GOLDEN CHRONICLES OF NOTRE DAME by Omar Ureña (@omarurena_)
Coach Brian Kelly warned us last week: “They can really commit to their 3-4 defense. They’re big and physical up front”. The Cardinals took the field in the midst of the electric and loud atmosphere of their fans. The No. 9 ranked Notre Dame faced Louisville who finished 2-10 last season, without winning a single game in the ACC.
Louisville’s defense came out with a desire to devour Irish runners and hit their QB, Ian Book. The Cardinals were ready for battle, on the other side of the line the golden soldiers did not seem to be present on the field, that seemed to be the difference it meant to play on the road in opening day before 58,000 people. Without hesitation Louisville went out to hit in the trenches, the front seven closed gaps and exploded to hunt Ian Book.
The Irish offensive line seemed terrified to see them blitzing. The commander of the Irish broke out and fell twice behind the line. Cardinals defensive lineman Nick Okeke caught Ian Book once, the other sack came from Rodjay Burns.
Kelly’s system was clear but the execution was not the best, it took heart and guts to move forward. In two plays WR Chase Claypool (88) got rid of three tackles. Running back Tony Jones Jr. managed to run, based on courage, 112 yards in 15 times he carried the ball, in one play he also escaped from three tackles. With that fighting spirit Jones Jr scored a touchdown in a 11-yard run in the 2nd quarter.
Book subsequently escaped 11 yards to score a touchdown with one second left to finish the first half. Notre Dame went to halftime winning 21-14. In the third quarter Tommy Tremble caught a 26-yard pass from Book for a TD and extended the 28-14 lead. Jahmir Smith ran 1 yard for the last touchdown of the Irish.
It was impossible for the Cardinals to return to the game. It took more than a decent performance of the blue and gold offense to win this game, the Irish defense was obligated to produce, forced 5 fumbles and recovered 3. The last time the Irish recovered 3 fumbles was against Navy in Dublin in 2012.
Notre Dame offensive line developed a progressive mentality on Monday night and its soldiers finished strong. That attitude is essential for the upcoming duels. It is a responsibility for the blue and gold offense to get first downs. Against Louisville only in 5 of 12 times they converted in 3rd down. The numbers show that it was not a comfortable night for Ian Book: 14 completions out of 23 thrown for 193 yards. The Irish rest next week and will be preparing their home opener game when they host the New Mexico Lobos on September 14 at Notre Dame Stadium.
NOTRE DAME 35 LOUISVILLE 17
(This Chronicle is dedicated to Eduardo “Hormiga” Navarro)