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Wimbush and Adams power 500-yard rushing attack for Notre Dame over Boston College

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Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush did plenty of damage with his legs in a 49-20 victory over Boston College. Wimbush made up for a sub-par passing day by rushing for 207 rushing yards and four touchdowns, including a 65-yard run. Not to be outdone, Irish running back Josh Adams rushed for a game-high 229 yards in the road win.

If there was a key point in the second half, it may have come in the third quarter when Boston College failed to pick up a first down on a fourth-and-short at the Irish 30-yard line. The Eagles trailed 14-13 at the time and handed the ball to Jon Hilliman. In most situations, this would be a good decision for the Eagles, but it failed them this time. Notre Dame snuffed out the play and prevented Hilliman from picking up the first down. Notre Dame then orchestrated a nine-play drive to tack on a touchdown to push the lead to 21-13. Brandon Wimbush came through with the key play of the drive with his feet with a 46-yard run down the right side of the field on a 3rd and 10 from the Irish 45-yard line. Tony Jones Jr. later finished the drive with a one-yard score.

Boston College followed that sequence up by ending a drive with an interception, with Shaun Crawford picking off a pass. at the Notre Dame 27-yard line. Adams started the Irish drive with a 36-yard run, and Wimbush followed with a 33-yard pass to Durham Smythe to put the Irish inside the 10-yard line. Wimbush finished the drive by beating the BC defense to the right corner of the field to score a touchdown.

From there, Notre Dame continued to use the ground game to their advantage, scoring seven rushing touchdowns in the game.

Wimbush’s four rushing touchdowns and rushing yardage are school records for a Notre Dame quarterback.

Notre Dame will be on the road once again next week to take on Michigan State. The Spartans had a bye week this week but have gotten off to a bit of a confidence-boosting start to the season with back-to-back double-digit victories against Western Michigan and Bowling Green. Michigan State won last year’s meeting, 36-28, to snap a three-game losing streak against the Irish from 2011 through 2013.

It won’t get any easier for Boston College next week. The Eagles head to Death Valley to face defending national champion Clemson, who will either be coming off a big road win at Louisville or looking to get back on track after a loss. Either way, neither scenario is a good one for the Eagles.

Jury still out, but “new” Notre Dame has positive start to 2017

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A summer of attempting to change the narrative and a week’s worth of Brian Kelly trying to tell media outlets this year is going to be different has paid off for at least one week. Notre Dame (1-0) opened the season at home with a 49-16 win against Temple (0-1), and has a few reasons to feel optimistic about this season after one game.

For starters, there is quarterback Brandon Wimbush. Wimbush got the Irish off on the right foot Saturday afternoon with a pair of touchdown passes and 106 rushing yards and a score. Brian Kelly has liked having dual threats run the offense, and Wimbush did just that against a Temple defense that was ripe for the picking.

Then there is running back Josh Adams, who tore up the Temple defense for 161 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Adams was a workhorse for the Irish running the football with an average of 8.5 yards per carry. As a team, Notre Dame piled up 353 rushing yards, which was more than the total yardage picked up by Temple on the afternoon.

Notre Dame may have room to improve on the defense, but the Irish did a sound job slowing down the running game for the Owls. It was expected there would be a transition period for Temple with a new head coach in Geoff Collins and a decent amount of roster turnover, an unproven quarterback situyation made running the football a key for Temple. The Irish held the Owls to fewer than 100 yards on the ground, with a trio of sacks helping out in the box score in that department. That is encouraging, but the next game poses a much more serious threat on the ground with Georgia coming in with Nick Chubb. Time will tell if this will hold up.

It wasn’t all bad for Temple, as Logan Marchi battled and passed for 245 yards and two touchdowns in a tough spot. Ryquell Armstead ran 19 times for 67 yards and the Owls spread the ball around in the passing game. It just was not nearly enough to battle Notre Dame in this setting at this time.

Notre Dame will stay home next week to host No. 15 Georgia. The game will be a primetime affair from Notre Dame Stadium with the Irish and Bulldogs squaring off at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC (check your local listings). Georgia opened the season against Appalachian State in a game that was ongoing at the time Notre Dame wrapped up the win. Temple will look to rebound next week with a home game against a local FCS threat from the Main Line, Villanova. Villanova is ranked in the FCS top 25 polls and is coming off a top 25 victory over Lehigh.

Doak Walker Award watch list highlighted by 2016 semifinalists Barkley and Pettway

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A watch list of the top running backs in the nation has been released by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum on Thursday. The Doak Walker Award watch list is full of great players, including 2016 Doak Walker Award semifinalists Saquon Barkley (Penn State) and Kamryn Pettway (Auburn).

Among those included on this year’s initial Doak Walker Award watch list (more players can be added at any time) are LSU’s Derrius Guice, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, LJ Scott of Michigan State, Mike Weber of Ohio State, and Bo Scarbrough of Alabama, Washington’s Myles Gaskin, and Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin.

D’Onta Foreman of Texas beat out both Barkley and Pettway last season for the award. The Doak Walker Award has been presented to the nation’s top running back annually since 1990. Among the winners over the years have included Ricky Williams, LaDainian Tomlinson, Reggie Bush, and Montee Ball.

