Notre Dame Post Game 6-Pack: Irish Put A Beating on Stanford for a Change

Notre Dame wrapped up a perfect September with a damn near perfect performance over #7 Stanford on Saturday night.  The Irish snapped a three game losing streak to the Cardinal with a resounding 38-17 victory behind new starting quarterback Ian Book to improve to 5-0 on the season.  All three phases of the game were clicking for Notre Dame as they sent Stanford home with their first loss of the season.

This one was a fun one, so lets crack open the post game 6-pack.

1. Ian Book is the real deal

The narrative last week regarding Ian Book was that everyone should exercise caution because he put up big numbers against a really bad Wake Forest defense.  Well, now Book has put on a show against the 7th ranked Stanford Cardinal.  The numbers – which are impressive – don’t even do Book enough justice in this one.  Book was 24 of 33 for 278 yards with 4 TDs and no turnovers.

Book made plays with his arm and his legs.  The stat sheet will say he ran for 47 yards, but he did so much more with his legs than just pick up some yards.  His second touchdown pass of the game came on a play when he scrambled around and found Chase Claypool open in the back of the endzone.

The difference that Ian Book has made with this offense is really remarkable.  He’s getting the tight end involved more in the offense and he’s making the timing throws that Brandon Wimbush struggled with.  Miles Boykin is a major beneficiary of Book’s efficiency.  Boykin hauled in 11 of Book’s completions for 144 yards and one of the four touchdowns.

Facing a Bud Foster Virginia Tech defense on the road next week is another huge test for Book, but he showed tonight that last week wasn’t a fluke and it wasn’t just because Wake Forest’s defense is bad.  Ian Book raised the ceiling of this season for Notre Dame and he is only going to get better.

2. The Notre Dame pass rush came ALIVE

In the first half the Notre Dame pass rush was non existent and KJ Costello started to get into a groove.  He led the Cardinal on back to back touchdown drives in the first half and at one point was looking very comfortable in the pocket.  That all changed in the second half.

Notre Dame’s pass rush started to get home and hit Costello.  Notre Dame made him feel uncomfortable in the pocket and ended up sacking him a total of five times after Costello was sacked just five times all season before tonight.

The pressure resulted in the first career interception for Tevon Coney and nearly created a couple other turnovers.  One interception was negated by a pass interference penalty, another feel through the finger tips of Drue Tranquill, and a Costello fumble off a Jerry Tillery sack bounced right to a Stanford offensive linemen.

All season long Notre Dame has been excellent at generating pressure but had not been closing the deal.  They closed the deal in the second half against Stanford and it sent Stanford home on the short end of the kind of beating that Notre Dame was due to give Stanford for years.

3. Jerry Tillery deserves his own section

I purposely didn’t mention Jerry Tillery much in the previous point because after that performance, he deserved his own section. Tillery tied a Notre Dame record with 4 sacks in a single game tonight with one of the most dominating performances from any Notre Dame defensive linemen in a long, long time.

Simply put, Jerry Tillery played like a man possessed tonight.  After the Irish went up 38-17, Tillery put the nail in Stanford’s coffin with two of his four sacks on the next drive.

Tillery came into the game leading Notre Dame in sacks to begin with now he has 7.0 through the first five games and has the Notre Dame single season record as a reasonable possibility.

4. The return of Dexter Williams couldn’t have come at a better time

On his first rushing attempt of the season, Dexter Williams took an Ian Book handoff and ran 45 yards into the endzone for Notre Dame’s first touchdown of the evening.  Thrust into a bigger role than anyone envisioned in his first game back from suspension thanks to the injury to Jafar Armstrong, Williams rose to the occasion. He ran the ball 21 times for 161 yards.

Williams’s workload increased even more in the second half when Notre Dame lost Tony Jones Jr in the 4th quarter.  That left Notre Dame with just Williams and Avery Davis at running back other than the true frosh.  Williams was ready to answer the call.

Even without playing a down to this point this year, Williams looked like he was in mid-season form.  He also showed the explosiveness that Notre Dame has simply lacked in the running game this year.  If Tony Jones Jr ends up missing substantial time, Williams will have a lot more performances like tonight over the final seven games of the year.

5. Notre Dame exorcised some 4th quarter demons

The 4th quarter was a nightmare for Notre Dame in their last three losses to Stanford and to a lesser extent this season in general.  Notre Dame exorcised those demons tonight with a fourth quarter flurry that saw the Irish extend a 24-17 lead to 38-17 in the span of 14 seconds.

Ian Book connected with Miles Boykin for a 8 yard touchdown pass to extend Notre Dame’s lead to 31-17.  Notre Dame converted two third downs on that drive including a 3rd and 9 early on with a 10 yard pass to Boykin that was originally ruled short of the line to gain.  Replay showed that Boykin had the first though and the Irish continued to march down the field on their way to the endzone.

The next two plays ripped this one wide open.  On Stanford’s first play after the Irish TD, Tevon Coney recorded the first interception of his career. After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that was never shown or explained, Notre Dame scored on the very next play anyway.  Ian Book connected with Alize Mack for a 35 yard touchdown and just like that it was 38-17 and this one was all but over.

6. Stanford surrendered to Notre Dame

After Stanford’s recent success on Notre Dame and the way in which the Irish lost some of those games, there could not have been a much sweeter sight for the Irish then seeing Stanford surrender.  After Notre Dame extended their lead to 21 and Jerry Tillery knocked Stanford back inside their own 10 yardline, the Cardinal faced a 3rd and 28.  They called a simple handoff to wave the white flag.

