Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Book, Notre Dame Now Know What It Takes

December 30, 2018

It wasn’t Notre Dame’s night at the Cotton Bowl as the Irish fell 30-3 to Clemson on Saturday. 

Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book completed 17-of-34 passes for 160 yards and an interception, which was his worst game of the season. 

“They have got a talented defense,” Book stated. “We just wanted to control what we could control. I was trying to get through my reads as fast as I could. I'm happy with the way the O-line played today. I'm just thankful for them this whole entire season and especially the seniors as well.

The Irish could never quite get momentum and Book suffered from poor play around him. Despite praise from Book, the offensive line could never get a rhythm against Clemson’s top-ranked defense and the receivers failed miserably to get separation on a consistent basis. 

Execution was probably the second most used word by the Notre Dame program over the last month of preparation and the Irish offense failed. 

“It's hard to win a game when you score three points,” explained Book. “As an offense, we've just got to do better. We've just got to play the way we've played throughout the whole entire year and just control what we could control. 

“We didn't need any super-human efforts today. We just needed to do what we've been doing all season, and we weren't able to do that.” 

Clemson blitzed Notre Dame with 20 points in the second quarter to take a commanding 23-3 lead at halftime. The Irish offense was unable to come close to answering, which was something they had done all year when trailing. 

“It was huge,” Book said of the Clemson offensive explosion. “We needed to get first downs. We needed to get points on the board, and we just weren't able to get it done. 

“This whole year I'm really thankful for the way our defense played. They gave us the ball back so many times this season and when they do that, we've got to put up points on the board. That's our job as an offense, and we just weren't able to do that.” 

Notre Dame will have the offseason to build on the incredible 12-0 season but also to build off the Cotton Bowl loss.

The Irish are close and progress will be tested early in 2019 as Notre Dame heads to Georgia the third week of the season. 

“This loss hurts,” said Book. “We'll worry about next year in a little bit.

“You see a team like Clemson, you know this is Playoff football, and this is what you're going to get. We know how we have to play to win in games like this. We'll worry about that when we start working out again and getting back as a team. We've just got to play better. But now we know what it's like, and we know what we have to do to win.” 

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