For those of you who missed last week, go back and read. Great, glad we are all caught up.
Continuing on with the fifth installment, the 8th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish hosted the 7th ranked Stanford Cardinal in a game under the lights. This was a HIGHLY anticipated matchup, with both teams undefeated with impressive wins under their belts (ND beating Michigan and Stanford beating USC/Oregon). A major storyline was not only the surge in the offense thanks to Ian Book, but the return of Dexter Williams. I will say, there was excitement, but also a shroud of mystery with the return since he hadn’t put together a full season yet.
Regardless, Jafar Armstrong was banged up, and the Irish needed another spark in their offense. Prior to the game, there was a feature on Williams’ his journey throughout Notre Dame, which included incredible hardship with his mother’s illness as well as other distractions. All of his coaches and teammates were preaching that he had completely turned the corner and had been a leader and a role model. You could feel that everyone surrounding him and watching from a distance desperately wanted him to succeed in his debut. The stage was set for him to make an explosive and emotional debut....and boy did he deliver.
With the score at 0-0 with 8:23 left in the first quarter Dexter Williams entered the game for the first time all season. I remember turning to my wife and saying...Look he’s in, #2! (She had teared up during the emotional pregame story) From a football point of view, I was also incredibly excited because of how good all of the reports were about his speed and physicality compared to the previous year. He lined up behind Book in the pistol formation from the Stanford 45....
What happened next was something that transcended football in the most amazing way.
Right guard and Right Tackles Tommy Kraemer and Robert Hainsey pulled to the left, with an already loaded left side of the line (Alize Mack and Cole Kmet were in a heavy set). With the right side of the line pulling, left tackle and left guard Alex Bars and Liam Eichenberg crash down hard, opening up a lane.
As you can see, there is a cutback lane for Williams, who has a unique skill of BURSTING through the any sliver of a hole. He hits the crease in an instant, blowing through an arm tackle and making the Stanford secondaries pursuit angles look like jokes.
It looks as though they might have a chance, but his speed is incredible and he goes the rest of the way into the end zone in an instant.
This play was much much more than a long touchdown run. It was a moment that brought tears to my eyes (seriously) because I was so happy for Juice. He was a kid who made plenty on mistakes, but had grown up and the people around him adored him. It set the stage for a dominating performance in that game an incredible season afterwards. This was by far my favorite moment and play from the 2018 season, and one that I will never forget.
Did the Dexter Williams Touchdown Make you Tear Up?
This poll is closed
Yes, I have a soul
Thought it should be a different play? Let me know! As this is a new column taking place over the course of the coming weeks, I would love any and all feedback, and as always, GO IRISH!
PS shout out our incredible photographer Mike Miller for capturing the moment between Dexter and his Mom.