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Jack Coan Continues To Fuel The Notre Dame Offense

Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan continued playing at a high level in leading the Irish to a 55-0 victory over Georgia Tech

Notre Dame played its most complete game of the season and cruised to a 55-0 rout over Georgia Tech in the final home game of the 2021 campaign.

Offensively, the Irish were firing on all cylinders from the opening kickoff, and quarterback Jack Coan delivered arguably his best performance since opening night against Florida State. Coan completed 15 of his 20 passes for 285 yards and two scores. The 285 passing yards are Coan’s most since the matchup with the Seminoles, and the graduate transfer has now completed at least 75% of his passes in three straight games.

According to Irish head coach Brian Kelly Coan was “effective and efficient” yet again under center.

“He moved the ball around," Kelly said of Coan's performance. "There were a couple of key third-down situations, one in particular he found Kyren [Williams] on a drive route where we had just put that in with Kyren and he could’ve been the fourth eligible receiver on that play. Just his patience and going through his progression. His poise, his confidence, his vision, it’s been really good."

Since the loss to Cincinnati, Coan has posted a completion percentage of 74% while throwing for nine touchdowns and just two interceptions in six games.

Kelly was quick to give due credit to Coan for Notre Dame’s recent offensive surge.

“Jack’s an extraordinary kid in the sense that he has a high football IQ, he doesn’t require extra reps," Kelly noted. "That’s why this thing has taken off.

“Jack deserves a lot of credit for that because he’s a smart football player, and then he knows exactly what [offensive coordinator] Tom [Rees] is asking him and their connection, because I’m there in the meetings, you can tell that there’s that connection and then he’s able to apply it to the field.”

Sophomore tight end Michael Mayer, who caught his fifth touchdown reception of the season in the win, similarly praised Coan’s mental capabilities.

“He just has such emotional mastery to him,” Mayer said. “He can make a mistake and it doesn’t phase the man at all, I think that’s probably one of the greatest things about Jack. The past couple of games he’s been very good at that, he’s made few mistakes and he’s been getting the ball where the ball needs to be.”

The Irish offense has hit its stride in the final weeks of the season.

“We’ve definitely found our identity," explained the talented tight end. "Coan’s been throwing the ball great, Kyren’s been running the ball great. We’ve got Diggs now as our RB2 playing great. Our offense is really coming together. We’ve been doing a good job.”

The proof is in the results. Notre Dame scored points on all six of its first-half drives, including touchdowns on the final five. If you include Jack Kiser’s interception return for a touchdown, the Irish had six first half touchdowns, the same amount of first downs that Georgia Tech had in the first 30 minutes. Coan’s 285 passing yards were more than Georgia Tech accumulated as a team for the game (224 total yards).

Though true freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner took over under center with a massive lead in the second half while in relief of Coan, Kelly noted how important each series is for Buchner as he continues to evolve as a player.

“What Tom and I decided at halftime was that we wanted to run the entire offense," explained Kelly. "This was an important half for [Buchner] to continue to develop and we were just talking about where the ball needed to be dropped down.

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“Deion Colzie was coming underneath, they had carried the seams, and it was the natural progression for him to drop it down so we need to continue and coach and develop during those times and they’re really important times for him because he’s still growing as a quarterback for us and he’s such a really good player but needs those moments as well.”

Buchner completed three of his six pass attempts for 17 yards and also carried the ball five times for 67 yards.

Overall, Notre Dame gained 514 yards of total offense, averaged a season best 8.7 yards per play and went 6-6 in the red zone.

It’s evident the Irish offense has begun rising to a crescendo over the past several weeks, and with a matchup next week to close out the season against a Stanford team giving up an average of 30 points and 427 total yards per game, such success should only continue. 

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