RAPID REVIEW: Notre Dame 12, Louisville 7
What was anticipated to be a shootout instead turned into a defensive slugfest as No. 4-ranked Notre Dame (4-0) held on for a 12-7 victory versus 17-point underdog Louisville (1-4) on Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium.
The Cardinals trailed 6-0 at halftime but received the second-half kickoff and marched 83 yards to take a 7-6 advantage. Louisville then appeared to recover its onside kick but was called for an illegal block. Notre Dame answered the touchdown with a 66-yard drive in eight plays, culminated by a 13-yard scramble by fifth-year senior quarterback Ian Book on third-and-8.
With 7:55 remaining in the contest, Notre Dame took possession at its 23-yard line and proceeded to run out the clock, converting three third-and-long situations.
Both teams had only seven possessions apiece in the contest.
TOP 3 STORYLINES
• Notre Dame dominated the time of possession in the first half (21:57 to 8:03) but had only two field goals by senior Jonathan Doerer (32 and 30 yards) to show for it while taking a 6-0 lead at the intermission. A third field-goal attempt, from 31 yards on fourth-and-9, turned into a fake, but holder Jay Bramblett was stopped a couple of yards short of the first down with 43 seconds left until halftime
In the first quarter alone, Notre Dame ran 25 plays for 97 yards to Louisville's five for 12 yards.
• The only two touchdown drives of the game occurred on the first two possessions of the second half. Otherwise, both defenses and their pressure made it a field-position battle most of the game — and neither offense committed a turnover.
• On the final series with Notre Dame taking possession at its 23-yard line with 7:55 left, the Irish were clutch on third down:
It converted on third-and-6 with a Book pass to fifth-year senior Javon McKinley just past the first-down marker.
On third-and-7 from his 47-yard line, Book found fifth-year senior Ben Skowronek for 13 yards on the drag route.
On third-and-5 from the Louisville 35-yard line, sophomore running back Kyren Williams (25 carries, 127 yards) broke loose for a 24-yard gain.
After taking a 7-6 lead with a masterful 83-yard drive to open the second half, Louisville appeared to recover its ensuing onside kick — but an illegal block by the Cardinals forced them to kick again. Notre Dame then responded with a 66-yard touchdown drive and Book's scoring scramble on yet another third-and-long to take the lead for good.
STATS OF THE GAME
Notre Dame penetrated Louisville's red zone five times, but scored only one touchdown and two field goals, which helped result in the close score. One of those drives, though was the final one in which the Irish, after getting to the Louisville 11-yard line, ran out the clock by taking a knee a few times.
Part II is we unofficially had Notre Dame 5 of 6 on third-down conversions in the second half before taking a knee on third-and-15 to end the contest.
Finally, the Irish are 9-1 in their last 10 games decided by seven points or less.
In a rare 12-7 outcome in today's offensive oriented football, the defense takes the bows. Official stats from Notre Dame weren't available after the game, but senior rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah made his presence felt all game playing downhill and recording a couple tackles behind the line of scrimmage among his unofficial four solos.
Notre Dame now owns the second-longest home winning streak in the nation at 22. Clemson is atop the current leader board with 26 straight victories at home. The top-ranked Tigers will be the next home game for the Irish (Nov. 7).
The record at Notre Dame Stadium, which opened in 1930, is 28 from 1942-50, and the current streak is the only one behind it.
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