The going was once again tough for the Notre Dame running backs, but once again the Irish ball carriers were still able to find ways to make plays.
Notre Dame's running backs combined for 23 carries and 90 yards, which was a slight jump from its production against Toledo. The Irish backs also once again made a huge impact in the pass game, hauling in a combined five passes for 88 yards and a score.
For the second straight game a running back hauled in a pass that went for over 50 yards, with most of it coming after the catch. Notre Dame's backs combined for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns, which is quite impressive when you factor in just how awful the offensive line played in the game.
It was far from a perfect game for either back, but their playmaking ability once again had a big impact in the victory.
Overall Grade: B-
Let's look at the individual player grades and analysis.
Rush Stats: 16 carries, 78 yards, 4.9 YPC, 1 TD
Receiving Stats: 3 catches, 25 yards, 8.3 YPC
Totals: 19 touches, 103 yards, 5.4 YPT, 1 TD
Williams finally got free in the run game when he hit a 43-yard home run on a stretch play in the second quarter. It was the first time Williams got a good sized hole and he took full advantage. The issue is that on his other 15 carries Williams racked up just 35 yards (2.3 YPC).
Much of that was the fault of the Irish line, but Williams had his own mistakes in the run game. He was looking to hit the big play far too often and bounced a few too many runs that he should have just hammered forward for positive runs. That's partly why Williams only had three efficient carries on his 16 runs.
Williams had a big miss in pass protection in the opening quarter but other than that he was solid in pass protection.
His 16-yard catch and run on a screen pass in the third quarter was a very impressive play, and while the blocks were decent early that 3rd-and-long chain moving gain was mostly about Williams showing great vision and desire to get to the sticks.
Overall Williams had a quality game, but his grade gets dragged down by the brutal fumble he had in the fourth quarter. That play was about Williams not getting a second hand on the ball quickly enough and then allowing a Toledo defender to rip the ball out as he was spun around. That simply is not a mistake that Williams can make, and especially at that point in the game.
Rush Stats: 7 carries, 12 yards, 1.7 YPC
Receiving Stats: 2 catches, 63 yards, 31.5 YPC, 1 TD
Totals: 9 touches, 75 yards, 8.3 YPT, 1 TD
Tyree's run game numbers are abysmal, but that is more about the system and blocking than anything else. He had a minus-5 yard gain that was blown up as soon as he got the ball and he had three more runs that went for 0 yards thanks to the line getting driven back off the ball. When Tyree had any kind of room he ran hard, was decisive and picked up positive yards.
Where Tyree made the biggest impact in the victory was in the pass game. Tyree's 55-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter was a major turning point in the game.
Tyree didn't play nearly as much as Williams and he had fewer touches against Toledo than he did against Florida State, but the sophomore still found a way to make a big impact in the victory.
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