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Notre Dame Football

No more 'nice guys': Notre Dame shreds South Florida

September 19, 2020

His team up 35-0 by halftime Saturday against visiting South Florida, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly delivered a stern message to his seventh-ranked Fighting Irish prior to the third quarter.

“We’re scoring every time we touch the ball,” Kelly told his team, with NBC cameras capturing video. “We’re not letting them score. We want a shutout. …

“I’m tired of being a nice guy.”

Case in point, Kelly challenged – and got overturned – an incomplete-pass ruling on a sideline toss from Ian Book to Tommy Kemble.

Four plays later Jonathan Doerer booted a 22-yard field, one of Notre Dame’s eight scores on the day, as the Fighting Irish steamrolled the Bulls, 52-0, despite the absence of eight players, five of them starters, for unspecified reasons.

The tour de force saw the Irish push their home winning streak to 20 consecutive games before a crowd of 10,085 inside Notre Dame Stadium and saw Kelly join the iconic Lou Holtz with the fourth shutout of Kelly’s 11-year tenure at Notre Dame.

“I think we talked all week about the standard we had set for our football team,” Kelly told NBC. “It’s really just a mindset for our offense. We had a young running back that started for us last week that was learning. As you saw, we ran the ball effectively today. We got off to that fast start and obviously set the tone today.”

Clark Lea’s Irish defense continued its suffocating start to the season, pushing its scoreless streak to five quarters and extending to 77 minutes, 19 seconds since it allowed a third-quarter touchdown in the opener against Duke.

Irish signal-caller Ian Book had a trio of rushing scores, C’Bo Flemister topped 100 rushing yards for the first time in his career, four different players scored offensive touchdowns, and freshman defensive end Jordan Botelho tumbled into the end zone for six on a blocked punt.

“C'Bo Flemister, I thought, ran very, very hard,” Kelly said.

Notre Dame (2-0) scored on its first seven offensive possessions, had seven different players with a rush in first half, seven different pass catchers on Book’s 10 completions and tallied 200 rushing yards through three quarters.

Book’s touchdowns came from 4, 1 and 1 yards; Chris Tyree nabbed his first career touchdown from a yard out and Flemister joined the barrage with a 26-yard scoring sprint.

Notre Dame finished with 281 rushing yards and 429 yards’ total offense.

“They did an unbelievable job,” Book said of the Irish offensive line. “When you can run the ball like that, it just opens everything up.”

Notre Dame takes its first of five schedule road trips next Saturday at Wake Forest. Kick off is noon on ABC.

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