Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 23, 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 26 of 55 OCT. 23, 2017 27 lina — came off the edge and batted a Chazz Surratt pass into the air, and then out-played Surratt for the ball. It was Okwara's first career inter- ception and the latest impact play from the Irish edge rusher. "Certainly, we felt really good about where he was progressing, his athleti- cism," head coach Brian Kelly said of Okwara. "He's extremely strong. He's developed physically as well as any of our players. I know at times you look at him and he's 233-235 pounds, but he has a strength component that is really unique and, with that, his athleticism. "Him and Daelin [Hayes] give us two very good edge players." Much was made of Notre Dame's inability to pressure the quarterback in 2016, with the Irish defense tally- ing just 14 sacks in 12 games. With two more sacks against North Caro- lina, Notre Dame has raised its sea- son total to 13 in six games. It wasn't just the sacks against the Tar Heels. Notre Dame's 11 hurries more than doubled its season-best output prior to the game, and the op- portunistic defense forced two more turnovers in the game. The constant pressure on Surratt, a redshirt fresh- man, proved most impactful. "There's a lot of factors," Kelly said of his team's improvements at pressuring the opposition. "It has to do with how we feel we can match up against offensive lines, whether there's six or seven-man protections, whether we can get matchups. "If we can get our guys on the edge one-on-one, we're going to bring more pressure. It really is a game plan situation that changes week to week." With a North Carolina team missing two starting offensive lineman and playing a young quarterback, the Irish defense clearly wanted to attack. De- fensive coordinator Mike Elko called a game that turned his players loose after a week of practice in which he challenged his players to dominate. "Coach Elko challenged us this week," Okwara said after the win. "… They challenged us this week to really come out and have a dominat- ing performance. I think we took a step toward that." SOPHOMORES ANSWER THE BELL When junior running back Josh Ad- ams left the game after just two car- ries in the third quarter, Notre Dame turned to Deon McIntosh — who be- gan the fall as the team's fourth-string tailback. With the Irish leading just 19-7, McIntosh answered the call and had the performance of his career. "I think he showed today why he can be counted on as another very good back for us," head coach Brian Kelly said. "He ran physical, he ran with vision, he ran with toughness, and he got the game ball today. "He deserved the game ball." Despite playing just less than two full quarters, McIntosh set a career- high with 124 yards on 12 carries, and scored on runs of 35 and 24 yards. Sophomore quarterback Ian Book was put into a tough situation by having to make his first career start on the road, with uncertainty about whether or not Wimbush would be healthy enough to play. The native of El Dorado Hills, Ca- lif., looked confident and poised in the early going, completing 8 of 11 passes in the opening quarter. "We wanted to really take advantage of some of the play-action opportuni- ties to complement our run game," Kelly said of the early game plan for Book. "It was going to be a run-cen- tered game for us, getting some high percentage throws, on the move where he didn't have to necessarily sit in the pocket and progress across the field." In the second and third quarters, Notre Dame tried to open things up a bit with the pass game, calling more downfield shots and pure drop backs, and that is when the offense started to stall out. Book connected on just 8 of 20 throws during the final three quarters, while tossing a pair of interceptions. Overall, Book handled himself well considering the circumstances and NORTH CAROLINA VS. NOTRE DAME QUARTER-BY-QUARTER COMPARISON North Carolina 1st Qtr. 2nd Qtr. 3rd Qtr. 4th Qtr. 1st Half 2nd Half Total Time of Possession 3:23 8:15 8:51 2:37 11:38 11:28 23:06 Third-Down Conversions 0-3 3-6 2-6 1-3 3-9 3-9 6-18 Fourth-Down Conversions 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-1 0-0 0-1 0-1 Average Field Position NC-37 NC-26 NC-21 NC-14 NC-29 NC-20 NC-26 Notre Dame 1st Qtr. 2nd Qtr. 3rd Qtr. 4th Qtr. 1st Half 2nd Half Final Time of Possession 11:37 6:45 6:09 12:23 18:22 18:32 36:54 Third-Down Conversions 2-6 1-4 1-3 1-3 3-10 2-6 5-16 Fourth-Down Conversions 1-2 0-0 0-0 2-2 1-2 2-2 3-4 Average Field Position ND-16 ND-25 NC-48 ND-31 ND-21 ND-45 ND-30 PLAY CHART (NO. OF PLAYS) Yards NC ND (-) 6 7 0-5 45 48 6-9 8 20 10-19 9 9 20-29 2 2 30-39 0 1 40-49 0 0 50 or more 0 1 RED ZONE EFFICIENCY (INSIDE 20-YARD LINE) No Poss. TD FG Score N. Carolina 2 0 1 1 Notre Dame 4 1 1 2 Sophomore running back Deon McIntosh finished with a game- high 124 rushing yards on 12 carries, with scoring runs from 35 and 24 yards. He became the fourth different Notre Dame player this season to eclipse 100 rushing yards in a game, which might be a school record. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA BIG PLAYS (25 YARDS OR MORE) North Carolina • 3-10 ND25 Surra pass complete to Ratliff for 25 yards and a touchdown Notre Dame • 2-10 ND27 Adams rush le for 73 yards and a touchdown • 1-10 NC35 McIntosh rush up middle for 35 yards and a touchdown

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Oct. 23, 2017