Oct 9, 2021; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA;  Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Kyren Williams (23) runs the ball toward Virginia Tech Hokies defensive back Jermaine Waller (2) during the second quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Notre Dame scores 11 late points to edge Virginia Tech

Jonathan Doerer made a 48-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining to lift No. 14 Notre Dame to a 32-29 win over host Virginia Tech on Saturday evening in Blacksburg, Va.

Tyler Buchner passed for one touchdown and rushed for another for Notre Dame (5-1). Kyren Williams had one rushing touchdown and one receiving TD for the Fighting Irish.

Raheem Blackshear had one rushing touchdown for Virginia Tech (3-2), which fell to 1-3 in the all-time series. Hokies quarterback Braxton Burmeister completed 14 of 29 passes for 171 yards and an interception.

Virginia Tech jumped to a 7-0 lead with 3:21 remaining in the first quarter. Blackshear scored on a 7-yard run that marked his fourth rushing touchdown of the season.

The Hokies made it 10-0 early in the second quarter on a 19-yard field goal by John Parker Romo.

Notre Dame cut the deficit to 10-7 on Buchner’s 3-yard rushing touchdown with 6:51 left in the first half. A 46-yard pass from Buchner to Kevin Austin helped set up the score.

Buchner struck again to put the Fighting Irish on top 14-10 with 32 seconds remaining in the first half, completing an 8-yard pass into the end zone to Williams.

Virginia Tech pulled within 14-13 in the waning seconds of the half on a 52-yard field goal by Romo.

The Hokies grabbed a 16-14 lead midway through the third quarter on Romo’s third field goal, this time from 26 yards.

Notre Dame answered later in the third quarter to grab a 21-16 advantage. Williams scored on a 10-yard run that gave him four rushing touchdowns on the season to go along with three receiving touchdowns.

The back-and-forth battle continued as Virginia Tech grabbed a 22-21 lead with 50 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Jermaine Waller picked off a pass from Buchner and sprinted 26 yards into the end zone for the go-ahead defensive touchdown.

Virginia Tech made it 29-21 with 3:55 remaining. Burmeister scored on a 19-yard run to cap off an eight-play, 56-yard drive.

Notre Dame stormed back to tie the game at 29-all with a touchdown and a two-point conversion with 2:26 to go. Avery Davis caught a 4-yard scoring pass from Jack Coan, and Austin hauled in another pass from Coan for the two-point conversion.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Braxton Burmeister (3) runs out of the pocket during the second quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Irish’s QB situation uncertain ahead of visit to Va. Tech

No. 14 Notre Dame will try to bounce back from its first loss of the season when it visits Virginia Tech on Saturday in Blacksburg, Va.

The Fighting Irish (4-1) are coming off a 24-13 defeat against then-No. 7 Cincinnati last week. Notre Dame fell behind 17-0 after committing three first-half turnovers and never recovered.

The loss has left a lingering bad taste for Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, who benched quarterback Jack Coan and replaced him with backup Drew Pyne in the second half.

“Clearly, we can’t continue down this road of who’s the flavor of the week here,” Kelly said. “We’re going to have to sit down and figure this out.”

The depth chart for Notre Dame listed Coan at No. 1 ahead of Pyne as practice began this week. Kelly avoided specifics when asked about the position, calling it a matter of “who gives you the best chance to win.”

Coan, a senior who spent the previous four seasons at Wisconsin, has completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 1,100 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions this year. Pyne, a redshirt freshman who appeared in four games last year, has completed 50 percent of his passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

A tough road test awaits against Virginia Tech (3-1), which is coming off a bye. The Hokies posted a 21-10 win over Richmond in their most recent game, which marked the third time this season that they held their opponent to 14 points or fewer.

Virginia Tech quarterback Braxton Burmeister completed 17 of 27 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown in the win. Tre Turner racked up six catches for 102 yards and a score.

Hokies coach Justin Fuente wants his team to focus on fundamentals coming out of the bye. He praised Notre Dame and said his players must be ready.

“Every inch, every piece of turf is going to be hard fought for,” Fuente said. “Four yards is a big deal, and we’ve got to be emotionally prepared for that kind of game.”

Before allowing 24 points to Cincinnati, the Fighting Irish went back-to-back games in which they allowed only 13 points each time.

As for offense, Notre Dame is averaging 30.8 points per game this season. Virginia Tech is averaging 23.5 points.

Fuente did not hesitate when asked about the strengths of Notre Dame running back Chris Tyree. He has 117 receiving yards and a touchdown, 98 rushing yards and a touchdown, and he flashed his playmaking ability with a 96-yard kick return for a score against Wisconsin earlier this season.

“Speed,” Fuente said. “He can take an 8-yard run and turn it into 80 in the blink of an eye.”

This is the first meeting between the teams since Nov. 2, 2019, when the Notre Dame squeaked out a 21-20 victory. The programs met just twice before that, with the Hokies winning on the road in 2016 and the Irish posting a road victory in 2018.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan (17) passes during the first half against the Wisconsin Badgers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame QB Jack Coan avoids serious ankle injury

Notre Dame hopes to have starting quarterback Jack Coan available next weekend after he departed Saturday’s 41-13 rout of No. 18 Wisconsin in Chicago with an injured left ankle.

Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly said X-rays were “clean.” Kelly doesn’t think the injury is serious and he expects Coan to be available when No. 12 Notre Dame (4-0) hosts No. 8 Cincinnati next Saturday.

“It’s a soft-tissue injury,” Kelly said. “It doesn’t even respond like a high ankle sprain, so we’re pretty optimistic that we’ll be able to see him back next week.”

Coan exited in the third quarter with the contest tied at 10. The Fighting Irish scored 31 points in the fourth quarter to beat Coan’s former school.

Drew Pyne replaced Coan but Kelly made it clear there will be no quarterback controversy.

“Jack Coan is our starter,” Kelly said. “If he’s physically able, he’ll be our starter against Cincinnati.”

Coan was 15-of-29 passing for 158 yards and one touchdown before exiting. He has thrown for 986 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions in four games.

Coan, a graduate transfer, is in his first season at Notre Dame after four seasons with the Badgers.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan (17) signals in the fourth quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Coan faces former team when Notre Dame meets Wisconsin

Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan will go up against his former program when the No. 12 Fighting Irish square off against No. 18 Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon in Chicago.

Coan is in his first season as a graduate transfer at Notre Dame (3-0). He came from Wisconsin, where he went 12-6 as a starter and earned the admiration of coaches and teammates alike.

This weekend, however, Coan wants to deal a setback to the Badgers (1-1).

“It’s definitely going to be weird,” Coan said. “It’s going to be a lot of my friends I’m going to be playing against, guys I still talk to today. But at the end of the day, it’s just another football game, and I like to think I won’t get more excited for one game than the next.”

A neutral-site venue, Soldier Field, should feature a mixed-allegiance crowd. The campuses for Notre Dame and Wisconsin are each within a couple hours of Chicago, and the city boasts large alumni bases from both institutions.

Fighting Irish fans are feeling better after Notre Dame pulled away for a 27-13 win over Purdue one week ago. That followed a pair of nail-biting victories for the Fighting Irish, which held on for a 41-38 overtime win over Florida State and a 32-29 win over Toledo in its first two contests.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin is coming off a dominant 34-7 win over Eastern Michigan. That followed a 16-10 loss against then-No. 19 Penn State in the Badgers’ season opener.

This is the first meeting between Notre Dame and Wisconsin since Sept. 26, 1964. That marked Ara Parseghian’s first game as Fighting Irish head coach, and his team won 31-7.

More than a few head coaches have come and gone since then, and now Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly is on the precipice of making history. He needs one more win to pass Knute Rockne for sole possession of first place with 106 coaching victories with the program.

It won’t be easy against Wisconsin, which boasts strength on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Badgers rely on a dominant rushing attack that is supplemented by quarterback Graham Mertz, who has completed two-thirds of his passes this season but continues to search for his first passing touchdown.

Badgers running backs Chez Mellusi (265 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and Isaac Guerendo (148 rushing yards, one TD) have led the team’s ground attack.

Notre Dame has reaped early benefits from Coan, who has completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 828 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions in his first three games. Kyren Williams has been a difference-maker on the ground with 211 rushing yards and two scores.

The Badgers could key in on Williams this weekend. Wisconsin has allowed only 33 rushing yards per game, which is the best mark in FBS so far this season.

Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst praised Coan but said he was focused on his team this week.

“Obviously, we have respect for Jack and appreciate who he is as a person and player here,” Chryst said. “But it’s Wisconsin versus Notre Dame.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly leaves the field after defeating the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium. The win was his 105th as Notre Dame coach and tied Kelly for most wins at Notre Dame with Knute Rockne. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly downplays tying Knute Rockne record

No. 12 Notre Dame and No. 18 Wisconsin will square off in a top 20 matchup Saturday in Chicago, and while it’s a crucial game for both teams, it also could be a record-setting one for Irish coach Brian Kelly.

