Saturday, September 30, 2017 9:50 pm
Notre Dame clobbers Miami (Ohio) to win 3rd straight
CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette
SOUTH BEND — In case poll voters are looking for a reason to move Notre Dame higher than No. 22, the Irish can now tout an average margin of victory of 29.3 points.
Playing their first home game in three weeks, the Irish whipped Miami (Ohio) 52-17 Saturday on a picturesque final day of September at Notre Dame Stadium.
The victory was the third straight for Notre Dame, which beat Michigan State 38-18 last week and Boston College 49-20 on Sept. 16. Add in a 49-16 rout of Temple in their season opener, and the Irish (4-1) have pulled away emphatically in all of their wins.
This latest triumph was essentially decided in the opening quarter, after which Notre Dame led 28-7. It was 45-14 at halftime, the Irish's highest-scoring first half in coach Brian Kelly's eight-year tenure, and 45-17 entering the fourth quarter.
Key players received rest thanks to the contest's lopsided nature. Brandon Wimbush, who completed 7 of 18 passes for 119 yards and three touchdowns, did not play in the fourth quarter, and Josh Adams, who had eight carries for 159 yards and two touchdowns, did not get an attempt in the second half.
Adams' 73-yard scoring run began Notre Dame's sizzling first 30 minutes, which featured scores on seven of eight possessions. A 1-yard TD run by Wimbush around the left side made it 14-0 less than four minutes into the game.
James Gardner's 34-yard touchdown on a perfectly thrown pass by Gus Ragland would be the high-water mark for the RedHawks, who pulled within 14-7.
From there, Notre Dame ran off 21 unanswered points. Adams broke off a 59-yard TD run, Chase Claypool had a 7-yard TD catch, and Equanimeous St. Brown recorded a 14-yard scoring reception.
Miami (2-3) was penalized nine times for 90 yards, allowed three sacks and committed two turnovers. The Irish finished with 503 total yards to the RedHawks' 377.
Ragland completed 19 of 37 passes for 262 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Gardner, working against Irish cornerback Nick Watkins most of the day, finished with five catches for 115 yards and two scores.
St. Brown had a team-high three catches for 42 yards. Teammate Miles Boykin had a 54-yard TD catch in the final minute of the first half.
The only touchdown by either side in the second half was Deon McIntosh's 26-yard run in the fourth quarter. The fourth-string tailback has scored in consecutive games for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame hits the road next Saturday to face North Carolina (1-4) in the Irish's final game before their bye week.