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Notre Dame Football

Instant Reaction | Notre Dame 52 USF 0

September 19, 2020

South Florida is not a good football team. With that out of the way, how can anyone come away from watching Notre Dame today and not be impressed with how they performed?

With seven players unavailable from the two-deep, they dominated all day long.

The offensive line bullied USF’s front seven all game. The backs were tremendous at gaining yards after contact. The tight ends blocked how they are supposed to be block at a place that calls itself “Tight End U”.

The defense gave USF nothing to work with. They forced seven three-and-outs. They had a Havoc Rate of 27.4% on the day. Nine different players had a tackle for loss.

It was exactly what you wanted to see after a game where Notre Dame came out flat. They were prepared from the first snap today and continued to beat down an inferior opponent even after the game was already over.

This was the definition of taking care of business on the football field and there were plenty of things Notre Dame can build off of going forward.

- I’m sure at least a few fans were sweating knowing that the top two players at Buck were out for today’s game. No Kyle Hamilton and TaRiq Bracy in the secondary wasn’t great news either.

I bet those who worried feel a lot better now.

Jack Kiser was around the football all day long at Buck. Yes, USF’s O-line was bad and depleted. That doesn’t take away from the game Kiser had consistently finding the football. He finished with seven solo tackles, two for loss, and at the very least has earned a spot competing against Marist Liufau and Shayne Simon.

He might not be listed as “OR” next week, but they are going to have to get him on the field.

Cornerback Clarence Lewis took full advantage of his opportunity too. Tony Dungy described it well on the telecast. Lewis is poised and under control. How about three pass breakups and a tackle for loss playing in place of Bracy? Lewis earned a chance to play more too after this game.

- Tommy Rees called a great game mixing in play-action with a good amount of outside zone and iso. This was a lot of what people envisioned with all of those tight ends. The job Tommy Tremble, Brock Wright, and Michael Mayer did blocking in this game was the best I had seen from the position as a whole at Notre Dame in a very long time.

The first call of the game out of 13 personnel (one back, three tight ends) set them up for success because it showed they could hit the big play from heavy formations. Tremble had a great game and it started there.

I loved the play-action comeback to Braden Lenzy as well, although I would have liked to see them testing USF deep more. Only two receivers catching the football today is definitely not something to brag about. The receiver questions will continue into next week.

- The average field position for Notre Dame in this game was their own 44.

So if you’re thinking, “They only had 429 total yards?” The short fields they were working with had a lot to do with it. They didn’t punt before garbage time.

- The horrendous special teams play by USF sunk them even worse than their passing game. I can’t recall seeing anything that bad in a game that wasn’t played in a rainstorm.

- But oh that passing game, was it ever bad. It was so bad that they only attempted five passes on 3rd down on 15 tries. They averaged 4.3 yards per attempt in the game and 2.5 YPA in the first half.

I get trying to protect against Notre Dame’s pass rush and knowing that they don’t have the talent at receiver, but USF’s passing attack was putrid. It was a good day to be missing two starting defensive backs.

- It’s fun to see young guys play and even more fun to see young guys come up with a sack and then have another one score a touchdown on a blocked punt.

What great moments for both Alex Ehrensberger and Jordan Botelho. If only they could have had the thrill of doing that with everyone in the building instead of 20% capacity.

- We’ve been trying to tell you that Chris Tyree isn’t just a speed back. He has the feet and vision to excel as an inside runner. He’s already showing a lot there.

So is Kyren Williams, who ran tough and showed great vision for the second straight week. C’Bo Flemister was another player who played well enough to earn more opportunities in the future.

- I knew USF was going to break off at least one explosive play on the ground and they did when Johnny Ford juked Shaun Crawford out of his cleats and then cut it up for 42-yards.

Outside of that one run, though, USF rushed for eight yards on 14 other first half carries.

- Notre Dame walks away from this game learning more about some young players and having several of them gain confidence. They saw both lines dominating like they should have. They saw two backs average eight yards a carry and neither of them were the starter.

This was dominance from the depth of the program. Although there is a question about the status of the individuals who were out today heading into next week, today showed that the guys behind them on the depth chart are pretty good football players too.

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