The mega-showdown between No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 7 Miami lived up to the early billing… for just one side of the matchup of College Football Playoff contenders. The Hurricanes, behind their raucous crowd (you read that right) were electric from the opening kickoff and used several big plays on both sides of the ball to jump out to a 27-0 lead over the visiting Irish in a nostalgia-filled showdown between rivals.
Mark Richt’s offense picked up where they left off last week against Virginia Tech, looking pretty sharp in picking up numerous chunk plays throughout the half. Quarterback Malik Rosier completed 11 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown through the air, finding his speedy wideout Braxton Berrios from seven yards out in a terrific catch along the sideline for the first points of the night.
The ‘Canes defense was the real standouts early though, forcing a trio of ‘turnover chain’ appearances. The first — a Brandon Wimbush overthrow off a receiver’s hands that was picked off — led to a Rosier rushing score. The second, also an interception off a bad throw, later turned into three points off a chip shot field goal but the team saved the best for last as Trajan Bandy ran it back 65 yards for a pick-six.
The Irish’s normally productive offense looked out of rhythm on nearly every drive down in South Florida. Wimbush completed only two passes (with two more going to the other team) and was replaced behind center late in the second quarter by backup Ian Book. The team’s highly touted offensive line didn’t seem to block anybody and Heisman contender Josh Adams managed only 33 yards on the ground.
There’s still a long ways to go in this one but after only a half of play down in Miami, it sure seems like ‘The U’ is back for real and are making a strong play to be the No. 1 team in the country come Sunday morning.