MORE) Texas • 1-10 UT31 Buechele pass complete to Heard for 68 yards to the ND1 • 2-7 UT28 Buechele pass complete to Burt for 72 yards and a touchdown Notre Dame • 2-10 ND22 Folston run for 54 yards to UT24 • 1-10 UT30 Kizer pass complete to St. Brown for 30 yards and a touchdown • 1-10 UT29 Kizer run for 29 yards and a touchdown • 1-25 UT25 Kizer pass to Sanders complete for 25 yards and a touchdown Sophomore cornerback Shaun Crawford made five tackles and notched his first career intercep- tion in his Notre Dame debut. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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