NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The seventh-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team’s defense was on full display, shutting out visiting South Florida 52-0 on Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium (10,085) to improve to 2-0 on the season. Notre Dame extended its home winning streak to 20 games, breaking the longest streak in modern program history (19-straight from 1987-90).
The Irish offense also had an impressive afternoon, scoring rushing touchdowns on the first four drives of the game and building a 35-0 lead by halftime. Notre Dame totaled six rushing touchdowns overall from four different players, with three coming from Ian Book in the first half. In fact, Book became the first quarterback in modern school history with three rushing touchdowns in a half.
Chris Tyree, C’Bo Flemister and Jafar Armstrong supplied the other three rushing touchdowns on the day, as the Irish offense ultimately totaled 281 yards on the ground.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame wasted no time on offense, driving the length of the field for a touchdown in just two minutes and 50 seconds on the opening drive. Book completed the first three passes of the game to get the Irish into the redzone. Then, on the seventh play of the drive, Book rolled to the right and scampered into the endzone for a four-yard touchdown run.
The Irish defense gave the ball right back to the offense after forcing the Bulls into a three-and-out on their first drive. Another quick seven-play drive for the offense ensued, as Tyree led the Irish on the ground with four rushes. His fourth resulted in a one-yard touchdown, the first of his career.
Isaiah Foskey sniffed out some trickery from the Bulls on their next drive. After setting up to punt, South Florida changed into an offensive formation to go for it on fourth-and-five. USF’s Jahquez Evans rolled out to the right, and Foskey caught him for the sack and turnover-on-downs.
Next, the Irish offense kept the ball on the ground for eight of the next 11 plays, driving 58 yards to the endzone. Book kept it from the one-yard line for the score, his second rushing touchdown of the day.
Up 21-0 at 11:15 in the second quarter, Flemister got in on the action. Flemister broke off a career-long 26-yard rush for a touchdown, capping a five-play 53-yard drive.
Later in the second quarter, the Irish started a drive on the South Florida 25-yard line after a high snap on a punt from the Bulls. Williams rushed twice to get the ball to the one-yard line, as Book then put the Irish up 35-0 with the one-yard sneak. Book became the first Notre Dame quarterback in school history (modern era) to rush for three touchdowns in a half.
The Irish offense maintained its momentum in the second half, scoring on its first possession via a 22-yard field goal by Jonathan Doerer, extending the lead to 38-0.
Next, South Florida once again had issues with the snap on a punt that was eventually blocked by Osita Ekwonu. Jordan Botelho recovered it at the one-yard line and scored for his first-career touchdown to increase the lead to 45-0 with 3:15 remaining in the third quarter. It was the first Irish blocked punt for a touchdown since 2015 against Southern Cal.
With the game well in hand in the fourth quarter, Armstrong rounded out the Irish scoring by becoming the fourth different rusher to record a touchdown. Armstrong capped off a 10-play, 66-yard drive, spanning seven minutes, with a 5-yard touchdown run with 2:15 remaining.
Up next, Notre Dame will hit the road for the first time, traveling to Wake Forest for a Noon EST kickoff on Saturday, September 26, on ABC.
- Notre Dame extends its home winning streak to 20 games, breaking the longest streak in modern program history (19-straight from 1987-90).
- Today marks the 1,300th game in Notre Dame Football history. With the win, the Irish are 931-327-42 (.732) all-time.
- The win over South Florida marks the 142nd opponent the Irish have defeated.
- Brian Kelly is the first Irish coach to post four or more shutouts in his Notre Dame career since Lou Holtz. The most recent Irish shutout took place last season versus Bowling Green (52-0), while Kelly’s first shutout at Notre Dame came versus Wake Forest in 2012 (38-0). The other shutout of the Brian Kelly era was a 31-0 blanking of Michigan (2014).
- Notre Dame has held 27-of-28 opponents during Clark Lea’s tenure as defensive coordinator to 30 points or fewer. Additionally, the Irish defense has allowed just one touchdown in the last three games.
- The Irish held a 35-0 margin at halftime, the largest halftime lead since last season’s 52-0 win against Bowling Green (also 35-0).
- The Irish rushed for six touchdowns against the Bulls, the most in a game since 2018 (six versus Wake Forest).
- It marked the 12th time Notre Dame scored at least 50 points in head coach Brian Kelly’s (12-0) 11-year tenure. The 11 years prior to Kelly’s arrival, the Irish hit the 50-point plateau once.
- Notre Dame improved to 31-2 under head coach Brian Kelly when scoring at least 40 points and moved to 63-3 when holding opponents between 0-19 points in the Brian Kelly era.
- Ian Book recorded three rushing touchdowns in the first half against South Florida – the second time in his career in which he has rushed for three touchdowns in a game (Wake Forest – 2018).
- Book became the first quarterback in Notre Dame history (modern era) to rush for three touchdowns in a half.
- With a nine-yard pass to Tommy Tremble in the third quarter, Ian Book passed former quarterback and current offensive coordinator Tommy Rees for third all-time for total career offensive yards. Earlier in the game, Book passed Ron Powlus, the current Associate Athletics Director for Football.
- Book moved into fifth all-time in program history in career passing yards, passing Steve Beuerlein, after throwing for 144 yards in the victory (6,525 career passing yards).
- Freshman running back Chris Tyree scored his first career touchdown from one-yard out on Notre Dame’s second drive of the first quarter. He later would set a career mark for longest rush after scampering 31 yards in the second quarter.
- Junior running back C’Bo Flemister set a career high with 127 rushing yards (13 carries) to go along with a rushing touchdown. His 31-yard run in the fourth quarter was the longest rush of his career.
- In the third quarter, freshman Drew Pyne completed his first career pass to fellow freshman Kevin Bauman. It was Bauman’s first career reception.
- In Jack Kiser’s first career start, he led the team with eight tackles to go along with two tackles for loss.
- Freshman Clarence Lewis earned the start against South Florida and finished the game with five tackles and three pass breakups.
- Sophomore JD Bertrand recorded his first career tackle in the second quarter.
- Freshman Alexander Ehrensberger notched his first career sack in the third quarter.
- Junior safety Houston Griffith had a career-high five tackles.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES:
- Sophomore Osita Ekwonu tallied his first career blocked punt in the third quarter.
- Freshman defensive lineman Jordan Botelho recovered the block and scored for his first career touchdown.
- It was the first blocked punt returned for a touchdown by the Irish since 2015 against Southern Cal.