With Notre Dame’s 27-13 win this weekend over Purdue, Kelly won his 105th game at the school, tying the legendary Knute Rockne for the most in program history.

Kelly will be going for his record 106th on Saturday at Soldier Field, and he insisted after Saturday’s game that achieving such a record is more than a team effort.

“It requires consistency to get to these marks,” said Kelly, who turns 60 next month. “We have it with our leadership, we have it with our athletic director and we’ve had it in the coaching because we have alignment. That’s helped a lot in being consistent and winning football games.”

Notre Dame hired Kelly before the 2010 season and he has tallied a 105-39 record with the Irish. He’s led them to 10 bowl games in 11 seasons, including the semifinals of the College Football Playoff twice and one BCS national championship game — all losses.

Before landing at Notre Dame, he coached Central Michigan for four seasons and Cincinnati for four. His overall record is 158-61.

Rockne guided Notre Dame to a 105-12-5 record from 1918-30. In an era where bowl games were sparse, he took the Irish to just one bowl game — the 1924 Rose Bowl, which they won 27-10 over Stanford. But Notre Dame won three national championships in his era: 1924, 1929 and 1930.

“It doesn’t mean anything else relative to comparisons or who’s better,” Kelly said earlier this week, before tying Rockne. “Those things really don’t mean much to me. I came here to do a job, and that was to bring Notre Dame back to its winning traditions. We’ve gotten there by being consistent and having stability. That’s what (105 wins) means more than anything else to me.”

Rockne died in a plane crash in Kansas on March 31, 1931, at age 43.

–Field Level Media

Nov 30, 2019; Stanford, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Lawrence Keys III (13) returns a kickoff during the first quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Notre Dame WR Lawrence Keys to sit out season

Notre Dame wide receiver Lawrence Keys has opted to sit out the remainder of the football season, multiple outlets reported.

In the Irish’s season-opening 41-38 overtime win against Florida State on Sunday, Keys didn’t have a catch and saw limited action. He was not targeted by quarterback Jack Coan.

A redshirt in 2018, Keys appeared in 20 games over the past two seasons, catching 18 passes for 185 yards and no touchdowns. He saw limited action in 2020 because of time in the concussion protocol and other injuries.

A native of New Orleans, the 5-foot-10 Keys was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2018. A senior academically, he is set to graduate this winter and then could pursue a transfer. He would have two years of eligibility remaining.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; An end zone pylon has the Notre Dame and ACC logos in at Notre Dame Stadium before the game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Clemson Tigers. Notre Dame is playing in the ACC in the 2020 season. Notre Dame defeated Clemson 47-40 in two overtimes. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame legend Terry Brennan passes away at 93

The Notre Dame community is mourning the loss of former running back and head coach Terry Brennan, who passed away at the age of 93.

Brennan is an accomplished figure in the Fighting Irish’s history who won two national championships while rushing for 1,716 yards during a four-year playing career.

Despite being drafted in the 1949 NFL Draft, Brennan pursued a career in coaching and eventually became the youngest head coach in Notre Dame history, taking on the top job at the age of 25 after the conclusion of the 1953 season when legendary head coach Frank Leahy retired.

He went on to coach the Irish for five seasons, until 1958.

Brennan was part of the 1946 team that played in the “Game of the Century,” a scoreless tie with Army. He later was head coach when Notre Dame upset Oklahoma to end its 47-game win streak in 1957.

He compiled a 33-2-3 record as a player and a 32-18 record as a coach, leading the Fighting Irish to three final AP Top 10 rankings in five seasons.

Brennan was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Louise Kelley, and is survived by six children, 25 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren.

–Field Level Media

Nov 16, 2019; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Paul Moala (13) leaves the field after Notre Dame defeated the Navy Midshipmen at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame LB Paul Moala (Achilles) out for season

Notre Dame reserve linebacker Paul Moala will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his Achilles, Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly announced Monday.

Moala suffered the injury during Sunday night’s overtime victory at Florida State.

Moala tore his other Achilles in the third game of the 2020 season.

“It was devastating,” Kelly said. “We’re all disappointed for Paul. He had worked so hard to get back on the field. We love Paul. He was a guy we were counting on. He’s going to be sorely missed.”

Moala, a senior, was expected to be a main contributor in Notre Dame’s linebacker corps this season.

He played in 12 games his sophomore season, recording 14 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble returned for a touchdown.

