Written by James Leyva
South Bend, IN - The first visit the NC State Wolfpack had to Notre Dame Stadium did not end the way they wanted it to. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the NC State Wolfpack by a score of 35-14. This top 15 matchup between the 9th Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the 14th NC State Wolfpack was about the potent Notre Dame offense, against the tough NC State defense. In this case, the Irish offense won and the Wolfpack defense did not. Notre Dame’s chances of making it to the College Football Playoff have greatly improved with this victory. The Wolfpack also still control their own destiny in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Wolfpack began this game with a touchdown off of a blocked punt by linebacker Germaine Pratt. That gave the Wolfpack an early 7-0 lead. The Irish would respond with a touchdown of their own as quarterback Brandon Wimbush threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Durham Smythe. Both teams would have no luck scoring after that until the beginning of the second quarter.
NC State regained the lead in the second quarter, after a touchdown pass from NC State quarterback Ryan Finley to wide receiver Kevin Harmon. This gave the Wolfpack a 14-7 lead. Finley finished the game completing 17 of 37 passes, for 213 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Notre Dame would not let NC State score for the rest of the game and would go on to score 28 unanswered points. Wimbush would run for a three-yard touchdown and throw another touchdown to wide receiver Kevin Stephenson. Irish cornerback Julian Love would then have a 69-yard touchdown on an interception return. It was his second touchdown off of an interception this season.
Notre Dame running back Josh Adams, a Heisman Trophy candidate, ran all over the Wolfpack defense. He now has run for over 1,000 yards on the season. He accomplished this feat on his 110th carry of the year which makes him the quickest running back in Notre Dame history to reach 1,000 yards rushing. The record used to be held by former running back Reggie Brooks, set in 1992 when it took him 112 carries to achieve that. Adams finished the game with 27 carries, for 202 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Adams spoke about the offense after the game.
“I know it has my number on it,” said Adams. “But I don't think it's built around me. It's built around 11 guys on offense, defense, and on special teams. That really represents us as a team and how we've been able to approach each and every game. Wherever we're at in the season, we're not here by any one individual. We're here collectively as a team, and we’re going to continue to strive for that goal that we have set for ourselves as a team. At the end of the season, if you know they want to give out those individual awards, then that's what it is. But we're staying focused on what we want to accomplish, and everything special that we've built here as a team, we're going to stay focused on that.”
Penalties, injuries, turnovers and the defense giving up big plays hurt NC State throughout the game after getting off to great start. The Wolfpack had 12 penalties for 86 yards and gave up 318 rushing yards to the Notre Dame rushing attack. Until this game, NC State had not allowed more than roughly 130 rushing yards in a game this season. The Wolfpack’s electric running back Nyheim Hines suffered an ankle injury and NC State defensive tackles Justin Jones and Eurndraus Bryant also suffered injuries. The injuries took a toll on the defense and the Irish would take advantage of it finishing with 422 of total offense. NC State head coach Dave Doeren spoke after the game regarding injuries and the performance of the team.
“First of all, I thought Notre Dame played really, really well,” said Doeren. “Obviously we didn't play good enough to win. I thought our guys were well prepared and I thought they fought hard early. Losing Nyheim (Hines) was a blow and fortunately it's not a big injury - it's just a sprain. They did an X-ray on him and it was negative, but he couldn't get back to the way he wanted to play. Then Justin Jones was out and Eurndraus Bryant was out. So a lot of the guys we count on in our rotation on the d-line, that hurt us there. We missed some tackles on their back (Josh Adams) in the second half and gave up some explosive plays that hurt us. The turnover margin we talked about was going to be a big deal and we gave up the pick-six in the first half and it put us behind possession wise.”
NC State knows they still have much to play for in the ACC but their chances of making it into the Playoff are very slim as they now have two losses on the season. This is Notre Dame’s sixth straight victory and they now improve to 7-1 on the season. The Wolfpack are still undefeated in ACC play but they fall to 6-2 on the season. The Wolfpack look to put this game behind them and get ready for a showdown in Raleigh against the Clemson Tigers. The Irish will play their third straight home game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons next week and are looking to keep their Playoff hopes alive.
Written by Garin Turner
In a battle of two rivals with College Football Playoffs hopes, the USC Trojans (6-2, 1-2 PAC-12), hopes may have gone up in smoke as they lost in disappointing fashion to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1) 49-13 in a game that was never close. With the win comes bragging rights and the Irish taking home the Shillelagh Trophy. The 49 points scored where the most for the Irish in the series since a 49-19 victory back in 1977.
USC fumbled on its opening drive and from there nothing went right for the Trojans. The Irish turned it into points, scoring on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Wimbush to Equanimeous St. Brown. For the rest of the half, the possessions for the Trojans after the opening fumble were punt, missed field goal, interception, punt, and punt. At halftime, the Irish were already up 28-0.
USC quarterback Sam Darnold lost the fumble on the opening drive and also threw an interception. He finished 20/28 for 229 yards and two touchdowns. He was also sacked five times and hurried in the pocket seven times. USC didn't have much of a running game as they fell behind quickly. Ronald Jones II had 12 carries for 32 yards. Wide receiver Deontay Burnett had a good day for the Trojans with eight receptions for 113 yards and a score.
Wimbush was 9/19 for the Irish for 120 yards and two touchdowns. The running game was the story for the offense. 47 carries for 377 yards and five touchdowns did the Trojans in along with the turnovers. Josh Adams had 19 carries for 191 yards and three touchdowns while Wimbush had 14 carries for 106 yards and two scores. This is the fourth time this season that the duo has gained over 100 yards in the same game.
The Irish have now forced a turnover or a punt on the first defensive series in all seven games this season. The Irish have forced 17 turnovers in 2017. Out of those 17, 13 have been converted into touchdowns and one into a field goal.
In the first half, the Irish held the Trojans to negative four yards rushing on 12 attempts. The Trojans finished with 76 yards on 31 carries. Notre Dame's 28-0 halftime lead was the second largest in series history.
Notre Dame will have to keep its emotions in check as they hit the road next week to take on No. 16 North Carolina State.
USC will try to rebound as they travel to Arizona to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Written by Kayla Castleman
Jacksonville, FL- The Navy-Notre Dame match-up is the longest uninterrupted intersectional rivalry in college football. It has been played annually since 1927. In 2007, Navy snapped a 43-game winning streak by the Irish, which was the longest winning streak between two reoccurring opponents in the history of Divison I FBS football. This was a 46-44 triple-overtime victory for the Midshipmen. Navy has come a long way since then, also defeating the Irish in 2009 and 2010 mainly due to a change in their offense. The series is currently more competitive, although Notre Dame still leads with a record of 76-12-1 between the two prestigious schools. Navy faced Notre Dame in their 90th meeting early Saturday afternoon at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL. Although, this game was neck and neck, Navy pulled out the “W” over Notre Dame in a tight 28-27 fight.
The Fighting Irish got off to a rapid start scoring 3:30 into the 1st quarter. Quarterback Deshone Kizer sails a 26-yard dart to senior wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. to give Notre Dame the 7-0 lead. Exactly 5 minutes later, Navy answered with a 16-yard TD run by SB Darryl Bonner. Navy brought a huge stop on D, holding the Fighting Irish to a field goal. The scoreboard read 10-7 in ND’s favor at the end of the first.
Navy jumps on the board first to begin the 2nd quarter with 7:43 remaining. Quarterback Will Worth led his offense down the field on an 8 play, 80-yard drive. With 30 seconds left on the clock, Notre Dame QB Kizer connects with teammate Durham Smythe on a short route for the touchdown. This put the Irish up on top 17-14 at the half.
Navy strikes again to kick off the 3rd, on a 37-yard touchdown run by Calvin Cass Jr. Back to back 75-yard drives for both opponents, this time for ND with 5:51 left in the quarter. This was a speedy generated game with a colossal amount of run plays on both sides. The 3rd quarter finishes with a 24-21 score.
Will Worth pounded out his second rushing TD of the game in the beginning of the 4th. Lastly, Notre Dame is forced to settle for 3 to end a 10 play, 68-yard, 9:00 drive. With these last two scores, the Midshipmen win by a 1 point margin, 28-27.
Both teams went head to head, play with explosive offense, and aren’t afraid to hit you in the mouth. These are two gritty football teams and it shows. Navy always play this series with a massive chip on the shoulder, but especially this year when they were dropped to 80th in the NCAA rankings before the season took off. They relentlessly keep proving that they are an under-rated program who deserves the respect of a “high-class college football team”. They are first in the West in the AAC with a 4-1 conference record and now 5-3 overall. This program truly is a brotherhood and they preach unity on and off the field.
“Really proud of our guys, they deserve this win. They executed, played tough football, and I’m really happy for them. This was a huge win, we just beat our rival Notre Dame who is a great football team. We are on cloud 9 and are going to marinate on this for a bit. Will is a huge part of our offense and we couldn’t of done it without him,” Said Navy Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo post-game.
Navy is scheduled to play Tulsa at home on Saturday, November 12 at Noon ET. Notre Dame’s next opponent is Army on Saturday, November 12 at 3:30 ET in San Antonio, Texas.
Written by Robert Henry
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are facing a season where they could very likely miss the post season if they don’t get their act in gear currently sitting at 2-4. This week the Stanford Cardinals come in after back to back terrible losses to Washington & Washington State. With that losses it gives the Fighting Irish good game footage to study, however it also almost guarentees the Cardinals come out of the game throwing punches as they try to save their season Saturday.
Brian Kelly’s squad took another loss last week to NC State but in their defense they played in terrible conditions due to Hurricane Matthew, I a 10-3 game that saw the only TD coming on the defensive side of the ball. While it seems bleak for the Fighting Irish, the Cardinals are struggling to keep it together as well. After suffering back-to-back losses from Washington and Washington State they went from a team looking at a playoff berth, to hoping to stay in the PAC-12 Title hunt. The last time the Irish met, Stanford was able to pull away with the win and ruin Notre Dame’s playoff chances.
The Fighting Irish may be starting off this season so far by losing four of their six game but they have a chance to turn it around with a win over the Cardinal. They only converted one of the 15 3rd-down chances they were given against NC State. But again this was in a torrential down pour. With all-negative aside, their offense has been pretty dynamic regardless of the losses. The defense for the Fighting Irish is the more likely suspects to blame. Notre Dame relieved defensive coordinator Brian VanGrorder of his duties two weeks ago and Greg Hudson took over but hasn't been able to get this defense back to form, we will see if two weeks on the job will end in a different result. With an inexperienced secondary and a poor pass rush they will be looking at upwards battles against USC, Miami and Virginia Tech.
The Stanford Cardinals are coming off back to back losses where their defense was quite overwhelmed by the offenses. The Stanford offensive line allowed four sacks to the Washington defense two weeks ago. Stanford can take the win this Saturday against Notre Dame if they can bring their defense to control the downs during their time. If they can turn up the offense and utilize their receivers so they can open up the run game they will have an easy time leaving South Bend with a win. The Cardinals will be tested with this game but if they can chalk up the last two losses as fluke’s and a learnig experience, they may be able to maintain a decent season.
Both Notre Dame University and Stanford University are looking down the path of a terrible season but they could turn it with a win. The Fighting Irish have struggled with their defense, ground game and coaching staff. However, if they can learn from the Stanford games they may be able to come up with a win. The same thing can be said for the Cardinals when they're looking at the Notre Dame film. All in all, both of these teams have fallen from the greatness that they were last year but we should see a battle between two amazing football programs.
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