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Notre Dame Football

'Flash-card' Ben propels Notre Dame aerial attack

November 14, 2020

Brian Kelly touted his edge.

Ian Book labeled him a flash-card guy.

Choose a descriptive on this day, and chances are Ben Skowronek can find his way into the category. Notre Dame's graduate-transfer wideout from Northwestern caught all three of Book's touchdown passes and helped lead the No. 2 Fighting Irish easily past Boston College.

“He plays with an edge,” Kelly said after his 100th career win at Notre Dame. “Eh, those Fort Wayne guys [from where Skowronek hails]. They play with an edge. We've been very fortunate on guys from Fort Wayne.”

Fortunate as well that Skowronek didn't bite his tongue against the Eagles. Kelly shared that the first-year Irish player, who snagged more than 100 career receptions at Northwestern, came to the sideline after the Irish offense settled for an early field goal and reminded his coaches and teammates he had plenty of self-confidence.

“He also plays with a swagger,” Kelly said. “He wants the ball. He reminded us when we settled for a field goal that he had a great matchup, and that's why we immediately came back to him the next time we got in the red zone."

Skowronek's first scoring catch helped the Irish even the early count at 10; his next two helped Notre Dame take complete control in a game oft-times separated by three touchdowns throughout the second half.

It marked the second-straight November that Book connected with a teammate for a first-half hat trick; last year, Chase Claypool had a trio of scoring catches in the first half against Navy.

“He's one of my best friends, but he's someone on the field, once we pass those white lines, that I trust,” said Book, who's played almost flawless football in leading the Irish to 92 points in consecutive wins against then-No. 1 Clemson and Boston College. “Especially just to go up there and get it. He's got strong hands. Faster than people think. And he can go up there and get it, too. He can jump high.”

Skowronek's best games have game in two of Book's most commanding performances of the season; last month at Pittsburgh was when Skowronek snagged his first two career receiving scores for the Irish. In that contest and this one, Skowronek caught seven total passes for 170 yards and five touchdowns.

Book made clear Skowronek's success doesn't happen by accident.

“When he first got here, I hosted him on his visit. We just became friends after that,” Book said. “I just saw his work ethic from Day 1. He was a flashcard guy. Always studying. He grew up watching Notre Dame, this is a dream come true for him.

“He's finally here. He's definitely making the most of it. I'm just happy for him.”

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