Notre Dame Game Recap: Kelly Conquers His Shaw Demons In Dominating Win

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 29: Te'von Coney #4 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts after a tackle in the first quarter of the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on September 29, 2018 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 29: Te'von Coney #4 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts after a tackle in the first quarter of the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on September 29, 2018 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Behind an efficient offense and dominating defense, Notre Dame looked the part of a playoff team tonight against Stanford.

It was a back and forth first half with both offenses picking up chunk yards and long touchdown runs, while the defenses were generally good. Notre Dame got the scoring started, and from there both teams traded touchdowns until it was 14-14. However, the defenses held strong for the most part and kept the scoring at bay. Notre Dame had the last laugh of the first half, driving down the field and scoring with less than 40 seconds remaining to make it 21-14. They took that lead into halftime.

The second half was a completely different story. It remained a close game into the fourth quarter, but it was all Irish from there. Defensive leaders Jerry Tillery and Tevon Coney took over the game with multiple big plays, and the offense scored several times to put the game away. This was a purely dominating performance by one of the best team’s in the country on their home field.

Let take a deeper dive into how this game went down.

First Half

Stanford won the toss and elected to receive, but the Notre Dame defense was up for the challenge. After first and second down run stuffs on Bryce Love, the Irish were able to force an early three and out.

Notre Dame’s first drive was a tad different. They moved the ball past mid-field, but after a 3rd and 1 stop, Brian Kelly went for it and Tony Jones Jr. was stopped short again. Stanford has the ball with good field position.

Again, the Irish defense was ready forcing another 3 and out. This time, Troy Pride Jr. made a nice pass breakup on third down after reading Costello nicely and closing in on the ball before it arrived. Notre Dame ball after a Stanford punt into the end zone.

Notre Dame wasn’t going to be stopped on this possession. Ian Book found a nice connection with Miles Boykin, and then on Dexter Williams’ first carry of the season he found pay dirt. One carry, 45 yards and a touchdown. Not a bad start to his 2018 season. 7-0 Notre Dame.

Stanford answered with a nice drive of their own. Bryce Love hasn’t been great this season, but we know how dangerous he is with the ball in his hands. He breaks loose for a 39 yard touchdown run. 7-7

The back and forth would start. Notre Dame drives right down the field with a mix of Ian Book and Dexter Williams. Book finds Cole Kmet on a big fourth down, and then hits Nic Weishar in the end zone off play action. 14-7 Irish.

The offenses look to be gaining momentum. It looked like the Irish might hold in the red zone, but Costello finds JJ Arcega-Whiteside on a nice third down fade route. Not much Julian Love could do.

On Notre Dame’s next few drives, they had a few nice plays to gain first downs, but the Stanford defense was able to hold. The Irish defense did the same. Eventually, it was Notre Dame able to put together one last drive. Ian Book went to Boykin four straight times before finding Chase Claypool for a touchdown. 21-14 at half.

Second Half

Stanford turns up the pressure and forces a quick three and out. Book did a nice job getting rid of the ball on second and third down and not backing up the offense.

The Notre Dame defense repays the favor. Asmar Bilal and Tevon Coney with terrific pursuit on second down to force the Cardinal into third and long. Notre Dame takes over after a Stanford punt.

The Irish have their first two possession lead of the night with a Justin Yoon 37-yard field goal. The drive was lead by the legs of Dexter Williams, Ian Book and Tony Jones Jr. The run game should help negate the Stanford aggressiveness on passing downs. 24-14 Notre Dame.

Now Notre Dame’s pressure is starting to wain on KJ Costello. On first down, he was hit while throwing nearly ending in a Jalen Elliott interception. On second down, he was forced out of the pocket and Bilal made a great play on the ball. And on third down, Julian Okwara rocks Costello for a near sack and three and out. Notre Dame ball around the 25 yard line.

Alex Bars goes down after a first down run,  but is able to walk off under his own power. Notre Dame quickly gets a short gain and holding call on third down. Tyler Newsome continues his terrific special teams play, as does Chase Claypool on the punt unit.

An Alohi Gilman interception was whiped out due to a pass interference call on Drue Tranquill, and Stanford promptly gets the ball deep into Irish territory. A Khalid Kareem sack on the next play backs them back up, and Tranquill nearly picks off the next pass. Stanford settles for a field goal attempt. Toner nails it from 46 yards. 24-17 Irish.

Notre Dame drives down the field, and a big Avery Davis third down conversion gets taken off the board by an Alize Mack hold. Justin Yoon narrowly misses the 50 yard field goal. One possession game early in the fourth quarter.

In other news, the Irish defensive line is taking over the game. Stanford is forced to punt after a holding call of their own and Jerry Tillery sack. Notre Dame ball with just over 11 minutes left. A score here would do wonders.

The Irish offense feeds off of the defensive momentum, and produces a key scoring drive. The Book to Boykin connection is alive and well, and Boykin is finally rewarded with a touchdown of his own. 31-17 Notre Dame.

And the defense instantly gets the ball back for the Notre Dame offense. Tevon Coney jumps the route and picks it off. His first of the season. The offense tries to one up the defense, scoring on the very next play. Ian Book to Alize Mack for 35 yards and 6. Yoon knocks in the extra point. 38-17 Irish.

This defense just won’t stop, and Jerry Tillery is completely dominating the stat sheet and the Stanford offensive lineman. That’s two sacks on this drive and four for the night.

I think you have your defensive player of the week, NCAA.

Next. Notre Dame-Stanford: A Historical Rivalry. dark

And that’s a wrap on this one inside Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish dominate the Cardinal, and Kelly defeats his David Shaw demons. The Ian Book and Dexter Williams led offense looks to be special, and the defense is improving by the week with plenty of NFL talent dominating the line of scrimmage. Come back for more next week as Notre Dame is once again on prime time at Virginia Tech.