Stanford, the team that never dies, that never gives up; gave up.  The chances of converting a 3rd and 28 in that situation were remote to say the least.  Stanford didn’t even try though.  They basically said “no mas” at that point.

If it were almost any other team, it probably wouldn’t be as sweet for Notre Dame fans, but the fact that it was Stanford, made it pretty amazing.

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  1. I remember when Book came in to the Miami game last year and threw a pick 6 now he doesn’t make that throw.Yes, he can make the reads and the ball come out on time but now he knows when NOT to make the throw. I’d like to see him throw the ball away rather than scramble and run out of bounds for a loss.

  2. If ND can continue being balanced on offense it will be a force to prepare for regarding opposing teams. If they keep generating 500+ yards a game with close even split between run and pass, they will win a lot of games. It was just a complete game through 4 quarters and frankly, ND needed to hammer them considering how the last 3 games against Stanford had turned out. Looks like some costs came in some injuries, hopefully they are not season ending injuries for those affected. Blacksburg won’t be easy but that game is very winnable.

    Go Irish

  3. The unsportsmanlike like conduct may not of been shown on replay or explained by the lame game announcers but it was obvious, blantant, and stupid. Perhaps, that was the only big mistake made in what otherwise was a perfect games.

  4. I have VT as the toughest game on this year’s schedule. We are going on the road into a stadium we have never seen just after a great ND win over a #7 rated rival team. The potential for a letdown and upset here is huge. And one of the finest defensive minds in the game has probably been thinking about this for weeks, waiting for us. If you do not understand the problems that can pose, you may understand pro football, but you sure don’t understand college football!

    Does that make this a sure loss for us? Hell no; but I would have been shocked if we lost to Michigan and surprised if we lost to Stanford…but if our guys spend the week with their heads in the clouds getting high fives from students all over campus, then lay an egg @VT, I would not be a bit surprised!

    The good news, though, is this: We have a vastly underrated ND team on our hands…it may be too late for our opponents to derail us…when an ND team gets this far, with this much talent, and starts to play with confidence and pride, sometimes the only team that really stands in our way is that team in LA on the last game of the season! We’ll see.

    GO IRISH, whump ’em bad!

    BGC ’77 ’82

    1. SO TRUE B G C !! The emotion of college football players is off the charts, and so much different than the NFL!! BIG test this week to have such a huge win, and then to into VA TECH a week later!! But BOOK has taken this team to a different level that didn’t look possible the first 3 weeks of the season!! We knew he would be a big improvement from BW but this is incredible !!! GO IRISH!!!

  5. Bob apparently you didn’t read all of my comment. I said who has VT really played that has an offense like ND? VT has played Florida State (not doing good at all), William & Mary (cupcake game), Duke (another cupcake) and then Old Dominiom put a whupping on them. Sounds like you are trying to say that they have played nothing but power 5 and top ten teams???

    1. Duke may end up looking like a “cupcake,” but last night they were the #22 ranked team in the land before losing to VT. There is no good reason ND should struggle with this VT team, from what I’ve seen so far. So don’t get me wrong. I think people are mostly worried a little because of the reputation Blacksburg has as a “tough place to play” and Bud Foster’s rightful acclaim as a legendary DC. I don’t think anyone is trying to say ND will lose next week or anything. But going into Blacksburg will be the toughest environment Book has yet faced. I predict he’ll be more than capable of handling it.

  6. I am reading this news from out of town and since the game started at 12:30 am in my neck of the woods I am overwhelmed by the result. Frank’s article seems to gave hit all the right chords. I hoped for something different but expected the ND defense to be exposed. I was dead wrong and very happy to eat humble pie. The scoreboard said it all for me. When has an ND defense last slammed the door like they did in the second half last night? Well done boys. They finally played four quarters of football. Loving the new Book Look. That being said, VT is next. Go ahead and celebrate the victory today but Monday morning – back to business.

    Go Irish!!!!

  7. That is the best ive seen Notre Dame look in a long long time. V Tech on the road still poses a real challenge for the Irish but with Book running the show now and looking like a four year starter I like our chances. Two weeks ago I wouldn’t of given this team much of a chance to win that game Im still not a fan of Brian Kelly but his coaching staff is doing a helluva job.

    1. That’s the best I’ve seen ND look since . . . Michigan State last season or USC last season. I’m loving it. But I’ve been here before. Let’s see how it all plays out.

  8. Frank V. your comment about Ian Book having to face a Bud Foster VT defense whats that suppose to mean? His VT’s defense so difficult that the Irish will have no chance is that what you are trying to say? Let me ask you a question. Who has VT really played that has an offense like ND’s? Who did VT lose too…Old Dominion! Did ODU have a tough time against Bud Foster’s VT defense? You sound like ND will have no chance against Bud Foster’s defense!

    1. Chill out, man. He’s simply saying that Bud Foster is a coach worthy of respect and is a man that certainly knows how to put together a defensive game plan. It would be extremely foolish of anyone to overlook Bud Foster and the talent that VT has on that side of the ball regardless of how good your offense looks. I’m optimistic, but I’m not going to say I feel comfortable going into it.

    2. A “huge test” is supposed to mean a huge test. It isn’t supposed to mean an impossible one. It doesn’t sound like he’s saying ND will have no chance to me at all. Although I would say that “huge” is a bit of an overstatement. “Stern” or “significant” are adjectives that i might use.

      Virginia Tech lost to Old Dominion in a historic upset. Nobody knows why. But they have held their other three opponents to just over 11 points a game. Furthermore, their offense is pretty good at scoring points — about 39 points a game. So they aren’t the pushover that losing to Old Dominion might imply.

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