No. 7 Notre Dame stifles South Florida, 52-0
Seventh-ranked Notre Dame capitalized on a series of special teams blunders and overwhelmed South Florida on defense to cruise to a 52-0 rout Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.
The Fighting Irish (2-0) set the tone on their opening possession, setting up at their own 46-yard line after a 15-yard South Florida penalty on the kickoff.
Ian Book capped the drive in less than three minutes with the first of his career-high-tying three rushing touchdowns. It also marked the first of three Notre Dame scores in the half aided by special teams, with a fourth score directly from special teams coming in the third quarter.
Notre Dame’s second drive went just 43 yards in 3:24 as a result of a 21-yard punt by USF’s Trent Schneider. Chris Tyree scored on a goal-line touchdown rush for the 14-0 lead.
South Florida (1-1) mounted little resistance after digging an early hole. The Bulls finished with just 231 yards of total offense.
When they were able to move the ball, the Bulls sputtered on third down (2-of-15) and fourth down (1-of-5). All four of South Florida’s fourth-down failures occurred on Notre Dame’s side of the field, including a red-zone misfire in the fourth quarter.
The stop helped seal the Irish’s first shutout win since a 52-0 rout of Bowling Green in October 2019 and punctuated Notre Dame’s 20th consecutive home victory.
Despite the offensive woes, the most damaging phase for South Florida was its special teams. Just before halftime and trailing 28-0, a snap went over Schneider’s head into the end zone. He took a shot just after getting a low, wobbling punt off.
Book finished the ensuing, 54-second, 25-yard drive with his third and final touchdown and a 35-0 halftime lead. He also rushed for a goal-line score early in the second quarter and finished 12-of-19 passing for 143 yards.
Following another bad snap late in the third quarter, Osita Ekwonu blocked Schneider and freshman Jordan Botelho returned the carom for a touchdown.
Jafar Armstrong capped the day’s scoring on a five-yard rushing score. He was the third Notre Dame running back to reach the end zone, joining Tyree and C’Bo Flemister.
Flemister also rushed for a career-high 126 yards. Tyree added 65 yards and Kyren Williams gained 62 yards.
–Field Level Media