NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Behind a dominant defense and a second-quarter offensive outburst, No. 7 Notre Dame blitzed New Mexico en route to a 66-14 home-opening victory Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium.
The Fighting Irish had three interceptions in the first half, including Kyle Hamilton’s pick-six to open the scoring, and scored 31 points in the second quarter en route to improving to 2-0 on the season.
All told, Notre Dame totaled 591 yards of offense, with Ian Book finishing 15-or-24 for 360 yards and five touchdowns. Book also rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown, giving him six scores on the day.
The Irish outgained the Lobos 591-363 while owning a 4-0 advantage in turnover margin.
HOW IT HAPPENED
With the Lobos facing a third-and-long early in the first quarter, freshman defensive back Kyle Hamilton stepped onto the field for his first career play at Notre Dame Stadium and intercepted a Sheriron Jones pass, returning it for a 32-yard pick-six. The play was ultimately set up by a Jay Bramblett punt that had pinned New Mexico at their own two-yard line to start the drive.
After taking a 7-0 into the second quarter, the Notre Dame offense went to work, putting up 31 points in the frame, kick-started by Book’s one-yard touchdown run to make it a 14-0 game.
Avery Davis made it a 21-0 lead when he took a short pass from Book in the backfield and scampered 59 yards for his first career touchdown with seven minutes remaining in the second quarter.
A two-play, 80-yard scoring drive was then capped by Javon McKinley’s 65-yard touchdown catch to give the Irish a 28-0 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the first half.
A Shaun Crawford interception set up a two-play touchdown drive that included a 37-yard Chase Claypool touchdown to make it 35-0 and then Jonathan Doerer tacked on a 36-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to give the Irish a 38-7 lead at the break.
In the second half, the Irish picked up where they left off when Finke took a short pass from Book and broke into the open field for a 54-yard touchdown.
On the next Irish drive, McKinley scored his second touchdown, this time on a 20-yard snag to make it 52-7. C’Bo Flemister added his first career touchdown on a one-yard rush in the fourth quarter, while Braden Lenzy rounded out the scoring on a 22-yard pass from Brendon Clark.
- The victory was Notre Dame’s 12th-straight win at home — the third-longest streak in program history.
- The 66 points is the most points scored in a home opener since 1932 (73-0 win over Haskell — now referred to as Haskell Indian Nations University — located in Lawrence, Kansas).
- The win marked the first time since 2015 the Irish scored more than 60 points in a game (62-27 win vs. Massachusetts).
- The pick-six to open the scoring for the Irish marked the first time since 2002 (Gerome Sapp in 24-17 win vs. Purdue) that the first Notre Dame score of the year at home was a defensive touchdown.
- Freshman Kyle Hamilton’s pick-six with 10:09 remaining in the first quarter was the first of its kind for the Irish since 2017 (Julian Love in 35-14 win vs. NC State). It was also the first pick-six by an Irish freshman since 2008 (Robert Blanton in 38-21 win vs. Purdue).
- Hamilton’s interception return for a touchdown came on his first snap inside Notre Dame Stadium and marked the first interception and first touchdown of his career.
- Junior Avery Davis’ 59-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter was the first score of his Notre Dame career. It was also the longest play of his Irish career.
- Javon McKinley’s 65-yard touchdown catch was the first of his career.
- After starting 6-of-12 for 51 yards, Ian Book completed nine of his last 12 passes, accounting for 309 yards and five touchdowns (428.8 passer rating over that stretch).
- Book is the first Notre Dame player to account for six touchdowns since DeShone Kizer accomplished that feat at Texas in 2016.
- It is the ninth time in program history a quarterback has completed five or more touchdown passes in a game. Book joins Brady Quinn (six vs. BYU in 2005 and five in two games), Jimmy Clausen (five in two games), DeShone Kizer (five in two games) and Tommy Rees (five in one game) in reaching the mark.
- Book accounted for 406 yards of total offense, becoming the first Irish player with at least 400 yards of total offense since DeShone Kizer versus Syracuse in 2016 (472 yards).
- C’Bo Flemister’s 20-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter was the first of his career.
- Braden Lenzy’s 22-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter was the first of his career.