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Notre Dame Football

Irish Win Citrus Bowl 21-17 Over LSU

January 1, 2018
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The Irish rallied for a come from behind, 21-17 win on Monday afternoon at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando against the LSU Tigers. Miles Boykin caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Ian Book with under two minutes to play, and the Irish held on for their tenth win of the season.

Book replaced an ineffective Brandon Wimbush in the first half and finished the game 14 of 19 for 164 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Josh Adams led the Irish with 44 yards on the ground and Boykin was the leading receiver with three receptions for 102 yards and the game-winning score.

Danny Etling completed 19 of 33 passes for 229 yards and two touchdown passes to Derrius Guice. Guice was the game’s leading rusher with 21 carries for 98 yards. D.J. Chark led the Tigers with five receptions for 63 yards.

The Irish finished the season 10-4 despite losing two of their last three regular-season games. The Tigers finished the year 9-4.

The Irish began their next drive at their 26-yard line trying to stay alive with just two minutes to play. Book found a diving Chris Finke which got the Irish up to midfield. On the next play, Book found Boykin down the sideline for a ridiculous one-handed catch, and Boykin avoided multiple defenders and scored from 55 yards out to give the Irish a 21-17 lead with about 90 seconds to play.

The Tigers took over at their own 23-yard line trying to take the lead after the huge momentum swing. Etling ran and picked up an important first down to keep the drive alive with under a minute to play.

The Irish only had the football for only 22 minutes but thanks to the quick strike offense in the second half, it didn’t make a difference.

The Tigers received the second half kick, trailing by three. The Irish were strong out of the gate, forcing the Tigers into their fourth punt of the game. The Irish muffed the punt, and the Tigers took over inside Notre Dame territory. On third down, Etling completed a short pass to Guice who then weaved his way into the end zone to give the Tigers a 7-3 lead with 11:37 left in the third quarter.

The Irish received the short kickoff, taking over at their own 25-yard line. Book again started the first drive of the half as the Irish looked to find a rhythm on offense. Book completed an important third-down pass to Durham Smythe to pick up a first down and get the Irish up near midfield. The Irish got further into Tiger territory as Book completed another third down pass for a first down, this time to Nick Weishar.

After an offensive penalty, Book threw an ill-advised interception inside the red zone, giving the ball back to the Tigers with seven and a half minutes left in the quarter. Etling was sacked on third down as the Irish defense forced a three and out. Finke caught the punt at the Tigers 49-yard line, giving the Irish their best field position of the game.

On the first play of the drive, Book picked up 15 yards on a misdirection play as he found a rhythm early on the drive. The Irish drive stalled almost immediately after but Justin Yoon drilled a 49-yarder to cut the Tiger lead to 7-6 with just 2:47 remaining in the quarter.

The Tigers began their next drive at their own 25-yard line trying to extend the lead. On third down, Etling found his tight end Foster Moreau down the sideline for a 26-yard gain to keep the drive alive. The Tigers still had the ball in Irish territory as the third quarter came to a close. A reception by Chark got the Tigers into the red zone early in the fourth quarter as the Tigers looked to extend their lead.

The Tigers punched it in as Etling found an open Guice for his second touchdown pass of the game to give the Tigers a 14-6 advantage with 11:13 left in the game. The Irish began their next drive at their own 25-yard line looking to answer the Tigers scoring drive. Dexter Williams took a carry on second down and took it 31 yards down the sideline to get the drive moving. An intentional grounding call backed up the drive into a third and long.

Book found Boykin down the sideline in double coverage to put the Irish in the red zone for the first time in the game. The Irish finally scored as Book found Michael Young in a crowded end zone for six. Adams then scored on the two-point conversion to tie the game with 7:49 to play.

The Tigers began their drive at their own 23-yard line trying to retake the lead. On a third-down pass, Etling found Steph Sullivan for a 14-yard gain and a first down near midfield. Etling hit Moreau for a first down, and the pass got the Tigers into the red zone yet again. The Tigers settled for a field goal from Jack Gonsoulin to give them a 17-14 lead with 2:03 to go.

