Notre Dame 35, Louisville 17
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, September 2, 2019
Where: Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky
Special to Digital Sports Desk by Field Level Media
LOUISVILLE – Quarterback Ian Book threw for one touchdown and ran for another while the Notre Dame defense shackled host Louisville over the last three quarters Monday night as the No. 9 Fighting Irish posted a 35-17 win in the season opener for both teams.
Tony Jones Jr. ran for 112 yards, and Jahmir Smith added two short scoring runs as Notre Dame finally pulled away from a Cardinals team that showed promise in the first game under coach Scott Satterfield.
After a first half in which he lost a fumble and occasionally failed to look off intended receivers, Book delivered a crisper performance in the second half. His 26-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Tremble with 8:06 left in the third quarter gave the Irish a 28-14 lead.
Following a 42-yard field goal by the Cardinals’ Blanton Creque with 13:25 left in the game, Smith finished off a 12-play, 75-yard drive on a 1-yard plunge at the 8:15 mark. That sealed the outcome.
The matchup of Notre Dame’s offense against a Louisville defense that allowed at least 52 points in its last five games in 2018 proceeded with predictable results on the first drive. The Irish rolled 75 yards in six plays, scoring 2:21 into the game on a 3-yard run by Smith.
But the Cardinals showed the fight they often lacked last year, taking a 14-7 lead with 88- and 75-yard touchdown drives. Quarterback Jawon Pass capped both of them with 8- and 17-yard runs, igniting the record Cardinal Stadium crowd of 58,187.
Jones brought Notre Dame even with 29 seconds left in the first quarter, cutting sharply to his right and finding a gaping hole off tackle for an 11-yard scoring jaunt.
After Pass and Book alternated fumbles on three straight snaps late in the first half, Book gave his team a 21-14 halftime advantage when he scrambled 11 yards on a third-and-goal play with 17 seconds left.
Book finished 14 of 23 in the air for 193 yards and ran for 81 yards on 14 carries. Pass was 12 of 27 for 134 yards while adding 67 yards on 16 rushes.
Louisville’s Javian Hawkins produced 122 yards on 19 carries. Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool caught five passes for 94 yards.
–Field Level Media