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Content by JOHN REYNOLDS / Photo by JEFF McKINLEY – Sports View America …
Number 16 Notre Dame(5-2) takes on Virginia Tech(5-2) on a partly cloudy cold day in South Bend Indiana. The game is officiated by an all ACC crew: Referee Jeff Heaser, Umpire Mike Horton, Line Judge Richard Misner, Side Judge Jerry Hocker, Field Judge Alonzo Ramsey III, Back Judge Jacques Hooper, Center Judge Larry Saunders, Replay official Jack Cramer, and Replay Communicator William Dixon. Game is televised on NBC, with kickoff scheduled for 2:41.
This is my first visit to Notre Dame University. I will have to say the campus just oozes history, prestige, and beauty. From my vantage point in the press box I’m able to look out and see the Basilica, the Golden Dome and Touchdown Jesus. (See earlier post on Sports View America Facebook page or Sportsviewamerica.com)
The Irish are coming off an old fashioned whooping(45-14) at Michigan last week. The Hokies are riding a three game winning streak coming into the house that Knute Rockne built! The Fighting Irish are a 17 ½ point favorite to win the ball game.
The Irish win the toss and choose to put the offense on the field first. The starting QB is Ian Book who has 1492 passing yards and 15 TD’s to only 2 Interceptions. The first series for Notre Dame was a Three and out.
The Hokies start QB Quincy Patterson. They too were ineffective on offense and forced to punt too.
In Notre Dames second possession Right Tackle Robert Haines had to be helped off the field on a play that resulted in a two yard loss on first down. Book then completes two consecutive passes to put ND on the 22 yard-line. On third down Ian Book throws a interception and the VA TECH Hokies take over on the nine yard-line.
After losing six yards on the first three downs after the pick VT is forced to punt. The 38 yard punt with an eighteen yard return sets the Irish up on the 28 yard line. After an obvious completion 8 yard line its time to go to the monitor!!! I HATE THE MONITORS!!! Ruling confirmed Geez. Ian Book finds a wide open Cole Kmet (fifth TD of the season) in the end zone for the first score of the game.
VT takes the out of bounds kick off at the 35 yard line. Yet again the Hokies cannot muster any offense and give the ball back to the Golden Domers.
The fighting Irish also cannot move the ball. There must be something in the air today because ND only managed a 28 yard punt!! What???
While being set up on offense at the 43 yard line the Hokies have yet to break the 50 yard line in the first quarter.
ND three and a 37 yard punt. But good news for Va Tech. With an fair catch interference on Notre Dame the Hokies have broken the fifty yard line. With an ensuing face mask penalty Va Tech Sets up the attack at the 26 yard line of Notre Dame. On fourth and four the Hokies decide to go for it and complete a twelve yard pass to mark the ball on the 8. On the third passing attempt the Hokies score to even it all up with 1:15 to go in the first quarter.
At the end of the first Quarter the score is tied. Virginia Tech could only manage 45 total yards compared to 132 total yards for Notre Dame.
During the Fighting Irish’s first drive of the second quarter the offense marches down field 77 yards for a touchdown. ND 14- VA Tech 7.
Other than the scoring drive early in the period both teams could have fast forwarded straight to 6:18 left in the half when Notre Dame was flagged for Targeting!! But the Monitor over turned the call and the Hokie offense has moved the ball down to the 23 yard line before coughing it up to Notre Dame.
On the drive after recovering the fumble the Irish took about five and a half minutes off the clock to set up third down and goal on the 2 yard line with 54 seconds to play in the half. Notre Dames Armstrong has the ball stripped at the 1 yard line and Virginia Tech scoops and scores for 99 yards!!!
After the kick off is downed in the end zone with nine seconds to go in the half the Virginia Tech special teams unit was waving their arms in the air to incite the home team fans in the west end zone.
Halftime score tied at 14.
The second period produced about the same offensive numbers as the first period.
First half stats: VT passing 38 yards, rushing 47 for a total of 85. ND Passing 185 yards, rushing 58 for a total of 243. Virginia Tech turned the ball over once in the first half while Notre Dame lost it twice.
Virginia Tech takes possession first in the second half starting the drive on the 25 yard-line after the kick barely rolls into the end zone. The drive stall at the 26 yard line and Virginia Tech nails a 44 yard field goal to draw first blood in the second half on a 4:00 drive.
The Fighting Irish moved the ball down into the red zone on their first possession of the second half only to have it snuffed out by an interception at the two yard line. That’s number two in the game for Ian Book. Both picks came when Notre Dame was in scoring position. That’s gotta drive a coach insane!! At least it has the crowd on its feet and making some noise to disrupt the Hokie offense.
QB Patterson runs it for 24 yards on the keeper to get the Hokies out of the danger zone. But after a three and out the Hokies are forced to punt and Notre Dame starts their second possession at the 25 yard line.
With the third quarter coming to an end the snow has started to fall. So too has Notre Dames’ defense after giving up a 52 yard pass play to start the final stanza. The Irish did stand tall on defense in the red zone and forced VT to kick a field goal.
On the Kick off from Virginia Tech it appears the Notre Dame returner caught the ball in the field of play then backed up into the end zone and took a knee. The review confirmed that and the ball was spotted on the one yard line. (Another mental mistake)
Notre Dames’ offense has been helped by two consecutive personal foul penalties on VT to get the Irish past mid field.(the second one was a roughing the passer when Tech had intercepted the pass). The drive of the game has come down to a fourth and five play that the Irish complete a six yard pass to keep the home teams hopes alive down 20-14 with 8:23 to play. Defensive holding spots the ball on the 3. Notre Dame shoots themselves in the foot with another personal foul and backs their team up fifteen yards. The Hokie defense holds and forces the Guys in the Blue and Gold to attempt a field goal. WIDE RIGHT!!! 7:02 left in the game and VT takes over after the missed field goal attempt.
The Irish defense hold the visitors, and force a punt with 3:22 to play. The fighting Irish have what it takes to win? The ball is spotted on the 13. First and 87 to go for a win.
Ian Book leads a masterful 87 yard drive capped off by his own 7 yard TD run. But they had to add drama on the PAT. The snap was bobbled but the kick was good to put the home team ahead 21-20 with 26 seconds to go in the matchup.
While the Fighting Irish won this game they have a lot of work to do mentally. Too many penalties, too many turn overs.
Final stats of the game: VT Passing 139, rushing 101, total 240. 6 penalties for 53 yards. ND Passing 341, rushing 106, total 447. Penalties 7 for 75 yards. Turnovers Hokies 2, Irish 3.
Announced attendance 77,622
Good night Notre Dame