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.
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.
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.