Notre Dame went on the road and earned a much-needed victory over Virginia Tech, coming from behind for a 32-29 final. There were a number of standouts for the Irish in the win, but three players stood above the rest.
OFFENSE - Kyren Williams, RB
Stats: 81 rush yards, 4.8 YPC, 1 TD / 6 catches, 26 yards, 1 TD
Runners Up: WR Kevin Austin, QB Jack Coan, WR Avery Davis
His numbers won't blow you away, but I'd argue this was as good as we've ever seen Kyren Williams. His 81 rushing yards were a byproduct of Williams showing supreme patience, vision, toughness and a willingness to maximize every possible yard. At times it was a byproduct of him making yards where none existed if not for his brilliant play.
Williams was also a huge factor in the pass game, hauling in two passes on Notre Dame's second touchdown drive and starting the game-tying touchdown drive off with a catch and then hanging onto the ball when he got crushed by a linebacker.
Williams played with tremendous heart as well, battling through an obvious ankle injury to be sure that he was there to answer the bell when he was needed.
DEFENSE - Isaiah Foskey, DE
Stats: 6 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery
Runners Up: LB Drew White, NT Kurt Hinish, DE Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa
There were a number of standouts players for the Irish defense, especially in the front seven, but Foskey, to me, was the impact impactful. The Irish junior was very disruptive on the edge against the pass, racking up a sack and several pressures. The Virginia Tech tackles also had a tough time handling his combination of speed and power in both the pass game and run game.
Foskey made plays with pure speed rushers, power moves and his timing on twists and stunts allowed him to be highly effective against the run.
I could have easily gone with Tagovailoa-Amosa as well, as the Irish veteran was stout against the run and was also very disruptive on the ball. At the end I went with Foskey because he was a bit more disruptive in the pass game and he had more production.
SPECIAL TEAMS - Jonathan Doerer, PK
Stats: 3-3 extra points, 1-1 field goals
Runners Up: P Jay Bramblett, S Xavier Watts
Punter Jay Bramblett was outstanding and the coverage from Xavier Watts was outstanding, especially on the final kick of the game. But at the end of the day when the game was on the line veteran Jonathan Doerer stepped up and drilled a 48-yard game-winning field goal. How can you not go with him at that point, especially since he was also a perfect 3-3 on extra points.
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