Nov. 19, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame football team (4-7) could not hold off a second half Virginia Tech (8-3) comeback, as the Hokies escaped with a 34-31 win in front of 80,795 spectators at Notre Dame Stadium in the 2016 home finale.
The Irish led by as many as 17 points in the first half but Virginia Tech managed to score 27 of the game’s final 34 points to earn the victory in the first matchup between the two programs.
Virginia Tech’s Joey Slye produced the game-winning field goal with 4:16 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the visitors the 34-31 victory.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
For the fourth straight game the Irish found the end zone on their opening possession, as Josh Adams scored on a one-yard touchdown run to cap off a seven-play, 78-yard drive to give Notre Dame an early 7-0 lead. A Justin Yoon field goal following a Virginia Tech fumble pushed the lead to double digits, as the Irish led the Hokies 10-0 after the first 15 minutes of play.
Notre Dame carried its momentum into the second quarter, scoring on the first play of the frame on a perfectly thrown 31-yard touchdown pass from DeShone Kizer to Chris Finke to give the Irish their biggest lead of the half at 17-0. The Hokies offense found their rhythm on the ensuing possession, putting together a 61-yard drive with quarterback Jerod Evans giving the visitors their first points of the day off a 21-yard touchdown scamper to cut the Irish lead to 17-7.
The Irish and Hokies traded 75-yard touchdown drives to close out the second quarter, as Notre Dame took a 24-14 lead into the halftime break. Notre Dame’s touchdown came on an 18-yard pass from Kizer to Miles Boykin, marking the first touchdown of the sophomore wide receiver’s career.
Virginia Tech cut the Irish lead to three points early in the third quarter, marching down the field in five plays to make the score 24-21 in favor of the Irish. Notre Dame’s lone score of the second half came off a 67-yard touchdown run from Adams to make the score 31-21.
Unfortunately for Notre Dame, the 10-point lead was not enough. The Hokies scored 13 points on their next three possessions with a touchdown sandwiched between two field goals to deliver Virginia Tech the victory.
PLAY OF THE GAME:
Josh Adams 67-yard touchdown run at 3:49 of the third quarter.
After Drue Tranquill produced a highlight-reel diving interception at the Notre Dame 22-yard line, Adams broke through the line a few plays later and won a foot race to the end zone to increase Notre Dame’s lead back to 10 points at 31-21.
Josh Adams. TO. THE. HOUSE!
The sophomore running back goes 67 yards for the touchdown.
ND 31 | VT 21
3 Q 3:49 pic.twitter.com/pEcSjVZJER
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) November 19, 2016
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Offense: Josh Adams – 13 carries, 100 yards, 1 reception, 22 yards, 2 touchdowns
Adams averaged 7.7 yards per rush in the game and scored two touchdowns to lead the Irish offense. Saturday’s performance marks the seventh time the sophomore has recorded a 100-yard rushing game.
Defense: Drue Tranquill – 10 tackles (8 solo), interception
Tranquill was one of four Irish defensive players to post 10 tackles against Virginia Tech. The junior made the defensive play of the day, making a diving interception after it bounced off the hands of a Hokie receiver. The 10 tackles match Tranquill’s season high.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE GAME:
Rushing yards: 200 (5.6 yards per carry)
Notre Dame ran for 200 yards on Saturday on 36 carries for an average of 5.6 yards per rush. The 200-yard rushing performance marked the fourth time the Irish have recorded 200 or more rushing yards in a game this season. Adams led the way with 100 yards and Kizer added 69 yards on 16 attempts.
NOTES OF THE GAME:
Notre Dame completed its 20th scoring drive of 75 or more yards this season during the third quarter, covering 78 yards on four plays in 1:24 after Adams broke free for a 67-yard touchdown rush. It was the longest run from scrimmage by the Irish this season.
Notre Dame held Virginia Tech to four total yards during the first quarter. It was the second-fewest yards from scrimmage that the Irish have allowed in a quarter this season, trailing only the two yards gained by Miami in the first quarter.
QB DeShone Kizer threw his 23rd and 24th passing touchdowns of the season against Virginia Tech. The two TD tosses were the 44th and 45th career scores through the air for Kizer.