Notre Dame kicked the 2021 season off with a sometimes sloppy, sometimes impressive 41-38 overtime victory over Florida State. There were a number of standouts, but four played better than the rest.
OFFENSE - QB JACK COAN
Stats: 26-35, 74.3%, 366 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
It's hard to imagine Coan's first game at Notre Dame going much better. The Wisconsin grad transfer completed over 70% of his throws, passed for 366 yards and tossed four touchdown passes, including three that covered at least 23 yards.
Coan started hot, completing 8-11 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter and he finished the opening half at 14-19 for 160 yards and a pair of scores, but he missed three chances for crucial plays.
He made up for that in the third quarter as Coan was about as perfect as a quarterback could be. The veteran completed all eight of his pass attempts for 175 yards and two touchdowns to put the Irish up 38-20. He made a crucial throw on the final series of regulation that would have put Notre Dame in field goal range had it not been dropped.
DEFENSE - S KYLE HAMILTON, DE ISAIAH FOSKEY
Hamilton Stats: 6 tackles, 2 interceptions
Foskey Stats: 8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks
No one on defense played anything close to a clean or complete game, but Hamilton and Foskey were the most disruptive.
Hamilton had two very impressive interceptions in the game, and the second was one of the more impressive defensive plays I've ever seen and gave the Irish a momentum boost. A big missed tackle on Florida State's 89-yard score in the opening quarter and two big coverage mistakes were black marks on Hamilton's record in the game, as was the 15-yard penalty he received after his second touchdown, but Hamilton also showed why he's considered the best safety in the game.
Foskey was turned loose in the first half and he rewarded the staff with a pair of sacks. Foskey was strong off the edge and disruptive in the run game as well. Notre Dame didn't turn him loose as much in the second half but Foskey still managed to rack up eight tackles.
SPECIAL TEAMS - PK JONATHAN DOERER
Doerer was erratic to end the 2020 season but he started 2021 off with a bang. The veteran kicker was perfect against Florida State, making field goals of 48 and 41 yards. His final kick of 41 yards came in overtime and secured the Notre Dame victory.
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