football Edit

Game Balls: Career-high outings propel Irish to victory

Winless no more.

For the first time in the Marcus Freeman era, Notre Dame has secured a win. The Irish defeated California on Saturday 24-17 at Notre Dame Stadium.

Inside ND Sports has awarded game balls to the following two players for their performances in the victory.

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Notre Dame offense: RB Audric Estime

Sophomore running back Audric Estime had reached career highs in rushing and receiving yards.
Sophomore running back Audric Estime had reached career highs in rushing and receiving yards. (© Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)

Audric Estime answered when his name was called in the game's most opportune moments. And he finished with the best game of his career in the process.

Estime's biggest play of the day came on Notre Dame's go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. The 6-foot, 227-pound running back caught the longest pass of his career for 36 yards. That grab put the Irish in the red zone, leading to a Michael Mayer touchdown on the next play.

Earlier in the game, Estime also had a rushing touchdown from 1-yard out that gave the Irish their first lead (14-10).

Estime finished the game with 18 carries for 76 rushing yards and three catches for 43 receiving yards. All statistics were career-highs.

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Notre Dame defense: DL Jacob Lacey 

Senior Jacob Lacey came into week three without having recorded a defensive stat.
Senior Jacob Lacey came into week three without having recorded a defensive stat. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

After only seeing 10 plays and recording no stats last week, Jacob Lacey played the best game of his four-year Irish career.

In the first quarter, Lacey registered his first career solo sack for a Bears loss of 10 yards. That play was a sign of what was to come.

On California's first offensive play of the fourth quarter, Lacey sacked Jake Plummer again for a loss of eight yards. The Bears did not get much movement on the next two plays, forcing a punt. Lacey's sack set up the ensuing Notre Dame drive, which resulted in the game’s final touchdown.

Lacey ended the day with a career-high five tackles (three solo) and 2.0 sacks.

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