The third-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish hit the road today to face the 3-3 Pitt Panthers. Notre Dame will look to improve to 5-0 on the season and 4-0 in ACC play.
Irish Breakdown will have all the news and analysis from the press box, and you'll find it all in this article. We will update this page throughout the game with any news, notes and analysis.
NOTRE DAME WINS 45-3
6:10 PM - Notre Dame takes a 45-3 advantage after a short field is turned int an Irish touchdown. The short field was due to an interception by cornerback Nick McCloud. This came one drive after the Irish got another short field after linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah intercepted, and the offense turned that into a touchdown as well.
5:40 PM - Irish defense gives up a big run early on the first drive of the second half, but the defense settles down and forces a Pitt punt. Notre Dame's offense responded and got the ball down all the way to the 2-yard line, but three straight no gains or negatives forced the Irish to settle for a field goal to make it 31-3.
FIRST HALF ANALYSIS:
*** It was a sloppy first half from QB Ian Book, but he battled. Even though there were several reads he missed, and he was quite inaccurate, he stayed poised in the pocket, showed patience, and didn't rush. That allowed him to step into the pocket and make a lot of plays with his legs. Hopefully the second TD throw to Skowronek shows him he doesn't always have to be perfect with throws, let your players make plays.
*** The offensive line competed as well against a great Pitt DL. The Panthers won some battles, ND won some battles. The key for the Irish OL is they are staying engaged and not allowing free runners. So even when they give up pressures, by staying engaged they are allowing Book to step into the pocket and make plays with his legs.
*** Glad to finally see the running backs being used in the pass game.
*** ND need a wideout to step up and Ben Skowronek has done that so far through two quarters. Two excellent plays and finished both off for scores.
*** Irish defense had two bad series, and they were sloppy in both, but otherwise they have completely dominated Pitt. The front four has completely shut down the run game, and the pass rush has been better than recent weeks. Coverage has been good in the game, and both of Pitt's downfield shots were actually well covered, but they were great balls and great catches.
*** Notre Dame has destroyed Pitt's run game. Pitt's running backs have combined for 8 yards on 8 carries, with a long of 11 yards.
*** Pitt has beat ND with a couple of double moves, so that's something to look for in the second half. Pitt has had a few guys open but their redshirt freshman QB hasn't made the right reads.
*** Junior LB Bo Bauer has made several big plays in this game, not just on the interception.
*** Brilliant coaching by Brian Kelly in the final minute. Pitt tried to run the clock out but Kelly didn't settle for a 21-3 lead. He called a timeout after a third-down stop and they dialed up a pressure on the punt. The result was a blocked punt that went for 7 and the Irish put the game away at 28-3.
5:13 PM - After Notre Dame went up 21-3, Pitt got the ball with just under 2 minutes left. Instead of trying to make a push, the Panthers tried to run out the clock. After his defense made a third-down stop, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly called a timeout with :20 seconds left, and the Irish attacked the punt, which was blocked by sophomore Isaiah Foskey and then recovered in the end zone by Foskey for a touchdown to make it 28-3.
Great coaching by Kelly and then great execution by the special teams.
5:02 PM - Notre Dame takes a 21-3 lead on a 2-yard scoring run from RB Kyren Williams. The Irish took advantage of a defensive pass interference on a poorly thrown third-down pass from Book to get a first-and-goal situation. That came two plays after Book also got picked off in the end zone when he misread a smash concept.
4:39 PM - Notre Dame gets a 73-yard touchdown reception from WR Ben Skowronek, his second of the game. It was a jump-ball on a 3rd-and-14 and the corner played the ball poorly and Skowronek played it well (with some help from a push off that wasn't called). Skowronek took it the rest of the way for the score as the Irish go up 14-3.
4:32 PM - Notre Dame overcomes a 33-yard gain by Jordan Addison against Nick McCloud to force another punt. Once Pitt got into ND territory Kyle Hamilton forced an incompletion and LB Bo Bauer had a strong pressure on an inside stunt to force a throw away and a grounding penalty.
4:25 PM - Notre Dame gets the ball into Pitt territory on series three but is forced to punt after back-to-back missed opportunities in the pass game.
4:20 PM - After the defense gave up a field goal drive on the first series, it forced a quick three-and-out on series two. Jayson and Justin Ademilola had the two big plays on the series. It was also a strong first series for Buck LB Marist Liufau, who was aggressive attacking downhill and had a strong backside pursuit play.
3:50 PM - Well-designed 2nd-and-10 call by Notre Dame for the touchdown. Pitt's safeties were very, very aggressive on that series, often times lining up 8 yards or closer to the ball. Slot receiver Avery Davis ran a deep corner, which cleared out the defense, and Ben Skowronek came underneath on a deep in. QB Ian Book hit Skowronek and the safety tried to play the ball but missed, and Skowronek took it in for a touchdown.
3:39 PM - Notre Dame won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball to start.
3:12 PM - Grad transfer Ben Skowronek is working with the first team offense at the X receiver position. Braden Lenzy is with the second team.
3:11 PM - Freshman CB Clarence Lewis is with the first team defense. Junior Shayne Simon is starting at Buck LB.
2:56 PM - Freshman WR Xavier Watts traveled and is going through warm ups, fellow freshman WR Jordan Johnson is not on the field, and I doubt he traveled.
2:28 PM - According to Pete Sampson of The Athletic, WR Kevin Austin has re-injured his foot and will miss the remainder of the season. Here's the story:
2:12 PM - Notre Dame announced it will be without CB TaRiq Bracy, WR Kevin Austin and OL Joshua Lugg for today's game.
Here's that story: Austin, Bracy, Lugg Out
Before the game starts be sure to get caught up on all the pre-game analysis.
Before the game starts be sure to get caught up on all the pre-game analysis.
Time: 3:30 PM (eastern)
TV: ABC (Sean McDonough, play-by-play; Todd Blackledge, analyst; Todd McShay, sideline analyst; Molly McGrath, reporter
Radio: Paul Burmeister, play-by-play; Ryan Harris, analyst; Jack Nolan, reporter
First Glance: Pitt Panthers - Breaking down the Pitt season results, statistical leaders, and its offensive and defensive philosophy
Stacking Up: Notre Dame Offense vs. Pitt - Breaking down how the Notre Dame offense stacks up on paper against the Pitt defense.
Stacking Up: Notre Dame Defense vs. Pitt - Breaking down how the Notre Dame defense stacks up on paper against the Pitt offense.
Midweek Musings - Matchups to watch, biggest concerns for the Irish in this contest, stats to keep an eye on and players that must step up to ensure victory.
Beuerlein Breakdown - Former Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein previews the upcoming matchup against Pitt, but not until he looks back at Notre Dame's win over Louisville.
Podcast: Notre Dame vs. Pitt Preview - Publisher Bryan Driskell and football analyst Vince DeDario preview the Notre Dame vs. Pitt matchup.
Podcast: Pitt Insider - Football analyst Vince DeDario interviews Panther-Lair.com publisher Chris Peak.
Game Prediction: Notre Dame vs. Pitt - The Irish Breakdown staff make their picks for the Irish/Panther matchup.
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