Notre Dame Football: Grading the Irish defensive position groups vs. USF

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Notre Dame football extended their home win streak Saturday to 20 games with their 52-0 beatdown of South Florida. Let’s take a look at the defensive grades for the Fighting Irish.

Anytime you put up a 50-burger while pitching a shutout, you’re going to have a pretty good day at the office. That’s exactly what Notre Dame football did to the Bulls of South Florida last week, recording the fourth shutout of the Brian Kelly era.

Obviously there is a lot praise to be had for the play of the offense, as well as the continued success of the special teams unit, but at the end of the day it was the defense who put together the most impressive performance from top to bottom.

From the first snap to the final whistle, the Irish completely shut down anything South Florida tried to do. When it was all said and done, here’s what USF mustered on Saturday:

  • 2-15 on 3rd Downs (13%)
  • 1-5 on 4th Downs
  • 231 total yards
  • 62 plays
  • 3.7 yards/play
  • 1 trip to the Red Zone

If you take away USF’s longest play of the day – a 42-yard run – Notre Dame only allowed 189 yards on 61 plays. Absolutely dominant.

The Fighting Irish were obviously the bigger, faster, and better team and that was more than apparent when the defensive unit was on the field.

This type of performance was even more impressive considering five defensive players were out for the game. Safety Kyle Hamilton was expected to not play after last week’s ankle injury, but starting linebackers Shayne Simon and Marist Liufau, starting cornerback TaRiq Bracy, and backup defensive end Ovie Oghoufo were all gameday scratches after the list of players made unavailable for the game was released shortly before kickoff.

Young players stepped up in their absence and the unit clearly didn’t miss a beat.

All that said, let’s take a look at the game grades for each position group:

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