Saturday, September 2, 2017

Notre Dame's offense in peak form in a 33-point landslide of Temple

                                           Photo Credit: Matt Cashore/USA Today Sports

By: Jon Opiela
Twitter: @jonopiela24

NOTRE DAME, Ind.— Behind 606 yards of total offense, including 422 yards via the ground game, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0) soared to a 49-16 win over the Temple Owls (0-1) in the season opener at Notre Dame Stadium. 

The Irish wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, using two plays in 33 seconds to find the end zone. 

Starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush connected with Equanimeous St. Brown for 33 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Josh Adams followed with a 37-yard touchdown run. Adams’ touchdown was the fastest offensive score to open the season for the Irish since 1963.

“That was good. That was great, actually. That helped a lot just to get my nerves down,” Wimbush said. Then No. 6 [Equanimeous St. Brown] made it easy and ran a great route for me. That first play was huge for my confidence”

Adams did not slow down after his first score. The junior torched Temple’s defense for 112 rushing yards in the first quarter alone; including a 60-yard rush.

“He runs really fast,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said on the keys to Adams performance.

The play of Wimbush was a great relief for Irish fans in both the passing game and the ability to run the football. Wimbush added two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in the first half to help give the Irish a 28-10 lead heading into the second half.

Wimbush became the first Notre Dame quarterback since Tommy Rees to record three or more touchdowns in his first start.

Temple’s Brodrick Yancy caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Logan Marchi to cut the Notre Dame lead to 35-16. The Owls attempted to convert a two-point conversion, but the pass attempt from Marchi fell incomplete.  Notre Dame would go on to score the last 13 points and any hopes of a Temple rally.

Three different Notre Dame players recorded 100-plus yards of rushing throughout the game— Josh Adams, Dexter Williams, and Brandon Wimbush. 

“To have three guys get one hundred rushing yards obviously speaks to the dedication up front,” Wimbush said praising the offensive line.  “You don’t even have to run to the left side behind Big Q [Quenton Wilson] or Mike [McGlinchey] when you’ve got [Robert] Hainsey and Tommy [Kraemer] and [Alex] Bars and obviously Sam [Mustipher] controlling the right side.”

In the 33-point win, the Irish recorded 26 first downs while only picking up four penalties for 20 yards and a perfect 6-of-6 on red zone conversions. 
“Just our mentality when we get down there,” Wimbush said. “Coach is hard on smelling the end zone while we’re down there and I think that speaks again to the guys up front.  We were able to grind it in every time we got down there so those guys are just pounding the defensive lineman back.”

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish host the No. 15 Georgia Bulldogs at Notre Dame Stadium on Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET.