Beyond the Boxscore: Notre Dame Overpowers Army

Photo: Matt Cashore // USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Matt Cashore // USA TODAY Sports

After a painful ending last week, Notre Dame spared the Irish faithful any nervous moments by completely dominating Army, 44-6, in a game that was over at halftime. One indication of that domination was that Notre Dame didn’t punt once.

Third Down Magic

One of the continuing problems that the Irish offense has had for much of the season has been its struggles on third down. No such problems existed on Saturday, with Notre Dame converting 77 percent of the time on 10 of their 13 opportunities.

Such was the luck of the Irish that on two of their failures, they still managed to collect 10 points on the afternoon. The lone flaw in the contest for this down was DeShone Kizer’s interception toss at the goal line, ending the first drive of the second half. The good news was that Notre Dame still led 38-6.

Ball Control

Rolling up 476 yards of offense was easy against an Army defense that seemed to offer little resistance throughout the game. While the Irish didn’t need to run a play on their first score, their four other first half touchdowns saw a total of 29 plays.

Nine more plays on their field goal were simply the precursor to their 35 plays during the second half garbage time. Ironically, the lone second half score took just five plays and was sandwiched around drives that ate up more than 16 minutes of clock and gained a total of 145 yards on 30 plays.

Getting Such a Rush

Notre Dame maintained possession for more than 34 minutes by averaging 6.1 yards on every rushing play. The 261 yards they gained topped their opponent’s number in that category, which ordinarily wouldn’t be a noteworthy statistic. However, the Black Knights’ offense is run-based, meaning it’s always a challenge to top that output.

The Irish weren’t afraid to spread the wealth, with three runners each contributing 70 yards or more. With the game comfortably in hand, Malik Zaire did what he does best by picking up 35 yards on just six carries.

Hail the Kizer

Putting together one a strong all-around performance, DeShone Kizer did it with both his arm and legs, contributing 281 yards of total offense – one of his more balanced performances of the seasons. In this game, he was 17 of 28 for 209 yards, throwing for three scores, and also ran for 72 yards on seven carries.

Kizer connected for 171 yards in the first half, with his three scoring passes coming on first, second and third down, respectively. Even without Torii Hunter, Jr., he had freshman Kevin Stepherson, who contributed five grabs for 75 yards and a score.

Next Up

Still clinging to bowl eligibility, the Irish host the Virginia Tech Hokies, who figure to be annoyed after being upset by Georgia Tech, 30-20. Kickoff next Saturday afternoon will be just after 3:30 p.m. ET.

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  1. I’m wondering if they abandoned ND altogether here. Frank started the year with his predictions and results and those are gone (though I can’t really blame him), but now nothing.

    I’ve sort of moved on to basketball at this point. I was thinking there’s reasons to hope for a good year for Irish basketball, then was thinking what kind of world we live in where basketball is far and away better than football right now at ND. It’d be nice if they both could do well for a change.

    In any event, VT will be a bigger test for ND. While I’m hoping for a win of course, I can’t help but feel it will be a loss. They’ve given me no real reason to think anything different at this point. I hope they can build off the win against Army, but I thought that after the Nevada, Syracuse and Miami wins. They haven’t even managed to string together back to back wins this year, which is incredibly sad considering their schedule this year.

  2. As the weather begins to turn cooler throughout much of the country please remember that pansies are one of the most popular cool weather annuals.

    Some gardeners refer to them as one of the gutsiest flowers out there.

    1. As usual, you’re wrong, Burgy.

      Whay you should’ve said was another gultess performance from the Stillers, and especially the little
      b _ _ ch of a coach, the poster child against affirmative action Mike “Momlin”.

      Just like the gutless Irish under BK, 42 seconds is too much time to leave the opponent.

      (BTW: I called it on the spot that the Steelers scored too early! I was told by the local Stillers’ version of our pie in the sky gang here that there was no way Dallas would come back. Not only did they come back, they didn’t even need to kick a FG on the pathetic Steelers D!)

      1. As a Giants fan I was depending on your Steelers to take down the Cowboys, the standings are one reason, the other being, well they’re the Cowboys. I always root against them (the same way I always root against Michigan and Miami).

        I do take some small satisfaction, though, that the Giants were the lone team to beat the Cowboys.

      2. Going for 2 points EVERY time isn’t gutsy, it’s stupid! Chasing points is a sure recipe for defeat. Just ask BK every time he’s gone out chasing points!

      3. Real gutsy move by Dantonio going for two! Always a winning call to chase points early. After all a one point lead against Ohio St. with almost five minutes to play is a sure thing!

  3. Nice to seem them doing what they needed to do and having the game in the bag by halftime. I know it’s Army but I liked what I saw from Zaire on the last drive and also from Folsom. We’ll see how that translates to the next two weeks.

  4. A win is a win. Next 2 will be tough although I think the Irish win next week then get clobbered in Cali.
    Finish up at 5-7.

  5. I’m glad for the win, and glad to see ND play a solid game in all 3 phases for a change, even if it were Army. But it just seems too little to late, and who knows which team shows up next week.

    Despite my doubts, I’ll hope they build off this somehow and win out (ok stop laughing).

    1. I’m not laughing Damian. If you’re a fan you need to stick with your team through thick and thin. Is this a great team? No. Were there some positives to take away from the vicory over Army? Yes there were and I would rather look for the positive any time.

      I’m heading to South Bend for the VT game and I hope we won’t be disappointed.
      Go Irish!!!!!

  6. Kizer couldn’t find an open receiver on half the passing plays and had to scramble a lot. That shouldn’t happen against a high school team. Good thing Kizer was able to plow through those little defenders trying to tackle him.

  7. We stress and freak out about close game losses (6 so far), then we watch the halftime spot with Brady Quinn giving back to our veterans and we are reminded again about ND quality and the key W. I. N. = What’s Important Now. Now that doesn’t mean ND shouldn’t try to win football games, and … I do know it was Army and with several injured starters, including their top 3 CBs and no kicker, and more penalties than hardly ever by them but. . . “credit where credit is due”. With the criticism should come deserved accolades.

    Great job by DC Hudson and D’ staff preparing them for Army’s cut-blocking options. Jarron Jones didn’t look like he was having a good time. I do love watching Martini play against the option. Julian Love gets better every week, and C.J. is electric- more C.J., please. Fertitta hits like a truck on special teams. Amazing how good Kizer can look when he gets blocking but he still short arms and sails away too many. It’s great ND rediscover that the TE is an eligible receiver. Ya think Va. Tech was looking ahead? GT beat VT easily at their stadium. And SC looks like they have arrived; that could get ugly. Still don’t understand how first and goal or third and short and they still rely on the pass, even against Army, but what do I know, I didn’t even vote for Trump.

  8. It was nice to see a win, obviously. I don’t think Army should be the standard of comparison for level of competition either. Even if they should win the next 2 games ( I think that is a big IF, because I foresee a big rout out in LA by USC) going to a low level tier bowl with a 6-6 record isn’t much ( personally I think .500 or below records should not even garner a bowl game period) to shout about. I will decline any further ranting in this post. Let’s go Notre Dame!

  9. With our strength of schedule , We should get a much deserved Bowl bid if We slip by Vatech. Forget about Socal. But, its college Ball, remember Timmy Brown and His mates upsetting the favored Trojans 38-37 in 1988!

  10. If Notre dame would just schedule 12 army level teams every year we could all be happy every year, .I know Notre dame ran the ball for 261 yards against army but I need to see that against a good defense. Not sure what the problem is with the running game. Heistand, lingo, scheme,play calling. I think the talent is really good.

      1. Yup, playing the likes of UTEP, Buffalo, Lafayette, N. Texas, and Morgan State is a real murderers’ row, Burgy! We could also add perennial powers like Temple, Rice, W. Forest, Duke, and Air Force to that list. These teams are far from contenders each and every year, regardless of what they may be doing this season. Then, of course, there’s this particularly wretched version of ND on the Army schedule as well.

        I wonder how Army would rank nationally on D playing an SEC schedule?! Heck, I wonder how much worse ND’s ranking would be playing an SEC schedule?!

        Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, right, Burgy?

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