It wasn’t supposed to be so easy. Not with so many key injuries to key players. Not with a young quarterback. Not against a Georgia Tech team that many feel will challenge for the ACC title, if not just the ACC Coastal Division.
But it was. For about 50 minutes at least.
No. 8 Notre Dame (3-0) defeated No. 14 Georgia Tech 30-22 Saturday in South Bend, with the Irish holding off a late surge from the visitors. The win will immediately leave many to validate Notre Dame as a worthy pick for the College Football Playoff, but it may be wiser to hold off on that for now. This Notre Dame team is good, and if Saturday was any indication there is a chance for them to be very good. But injuries have a way of catching up to a team eventually. They did not this time around, and head coach Brian Kelly should be respected for that. Kelly should feel fortunate to have C.J. Prosise running the football.
Prosise rushed for a game-high 198 yards and three touchdowns for the Irish. All three touchdowns came at perfect times for Notre Dame as well, with one late in the first half to give the Irish a 13-7 lead at halftime, and two more in the fourth quarter putting the game well out of reach for a Georgia Tech offense unable to get much going against Notre Dame’s solid defensive effort.
Georgia Tech did get the bulk of their yards on the ground, but the one-dimensional offense could not fool Notre Dame, who showed the kind of speed to keep up as Georgia Tech looked to spread the field on the ground.
Young quarterback DeShone Kizer showed the poise of a junior at times, completing 21 of 30 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown (he was picked off once).
It was not all happy times for Notre Dame though. Drue Tranquill’s injury after celebrating a touchdown led to him being stranded on the sideline sin the second half with the aid of crutches.
Notre Dame will host a feisty UMass squad next week. The Minutemen are an improved program this fall, but Notre Dame should be looking forward to taking a 4-0 record with them when they visit Clemson in a couple of weeks. After that comes rivalry games with Navy and USC in October.
Georgia Tech will look to get back in the win column next week in Durham, North Carolina against ACC Coastal foe Duke. Like Georgia Tech, Duke will be looking to bounce back after a loss. The Blue Devils lost at home earlier in the day to Northwestern.