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Notre Dame Football: Still a handful of national awards possible for the Irish

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Is that good?

Notre Dame v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Tis the season for awards, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have done a fine job in the ACC, but there are still a handful of national awards that can still end up in South Bend — like the Butkus Award that Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah brought home.

Per press releases from Notre Dame:

Irish Offensive Line Tabbed as Finalist for Joe Moore Award

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The University of Notre Dame offensive line unit has been selected as a finalist for the Joe Moore Award, a distinction that annually honors the “toughest, most physical offensive line in the country.” Notre Dame won the award in 2017, and the Irish were semifinalists in 2018. The Notre Dame unit joins a group of three finalists.

The Fighting Irish lead the ACC and rank eighth in the FBS in time of possession, controlling the ball for 33:57 minutes of game time. Behind its powerful offensive line, Notre Dame won the time of possession battle in 10-of-11 games this season. The 33:57 time of possession average leads the ACC by more than two minutes per game.

On the game’s biggest downs, the Notre Dame offensive line shines its brightest, helping move the chains at a high level on third down. The Irish lead the ACC and rank ninth in the FBS in third down conversion percentage with a remarkable 49.3 success rate.

Four different Notre Dame offensive lineman have been rewarded for their stellar play by picking up ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors (RT Robert Hainsey, LT Liam Eichenberg, RG Aaron Banks, LG Tommy Kraemer), while left tackle Liam Eichenberg has been honored twice. Out of 10 regular season games, the Irish offensive line has been honored following five games. In addition to his two ACC weekly honors, Eichenberg has been named a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy, while right tackle Robert Hainsey is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award.

The Notre Dame offensive line has paved the way for a 1,000 yard rusher in redshirt freshman Kyren Williams, who has collected 1,061 rushing yards through 11 games. Additionally, Notre Dame had two other players rush for 400+ yards in freshman running back Chris Tyree with 480 yards and graduate student quarterback Ian Book with 430 yards. As a unit, the Irish rank third in the ACC and 21st nationally in rushing offense (217.6 ypg).

The Irish offensive line has managed to stay a cohesive unit despite losing Preseason All-ACC First Team, Outland Watch List and Rimington Award Watch List honoree center Jarrett Patterson for the final three games of the season.

Eichenberg Tabbed as Finalist for Outland Trophy

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — On the heels of his selection as winner of the ACC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy for the top blocker in the conference, Notre Dame graduate student offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg has been named one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, which honors the nation’s top interior offensive lineman.

Eichenberg, who took home the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the ACC’s top offensive lineman, is Notre Dame’s first finalist since Quenton Nelson in 2017. Three Notre Dame student-athletes have won the Outland Trophy: defensive end Ross Browner (1976), guard Bill Fischer (1948) and tackle George Connor (1946).

With 38-career starts, Eichenberg ties for the most on Notre Dame’s offensive line, and has also earned an AP All-ACC first team selection. The Fighting Irish lead the ACC and rank eighth in the FBS in time of possession, controlling the ball for 33:57 minutes of game time. Behind its powerful offensive line, which has been named a finalist for the Joe Moore Award, Notre Dame won the time of possession battle in 10-of-11 games this season. The 33:57 time of possession average leads the ACC by more than two minutes per game.

On the game’s biggest downs, the Notre Dame offensive line shines its brightest, helping move the chains at a high level on third down. The Irish lead the ACC and rank ninth in the FBS in third down conversion percentage with a remarkable 49.3 success rate.

Eichenberg has twice been honored as ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week, joining three other Irish O-Lineman who earned the distinction. Out of 10 regular season games, the Irish offensive line has been honored following five games..

The Notre Dame offensive line has paved the way for a 1,000 yard rusher in redshirt freshman Kyren Williams, who has collected 1,061 rushing yards through 11 games. Additionally, Notre Dame had two other players rush for 400+ yards in freshman running back Chris Tyree with 480 yards and graduate student quarterback Ian Book with 430 yards. As a unit, the Irish rank third in the ACC and 21st nationally in rushing offense (217.6 ypg).

Owusu-Koramoah Selected as Bednarik Finalist

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — Coming off his selection as the winner of the 2020 Butkus Award, Notre Dame senior linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has been named a finalist for the 26th Chuck Bednarik Award for the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year.

The ACC Defensive Player of the Year according to the Associated Press, Owusu-Koramoah has totaled 56 tackles in 2020, which leads the Irish, also leading the team with 11.0 tackles-for-loss. He has been responsible for forcing multiple turnovers, including an interception, two fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown) and three forced fumbles this season. He has added three PBU.

Against Syracuse, Owusu-Koramoah noted five tackles, 0.5 TFL, one FF, one FR and two pass breakups. He forced a fumble on the opening drive of the first half for his third forced fumble of the season (fifth of his career). He recovered another fumble, forced by the Irish, for his second FR of the season and fourth of his career, which led to a Notre Dame touchdown drive.

His first-career interception came at Pitt, setting up a Notre Dame touchdown drive. In the win over then-No. 1 Clemson, Owusu-Koramoah posted nine tackles (seven solo), 0.5 sack, 2.0 TFL, one forced fumble and the fumble recovery touchdown, which was the first score of his career. Three plays later, he forced a Clemson fumble, which was also recovered by the Irish. For his performance, he was named player of the week for the Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award, and ACC Linebacker of the Week.

Owusu-Koramoah ranks ninth among all FBS players with two fumble recoveries this season. He ranks tied for fifth among all ACC players in forced fumbles (0.3 per game).

To add to his resume, Owusu-Koramoah is also finalist for the Nagurski Trophy and semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy.

Kelly Selected as Finalist for Dodd Trophy

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — After the sixthˆ 10-win season in his 11-year Irish tenure, Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Brian Kelly has been named a finalist for the Dodd Trophy, which honors a coach who couples a successful football season with academic excellence and character.

Finalists include five of the nation’s top coaches in college football who embody the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, both on and off the field.

The Dodd Trophy fan vote will begin Tuesday, December 22 at 2 p.m., ET and end on Wednesday, December 23 at 9 p.m., ET. Fans can vote on Twitter and Facebook by retweeting or sharing the post of Kelly on the Dodd Trophy social pages.

In his 30th season as a collegiate head coach in 2020 and 11th year at the University of Notre Dame, Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Brian Kelly owns the second-most wins (102ˆ) among all head coaches in Notre Dame’s history, second only to Knute Rocke (105), and Kelly is the winningest active coach in the FBS with 273ˆ career wins.

Kelly has posted threeˆ undefeated regular seasons in his time at Notre Dame. He was named AP ACC Coach of the Year in 2020, and is the only three-time winner of the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award (‘09, ‘12, ‘18).

In 2020, he notched his first win over an AP No. 1 team with the 47-40 win over Clemson (Nov. 7, 2020). With the 52-0 shoutout of South Florida, he became the third coach in Notre Dame history with three or more wins of at least 25 points over ranked teams, joining Lou Holtz and Frank Leahy (eight).

He joins Knute Rockne (13), Leahy, Ara Parseghian and Holtz (11) as the only Notre Dame coaches to spend 11 or more seasons on the Irish sidelines. He ranks second in winning percentage among active FBS coaches (.741ˆ) who have coached in 300 or more career games (Nick Saban - .795). He has finished .500 or better in 28-of-30 seasons as a head coach.

The winner of the Dodd Trophy will be announced the week of the New Year’s Six bowl games.

ˆ - Includes 20 regular-season wins and two postseason appearances vacated under discretionary NCAA penalty.