The Tigers gained nearly 400 yards of total offense, but the Irish defense stepped up when it mattered most which was in the red zone.

The Irish received the opening kickoff, beginning their first drive at their own 25-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Wimbush found a streaking Equanimeous St.Brown down the sideline for a 35-yard gain, putting the Irish into Tigers territory. After a completion to Smythe, the Irish went for it on fourth down, but the Tigers stood tall.

The Tigers began their first drive from their own 34-yard line. An Etling throw to Russell Gage gave the Tigers a first down on third down and put them into Irish territory. The Tiger drive stalled and they were forced to punt the ball back to the Irish. Gage downed the punt at the Irish two-yard line with 10:13 left in the first quarter.

A short carry by Adams just barely picked up a first down on third down as the Irish tried to get some breathing room. Wimbush broke off a big run on of 31 yards to put the Irish into Tigers territory. After the big play, the drive stalled around midfield and the Irish were forced to punt.

Julian Love made a huge tackle inside the five-yard-line, forcing the Tigers to start their next drive at their own three-yard line. On first down, Guice ripped off a 30-yard gain to get the Tiger drive moving. After the big gain, the Irish defense stepped up and forced another Tiger punt, taking over at their own 13-yard line.

The Irish went three and out as Wimbush struggled to find a rhythm. The Tigers took over at their own 45-yard line as Chark nearly fumbled the ball away. A quick hitter by Guice got the Tigers over midfield but that was all the Tigers could muster as they went three and out. The Irish took over at their own ten with under two minutes left in the quarter.

After a big loss on a run by Adams, the Irish were forced into yet another punt as the first quarter came to an end with the game still scoreless. The Tigers took over at their own 35-yard line to begin their next drive. A reverse sweep run by Gage got the Tigers up to midfield on the first play of the drive. An Etling quarterback sneak picked up a first down as the Tigers drive got deeper into Irish territory.

A short run by Darrel Williams put the Tigers into the red zone, the first trip to the red zone for either team. After a false start penalty, the Tigers were forced into a field goal, but Connor Culp missed the kick wide right. The Irish took over with 7:45 left in the half.

The drive sputtered, and the Irish were forced to punt after just three plays. The Tigers took over at their own 34 as Chark was lit up on the punt return. Etling was brought down on first down by a group of defenders led by Nyles Morgan which put the drive in an early hole. A big gain of 31 got the Tigers a first down as Etling rolled out and found Dee Anderson on the right sideline.

A third down reception by Chark got the Tigers into the red zone for the second time in the game. After a big tackle for loss by Drue Tranquil, the Tigers were backed up, and things got worse as a backup kicker, Gonsoulin missed a 37-yard field goal to keep the game scoreless with two minutes to go before halftime.

Book came into the game on the next drive hoping to get the Irish on the scoreboard. After a sack, Book and the Irish were forced into a third down and long. Book kept the ball and ran for the first down, putting the Irish around midfield with time winding down the half. Book completed a bullet to Boykin down the left sideline to get the Irish deeper into Tiger territory. Book was sacked on third down, forcing the Irish to settle for a field goal by Yoon.

The Irish led 3-0 at half as Wimbush was just three for eight for 52 yards, Book was 3 for 5 for 33 yards. Wimbush was the leading rusher with 38 yards. St.Brown was the receiving leader with two catches for 47 yards. For the Tigers, Etling was nine of fifteen through the air for 111 yards. Guice was the leading rusher with seven carries for 47 yards. Chark was the top receiver with two receptions for 30 yards.

Player of the Game: Book. The sophomore quarterback showed he still has the skill to be a starting caliber player. The Irish will be faced will an interesting decision at quarterback going into 2018.

Unsung Hero: Boykin. With a few key offensive players unavailable, the junior receiver came up big in key moments and was awarded the game’s MVP award.

 
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