Saturday, September 30, 2017

No. 22 Notre Dame 52, Miami (OH) 17: Irish reach the 900-win plateau in the FBS

                                                        Photo Credit: Jon Opiela

By: Jon Opiela
Twitter @JonOpiela24

NOTRE DAME, Ind.— The No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-1) recorded their 900th win in school history in a 52-17 blowout over the Miami University Redhawks (2-3, 1-0 Mid-American Conference). Notre Dame joins Michigan (935) as the second program in FBS history to reach the 900-win milestone.  Notre Dame’s offense looked in peak form as it recorded 503 yards of total offense, including 333 on the ground in the win.

The Irish poured on 45 first half points, the most in a first half under a Brian Kelly coached team.

“45 points in the first half so I’m really proud of our guys. They had a great week of preparation,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “Miami; Chuck [Martin] does what great coaches do in these kind of games. He limits possessions… He keeps the ball away from you so we knew we had to be opportunistic.”

The Irish recorded over 100 yards of total offense within the first four minutes of the game. Josh Adams got the Irish offense started with a 72-yard rushing touchdown up the middle.   Greer Martini intercepted a pass from Miami quarterback Gus Ragland and returned it 42 yards before being taken down. Brandon Wimbush found Chase Claypool for 21 yards on 4th and 11 to keep the drive alive for Notre Dame. Wimbush capped the drive off with a 1-yard touchdown rush, his eighth of the season.

Miami (OH) kept the pigskin flying and picked up three first downs through the air on their way to the end zone. Ragland found James Garland for a 34-yard touchdown to get Miami (Ohio) on the scoreboard. The duo combined for a second touchdown in the second quarter.

Adams found the end zone for a second time in the first quarter on a 59-yard run that featured a highlight reel stiff arm. The run gave Adams 151 rushing yards on five carries and moved him into eighth place on Notre Dame’s all-time rushing list.

“Barkley is a great player at Penn State, but Josh has got to start to get some kind of national recognition for the kind of season that he’s having. He is a load. He is a big, physical running who gets in the open and then runs away from people,” Kelly said.  “This is a special back and he’s having a special year.”

Claypool made a phenomenal catch while falling out of bounds for a 7-yard touchdown pass from Wimbush.  Notre Dame began the drive at the Miami 30 after nose guard Jerry Tillery had a strip sack and Jay Hayes recovered for the Irish.

Equanimeous St. Brown celebrated his 21st birthday with a 14-yard touchdown reception from Wimbush to push the Irish lead to 35-7.  Wimbush added a 54-yard touchdown pass when he found Miles Boykin wide open on a fly route.

“It’s my roommate.  I told him ‘I’m going to get you the ball and I want you to go score you,” Wimbush said. “We did that and he was pretty excited and we’re going to go celebrate.”

Wimbush went 7-of-18 for 119 yards through the air and three touchdowns. Late in the game, Wimbush came out of the game and allowed backup quarterbacks Ian Book and Montgomery Van Gorder to shine.

Notre Dame running back Dexter Williams was a game-time decision with an ankle injury.  Before halftime, Notre Dame also lost Josh Adams and Tony Jones Jr. to injuries, leaving fourth-string running back Deon McIntosh, in charge of the running game. McIntosh contributed 12 carries for 35 yards in last weeks contest against Michigan State.

“Josh could have played. His ankle was not a serious situation, but we didn’t want to put him in harms way. Tony got hit, he wasn’t ruled out of the game so we just felt like we would run with Deon and just be safe,” Kelly said. “We expect Dexter back next week.  Josh should be full go and I think Tony gets this week to really get back to 100%.  I feel good going into next week.”

In the fourth quarter, McIntosh added a 26-yard touchdown run of his own to validate the depth in Notre Dame’s backfield.

Looking Ahead:

Both teams are back in action on Oct. 7 as Notre Dame heads to Chapel Hill, N.C. to take on the North Carolina, while Miami hosts Bowling Green.