Kelly also announced sophomore tight end Kevin Bauman will miss some time due to a fracture in his leg. Kelly said if the surgery and recovery go well, he expects Bauman back in six weeks.

Bauman did not have a catch in Sunday’s game.

–Field Level Media

May 1, 2021; Notre Dame, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan (17) hands off to running back Kyren Williams (23) in the first quarter of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Coan to lead No. 9 Notre Dame against Florida State

When No. 9 Notre Dame opens its season Sunday night in Tallahassee against Florida State, it will have a new quarterback in Jack Coan.

But this is by no means Coan’s first rodeo. He made 17 starts at Wisconsin from 2018-19, completing 69.6 percent of his passes in 2019 for 2,727 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Coan was going to start more games last fall after the Big Ten Conference finally decided to play an eight-game schedule. But a practice injury opened the door for Graham Mertz to take the job.

With Mertz entrenched as the Badgers’ QB1 for this year, Coan transferred to South Bend and won the job in the preseason. He may not have the pure physical skills of predecessor Ian Book, but his accuracy and experience shouldn’t leave him too far behind the guy who won more games as the Fighting Irish’s quarterback (30) than anyone in school history.

“He’s been really good. He’s the same guy every day,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said of Coan. “He’s so consistent in terms of who he is and his makeup, his preparation. I think he’s even improved since the spring in a number of the more detailed areas that we asked him to.

“He’s certainly been in some big games. He’s going to go out there and he’s been in this environment before. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to have some jitters, but he’s going to know how to get in that zone.”

That could be really helpful, given the Irish’s offense is as green as a shamrock. They return only two starters, although one is running back Kyren Williams. All he did last year was rush for 1,125 yards and 13 touchdowns in their run to the College Football Playoff semifinals.

The offensive line is breaking in four new starters, including true freshman Blake Fisher at left tackle and Marshall transfer Cain Madden at right guard. The only experienced hand is center Jarrett Patterson.

Florida State is hoping that year No. 2 of the Mike Norvell era is an improvement. Last season was dreadful, with the Seminoles going 3-6 in a season that featured a 28-day COVID-19 break and just two wins over FBS teams.

Norvell was brought in from Memphis to invigorate a program that floundered badly in Willie Taggart’s two years. Norvell’s track record speaks of an ability to produce lots of points with a fast-paced attack, but four quarterbacks last season combined for 13 interceptions and 10 touchdowns.

There is still uncertainty about that position. Holdover Jordan Travis, who threw for 1,056 yards in eight games and led the team in rushing with 569 yards, is being pushed hard by transfer McKenzie Milton.

Milton threw for 8,683 yards and 72 scores in three years at UCF before suffering a gruesome knee injury in 2018 at South Florida. He hasn’t played since.

“Pretty remarkable, just the things that he’s been able to do coming off that injury a few years back,” Norvell said of Milton.

Norvell didn’t name a starter on the team’s official depth chart that was released at the start of the week.

–Field Level Media

May 1, 2021; Notre Dame, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan (17) takes the snap in the first half of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame names Jack Coan starting QB

Jack Coan will start at quarterback for Notre Dame when the Fighting Irish open the 2021 season Sept. 5 at Florida State.

A transfer from Wisconsin, Coan beat out redshirt freshman Drew Pyne and freshman Tyler Buchner in the bid to replace graduated starter Ian Book.

“All three quarterbacks distinguished themselves in the spring and preseason camp,” coach Brian Kelly tweeted Saturday. “Clearly, each has the skills necessary to lead, but Jack proved to be more consistent and therefore, going into our opener, gives us the best chance for success.”

A 6-foot-3 senior, Coan started 18 of the 25 games he appeared in with the Badgers. He broke his foot in the 2020 preseason camp and missed the season, and the Badgers transitioned to Graham Mertz as their starter.

At Wisconsin, Coan completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,278 yards, 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He had a 12-6 record as a starter, 8-3 in the Big Ten.

At Notre Dame, Coan has big shoes to fill.

Book, a fourth-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in the 2021 draft, was 30-5 as Notre Dame’s starter — the most wins ever by a Fighting Irish quarterback. In 2019, he became the first quarterback in Notre Dame history with at least 2,500 passing yards, 500 rushing yards and 30 touchdown passes in a season.

The irish made the College Football Playoff last season and lost 31-14 to Alabama in one national semifinal. They finished with a 10-2 record and the No. 5 ranking in the final Associated Press poll

–Field Level Media