To be included on this watch list, the university athletic department must submit a nomination.

2017 Doak Walker Award Watch List

Josh Adams, Notre Dame
Ryquell Armstead, Temple
Kalen Ballage, Arizona State
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Alex Barnes, Kansas State
Jamauri Bogan, Western Michigan
D’Angelo Brewer, Tulsa
Nick Chubb, Georgia
Jordan Chunn, Troy
Justin Crawford, West Virginia
Damarea Crockett, Missouri
Rico Dowdle, South Carolina
D’Andre Ferby, WKU
Kendrick Foster, Illinois
Jarvion Franklin, Western Michigan
Myles Gaskin, Washington
James Gilbert, Ball State
Derrius Guice, LSU
Damien Harris, Alabama
Kyle Hicks, TCU
Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
Jon Hilliman, Boston College
Justin Jackson, Northwestern
Chris James, Wisconsin
Ty Johnson, Maryland
Ronald Jones II, USC
Ray Lawry, Old Dominion
Phillip Lindsay, Colorado
Tonny Lindsey Jr., Utah State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Sony Michel, Georgia
Dedrick Mills, Georgia Tech
David Montgomery, Iowa State
Jamal Morrow, Washington State
Ryan Nall, Oregon State
Jacques Patrick, Florida State
Kamryn Pettway, Auburn
Demario Richard, Arizona State
Diocemy Saint Juste, Hawaii
Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
Jordan Scarlett, Florida
LJ Scott, Michigan State
Bradrick Shaw, Wisconsin
Armand Shyne, Utah
Justin Silmon, Kansas State
Ito Smith, Southern Miss
Rodney Smith, Minnesota
Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky
Terry Swanson, Toledo
Shaq Vann, Eastern Michigan
Akrum Wadley, Iowa
Mark Walton, Miami
Warren Wand, Arkansas State
Tre Watson, California
Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt
Mike Weber, Ohio State
Braeden West, SMU
Devwah Whaley, Arkansas
Aeris Williams, Mississippi State
Shaun Wilson, Duke
Marquis Young, Massachusetts

Notre Dame blows 20-0 lead, then scores 10 straight to beat Miami

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Nothing has gone according to plan for Notre Dame (3-5) this season, but they managed to find themselves celebrating a win despite blowing a 20-0 lead at home on Saturday. Notre Dame saw a 20-0 lead turn into a 27-20 deficit against Miami (4-4, 1-3 ACC) in the fourth quarter, but the Irish responded with a 10-point run to come away with a much-needed win in Notre Dame Stadium. The game was clinched with a sack of Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya.

Notre Dame started off as well as anyone could have expected, leading the Hurricanes 17-0 after one quarter of play and 20-0 just minutes into the second quarter. Notre Dame was suffocating Miami in the first half, but Kaaya and the Hurricanes would roar back with 20 straight points in the second half to take a 27-20 lead. That put the Irish in a tough spot, but they somehow managed to climb out of it.

It took Notre Dame just four plays to tie the game at 27-27 thanks to a big gain through the air from DeShone Kizer and a 41-yard touchdown run by Josh Adams. Having re-energized Notre Dame Stadium with the tying score, Notre Dame’s defense then came through with their best effort of the half, a three-and-out, which would help lead to an eventual game-winning field goal from short distance. Miami had a chance with the ball and just 30 seconds to play, but with no timeouts, there was nothing that could be done on a sack by Nyles Morgan to end the ball game at the Miami 41-yard line.

Notre Dame did get a little banged up in the game as well. Linebacker Greer Martini suffered a concussion in the first quarter, and defensive tackle Daniel Cage was also being evaluated for a head injury.

The Irish now keep their slim bowl hopes alive with the win, but still face an uphill. At 3-5, Notre Dame must win three of its final four games. Next week Notre Dame plays Navy in Jacksonville, followed by Army in San Antonio. The Irish then close out the season at home against Virginia Tech and on the road at USC. Nothing is impossible, but even games against the service academies may not be the automatic wins Notre Dame is accustomed to having.

Miami returns home next week to play Pittsburgh in ACC play.

Notre Dame RB C.J. Prosise undergoing concussion protocol

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A season of injury concerns continued for Notre Dame this weekend in Pittsburgh. Running back C.J. Prosise left the win against the Panthers and is currently going through concussion protocol. It is unknown when Prosise will return to the field for the playoff-contending Irish, but head coach Brian Kelly is optimistic his top running back may not have to miss much playing time.

Prosise left the game Saturday after appearing to injure his shoulder, but he also hit his head on the ground. He did not return to the game after being taken to the locker room at Heinz Field, although Kelly only commented on Prosise’s shoulder after the game. According to College Football Talk contributor JJ Stankevitz, via CSN Chicago, Kelly said he is hopeful Prosise can return to practice at some point this week. In the meantime, Notre Dame will move forward with freshman Josh Adams carrying the football. Adams filled in nicely for the Irish by rushing for 147 yards for Notre Dame in the road win against Pittsburgh.

Notre Dame should be able to afford playing without Prosise this week with Wake Forest making the trip to South Bend. After that comes a road trip to Boston to take on Boston College in Fenway Park.