Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame's Best & Worst Moments From The 2019 Season

January 7, 2020

The calendar has flipped to 2020 and 2019 is gone. 

Well, I’m sure the ISD faithful will reminisce over the 2019 season for a few more months, but let's cap off the 11-2 year with some of the best and worst plays of the year. 

Best Drive: Virginia Tech | 18 plays, 87 yards in 2:53 ๐Ÿคซ๐Ÿคซ

This drive not only won the game, but it defined the second half of the season for Notre Dame. 

1st & 10 - Book incomplete to Claypool. 

2nd & 10 - Book runs for a gain of 7.

3rd & 3 - Book incomplete to Cole Kmet

4th & 3 - Book complete to Jafar Armstrong for a gain of 5. 

1st & 10 - Book complete to Armstrong for another gain of 5. 

2nd & 5 - Book runs for 7 yards 

1st & 10 - Book incomplete to Claypool 

2nd & 10 - Armstrong runs for a gain of 3 yards. 

Timeout Notre Dame with 1:45 remaining. 

3rd & 7 - Book complete to Avery Davis for 12 yards. 

1st & 10 - Book complete to Avery Davis for a gain of 2 yards.

2nd & 8 - Book finds Claypool for a  gain of 13 yards.

1st & 10 - Book incomplete to Claypool.

2nd & 10 - Book incomplete to Chris Finke. 

3rd & 10 - Book incomplete to Armstrong. 

4th & 10 - Book complete to Claypool for a gain of 26 yards to the Hokies 7. (Notre Dame fans exhale) 

1st & Goal - Book incomplete. 

2nd & Goal - Book incomplete to Claypool. 

3rd & Goal - Book runs it in from 7 yards out with 29 seconds to play. 

Ian Book could have folded. Notre Dame could have folded. 

They didn't as Book scored on a risky call and the rest of the 2019 season was dandy.

Worst Drive: Georgia | 2:00 remaining in the fourth quarter ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

Notre Dame’s defense came up with a huge stand to give the ball back to the offense in Athens. Ian Book and the Irish offense took the field with 2:00 remaining in the game and just 52 yards away from the end zone trailing 23-17...

1st & 10 - Book complete to Tony Jones Jr. for 3 yards. 

2nd & 7 - Book complete to Claypool. Ball at the Georgia 40. 

1st & 10 - Book incomplete to Claypool.

2nd & 10 - Book complete to Jones for a gain of 2 yards. 

3rd & 8 - Book incomplete to Claypool 

Timeout Georgia with :58 seconds remaining 

4th & 8 - Book desperation bomb to Claypool falls incomplete. 

It could have been a moment, but the Irish gained just 14 yards in six plays and took 1:12 off the clock. 

Book's miracle bomb to Chase Claypool fell incomplete and the Dawgs escaped with a six-point win, but Notre Dame earned respect at the time. 

Best Run: Iowa State | Tony Jones Jr. 84 yards to the house. ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฟ‍โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’จ

I'll repeat it again. Tony Jones Jr. 84 yards to the house. 

It's a run that might not mean much in the grand scheme for Notre Dame as it was in the Camping World Bowl. 

However, when it comes to the last thing Notre Dame fans thought they would see, Tony Jones Jr. rumbling 84 yards to the paydirt likely would have been towards the bottom. 

Worst Run Allowed: Michigan | Hassan Haskins 49-yard backbreaker ๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง

Ian Book found Cole Kmet for a 7-yard scoring strike to cut Michigan's lead to 17-7 with 5:27 left in the third quarter. 

It seemed Notre Dame had life. There was hope. 

Two plays into the next drive, Michigan running back Hassan Haskins took the handoff on 2nd-and-10 and raced 49 yards to the Notre Dame 26. 

Five plays later, Shea Patterson found Donovan Peoples-Jones for an 8-yard touchdown to put the game away. 

Best Pass: Navy | Ian Book to Braden Lenzy ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—

It was a high to a low and then back to a high for Notre Dame fans.

Chris Finke had just returned a punt for a touchdown, but an illegal block brought the ball back to the Notre Dame 30. 

It didn't take long for Fighting Irish fans to get a taste of what may come in 2020 as Ian Book found Braden Lenzy in stride for a 70-yard score to extend Notre Dame's lead to 28-0. 

Worst Pass: Georgia | Ian Book Flea-Flicker Interception ๐Ÿคฏ๐Ÿคฏ

Georgia had just taken a 20-10 lead, but Notre Dame wasn't giving up. 

Ian Book had just hit tight end Tommy Tremble on a beautiful wheel route for 20 yards to get to the Georgia 45. 

Former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip Long called a flea-flicker and Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning called a cornerback blitz. 

Book escaped to avoid a sack from the cornerback, but forced a bad throw to Chris Finke on the sideline. JR Reed covered an INSANE amount of ground to make a diving interception and took Notre Dame's momentum away. 

Best Turnover: New Mexico | Kyle Hamilton Pick Six ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž

We told you all fall camp Kyle Hamilton was all over the field. Interceptions, deflections, forced fumbles, you name it, he did it. 

