The Notre Dame Fighting Irish had a great regular season last year, going 12-0, but their 30-3 loss to the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff semifinals had many wondering how they’d do this year. Well, despite some early issues against the Louisville Cardinals Monday, Notre Dame managed to come up with a 35-17 road victory.
The Irish were led by running back Tony Jones Jr., who rushed 15 times for 112 yards (7.5 yards per carry) and a touchdown, and by quarterback Ian Book, who completed 14 of 23 passes (60.9 percent) for 193 yards and a touchdown (which he’s seen diving for above) and also rushed 14 times for 81 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and a touchdown. Receiver Chase Claypool also had five grabs for 94 yards. And while the first quarter ended with the teams even at 14, Notre Dame outscored Louisville 21-3 after that.
Of course, this comes with a few caveats. For one, Louisville went 2-10 last year and was playing their first game under new head coach Scott Satterfield, so they weren’t exactly the most formidable opponent out there. For another, the Cardinals committed five fumbles on the night, including three on consecutive possessions from quarterback Javon Pass:
So some of that was perhaps about Notre Dame playing well, and some of it was perhaps about the Cardinals being not the most dominant opponent out there and also repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot. We’ll see how the Irish do against potentially tougher opponents down the stretch, including on the road against the current No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs in two weeks.