Notre Dame Offensive Grades vs. Virginia

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Sep 12, 2015; Charlottesville, VA, USA; The Notre Dame Fighting Irish offense lines up against the Virginia Cavaliers defense in the second quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line: B-

This was not the kind of performance that Notre Dame needed amid the struggles at quarterback. A lot of struggles our quarterbacks did endure also had to do with the pressure Virginia brought play after play. It was incredible how well Virginia’s defense perfectly executed the zone blitz, and how poorly our offensive line picked up blitzes. Malik Zaire and Deshone Kizer were forced out of the pocket several times limiting them to one side of the field on passing plays.

The line allowed two sacks Saturday, and the one that sticks out to me four days later was the sack Nick Martin conceived. I don’t know what happened on that play, but Martin allowed a defensive lineman to run right around him, and Martin made close to zero effort to stop him from going through. Maybe right guard Steve Elmer failed to communicate with Martin and missed the assignment to help, but whatever it was, it was probably the easiest sack that defensive lineman ever had.

Despite the struggles in pass protection, the Irish found a way to help gain 253 yards on the ground. They carried their success from Texas right over and pushed C.J Prosise to a career-high 155 yards and a touchdown. A lot of that success may have to do with how hard of a runner Prosise is, but we can’t avoid giving credit where credit is due. Without the holes the offensive line created, neither or Prosise or Zaire could have picked up as much yardage as they did. In order to keep up with Georgia Tech’s offense this week, the offensive line has to be just as effective on the ground as they were in the last two games. If we can’t trust the passing attack, we have to make sure the run game is a strong staple to our offense.

Next: Grades: Running Backs