It took all of five defensive plays in the home-opener for Notre Dame fans to get a glimpse of the next great (South Korean) player.

Hamilton picked off a Sheriron Jones pass on 3rd-and-8 and returned it 34 yards to the house. 

In the words of Brian Kelly, “Get used to it.”

Worst Turnover: Virginia Tech | Jafar Armstrong Fumble ๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐Ÿฝ

Notre Dame leading 14-7 and driving at the end of the first half. 

The Irish were down to the Hokie one-yard line and Jafar Armstrong got the ball punched out of his hands. 

Divine Deablo scooped it and returned it 98 yards to tie the game at 14 with nine seconds left in the half. 

It's a turnover that could have could have led to Notre Dame's ship sinking (USF/USC), but as mentioned above, the Irish rowed their way out in the end. 

Best Special Teams Play: Iowa State | Jon Doerer 51-yard FG ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‰

I'll be the first to admit I didn't foresee Jon Doerer having a good season. I full expected freshman Harrison Leonard to take the job early in the year. 

That didn't happen. Doerer hit 17-of-20 field goals and all 57 extra points.

To put a stamp on the season, Doerer went 4-for-4 in the Camping World Bowl, including a 51-yard field goal...he made on accident? 

I'm not a kicking expert (contrary to popular belief), but Doerer's kick was supposed to be low, however not that low. 

Credit to his confidence and leg strength as he was even surprised he made it. 

Worst Special Teams Play: Michigan | Jon Jones โ›ˆโ›ˆ

Notre Dame’s defense started the game exactly how they wanted to.

A quick three-and-out and they were off the field. 

Bo Bauer then got a piece of a punt and the Irish offense was set up with great field position...until Jonathan Jones tried to jump on the punt when it was unnecessary.

Michigan recovered it, gained field position, and things went downhill from there.

Best Win: Stanford ๐ŸŒฒ๐Ÿšซ

When you go 11-2, the case can be made for a few good wins on the year. However, the win at Stanford takes the top spot for a number of reasons. 

The Farm was Brian Kelly's kryptonite. Kelly hadn't won at Stanford in his tenure at Notre Dame, which included some great games and a few ugly ones. 

It didn't start great for the Irish in 2019 as they found themselves in a 17-7 hole in the second quarter. 

Mike Frank was blowing steam off in the ISD group chat and then it happened. 

 Freshman Isaiah Foskey blocked a Stanford punt and Notre Dame scored three plays later. 

The punt block led to a 31-0 run by Notre Dame to take a 38-17 lead and the Irish won the game 45-24.

Khalid Kareem made sure to leave his mark on the rivalry as he pounced on a fumble to score a touchdown with :41 seconds left. 

Worst Loss: Michigan ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”

Those who watched, no explanation necessary. Those who didn't, no explanation will suffice.

Best Omen: WR Kevin Austin Jr. not transferring ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ

While it wasn't exactly a positive omen for 2019, sophomore receiver Kevin Austin Jr. deciding to stick it out at Notre Dame was a good omen when push comes to shove. It was a mature decision.

Notre Dame needed him to remain in school as Chase Claypool now departs. 

Contrary to some reports, Austin was never going to see the field in 2019, yet he stuck it out and even drew praise from Brian Kelly at the end of the year. 

It was a year of growth and Notre Dame fans have seen NFL talent depart the program when adversity hits. Austin used the year for growth and now it's on him to continue it. 

Worst Omen: USC | Michael Young Fumble ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿคจ

It didn't lead to trouble for Notre Dame and it wasn't the reason Michael Young Jr. left the program. 

USC kicked off the Notre Dame to open the second half and Young found daylight and was headed to the end zone.

But the ball fell out of his hands. 

Young recovered and Jon Doerer hit a 52-yard field goal to put the Irish up 20-3.

The Louisiana native ended up in the transfer portal two weeks later and the Irish will certainly miss his experience and playmaking ability. Young has yet to decide where he will play his final two years of school, but there’s not a lack of interest as some believe. 

Best Social Media Post: Kyle Hamilton’s Mother, Jackie ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท

It’s the tweet we’ve all been waiting for...and some, for years. Kyle Hamilton requested a South Korean flag for his helmet and he got it for the bowl game. Notre Dame has Seoul. 

Worst Social Media Post: Notre Dame...Kyle Hamilton Celebration ๐Ÿง๐Ÿง

College sports Social Media is hard. Very hard. But what in the world is this? 

The photo had potential. Big play. Big celebration. 

Yet, the celebration is off-center. The quality is not great to be nice and made worse by the filter.

Best Rick Kimball Photo: Georgia | Ian Book (Click to enlarge) ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Rick Kimball/ISD
Ian Book | Georgia 2019 

Second Best Rick Kimball Photo: Virginia Tech | Kyle Hamilton Interception (Click to enlarge) ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ

Rick Kimball/ISD
Kyle Hamilton | Virginia Tech 2019


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