Notre Dame football defensive takeaways:
The Notre Dame defense was solid on a down-to-down basis most of this game. They allowed 285 total yards and forced two turnovers. Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik threw for a meager 109 yards. The Tigers converted 33 percent of its third downs and averaged 4.1 yards per play.
Clemson punted seven times. Six of those punts were after drives of five or fewer plays.
The difference was running back Phil Mafah. Notre Dame could not slow down Mafah. The Junior running back had a career-high 186 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He got the scoring started for the Tigers with a 41-yard touchdown run.
In addition to Mafah, Clemson’s turnover luck turned in their favor. Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter returned an interception for a touchdown.
Punt coverage was also a letdown for Notre Dame Clemson returner Hamp Greene, who did a great job flipping field position for the Tigers. Chris Tyree struggled to return punts. He muffed a punt that led to a field goal and let The Irish had to defend short fields most of the day.
Despite a tough first half, the Irish defense bowed in the second half, allowing one score. It did everything it could to help Notre Dame get back into the game and turn the tide.