The Irish (4-1) entered play as the ninth ranked team in the nation and in no surprise, looked like a top-ten team enroute to 52-0 rout of the Falcons. The shutout was the Irish’s first shut out since a 2014 victory over Michigan. It was the first time that Falcons (1-5, 0-1 MAC) were shut out since week two against Kansas State.
The Irish would outgain Bowling Green 573 to 228, with a robust 573 total yards against Brian VanGorder’s defense in his return to South Bend.
Before over 77,000 fans, Notre Dame jumped all over the Falcons early. Irish QB Ian Book found tight end Tommy Tremble on a 17-yard strike to cap a six play, 80-yard drive to open the scoring.
It would be a consistent trend throughout the afternoon.
Book would find Cole Kmet from 21 yards out and receiver Chase Claypool from 34 yards out to go up 21-0 in the first quarter.
The second quarter wouldn’t be much better for Bowling Green.
Book would find Claypool again from eight yards out and later Javon McKinley from 32 yards out to give Book five first half passing touchdowns. The five touchdown passes in the first half are the most by an Irish team.
Book’s performance joins him with Irish greats Brady Quinn, Tommy Rees, Jimmy Clausen, and Ron Powlus as Irish signal callers to throw for four or more touchdowns three times in their careers. He is now eight all-time in touchdown passes at Notre Dame.
Jalen Elliott would pick off Falcon’s QB Grant Loy on 4th down to end the first half with a cushy 35-0 lead, their biggest such margin since 1996.
The Falcons drove down the field on a drive lasting over six minutes, but their best scoring opportunity of the day would get dashed in the third quarter, when a Nate Needham field goal attempt was blocked. It was all Notre Dame (again) from there.
The Falcons defense stood tall following the block in holding Irish kicker Jonathan Doerer to a 27-yard field goal, but reserve quarterback Phil Jurkovec would add the Irish’s six passing touchdown on the day finding back Avery Davis for a seven yard pass a couple possessions later.
Norte Dame would call off the dogs in the fourth quarter, but all-name team member Co’ Flemister would score on a one yard run to cap a 12 play scoring drive for the Irish, to put the score at the final tally of 52-0.
Running back Andrew Clair did not play after reinjuring his foot in practice. Presently, there is no time table for his return and if the injury lingers it could be a redshirt situation.
Falcon QB Darius Wade was pulled early and reserve Grant Loy seemed to lead the Falcons to some more consistency, even if he didn’t lead them to the end zone. Loy was 13-25 passing, for 106 yards with a pick. He also had 32 yards rushing. One wonders if a controversy at quarterback may be in the cards for BGSU.
The Falcons had strong performances from their running backs without Clair. Davon Jones ran 16 times for 61 yards, while Bryson Denley ran 13 times for 59 yards.
Quintin Morris looked the part in Notre Dame Stadium with ten receptions for 92 yards.
Antonyo Sotolongo, one of the nation’s best special teamers, had 12 tackles to pace the Falcons. Brandon Perce added nine.
Matt Naranjo will need an ice bath after punting eight times with three over 50 yards and one inside the twenty yard line.
Book was 16 for 20 for 261 yards and five touchdowns in an abbreviated day of work.
Tony Jones needed just seven carries to go over the century mark for ND, finishing with 102 yards and a 14.2 yards per carry average.
Javon McKinley had five receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown. Chase Claypool had three catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Tommy Tremble had four receptions and a touchdown.
Jalen Elliott, the Irish’s veteran safety, paced the Irish with six tackles and an interception of Loy. Julian Okwara had three tackles, but two for a loss with a sack and blocked the Falcon field goal in the third.
Notre Dame finished six for six in the red-zone against the Falcon’s D.
Notre Dame has still never lost to a MAC school.
While the result will not please Falcon fans, it was not as poor of a performance as the score would indicate. As we will explore in upcoming coverage, the Falcons offense was able to stay on the field longer and show some positive signs.
A loss like this to Notre Dame was expected, but there’s enough moral victories to provide hope.
BGSU will host arch-rival (and MAC front runner) Toledo (4-1, 1-0 MAC) next week in the Battle of I-75 Rivalry on Saturday afternoon, while Notre Dame hosts USC (3-2, 2-1 PAC-12) in the Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh.