For those of you who missed last week, go back and read. Great, glad we are all caught up.
Continuing on with the Sixth Installment of the film series, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish traveled to Blacksburg to take on the 24th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies. This was a week where everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was discussing how Notre Dame would perform amidst the chaos and noise of the stadium. Additionally, I heard people talk about, “Enter the Sandman” way way too much. After the first week of the season, this was pegged as a sure top 10 matchup, with VT blowing out Florida State. However, after the inexplicable loss to Old Dominion two weeks before lessened the hype. Regardless, this was going to be a challenging, big game environment for the Irish.
After a first half that was marked by Notre Dame mistakes (A bad snap on a punt that resulted in a turnover and a costly Ian Book interception), Notre Dame got the ball back deep in their own territory with about 12 minutes remaining in the third quarter. On first down, Liam Eichenberg got beat badly, giving up a tackle in the backfield, bringing up second and 12 from their own 3, with the Irish leading 17-16.
Notre Dame was desperately needing a big play, or at least a solid drive to stop the roar of the crowd and gain back a little momentum. Insert Dexter Williams, fresh off a dominant performance against the Stanford Cardinal the previous week. Up to this point, he had been contained, but was clear he was still the top back for the Irish.
Alize Mack comes into motion with Miles Boykin in a tight formation. The Irish have favorable numbers and look to run a counter to the boundary side. Both guards pull and Boykin cracks down hard on the pursuing linebacker.
As you can see it is now 3 on 2, with Tommy Kraemer and Trevor Ruhland leading the way. Virginia Tech’s safety is in good position to come down hill and beat Kraemer with a move in space, but Williams is patient and will look to make his cut based on the angle that said safety takes to the ball. Fortunately, the defender overruns the play, and Williams cuts off of Kraemer’s heels and see nothing but open space.
Williams bursts through the hole and runs 97 yards for the score, racking up the second longest rushing play in Notre Dame history and the longest play in Lane Stadium history.
This was THE turning point in the game. All of the air was let out of the stadium, as this was a crucial blow just when VT thought they were about to shift momentum. From that point on the Irish dominated and won in convincing fashion. This was a game that had a lot more potential to be a prime-time top 10 matchup, but instead ended as a dominant Irish win against a good, but by no means great Hokie team.
Thought it should be a different play? Let me know, and as always, GO IRISH!