Dec 28, 2019

Notre Dame defeats Iowa State 33-9

By Zach Seifter, Florida Citrus Sports

ORLANDO, Fla. — Iowa State started the game perfectly.

After Notre Dame received to begin Saturday’s Camping World Bowl, the Cyclones held the Fighting Irish to a short gain on the ground, followed by an incomplete pass, followed by another short run. Three-and-out — just like they drew it up.

Iowa State’s defenders came to Camping World Stadium to play, after all, and the Cyclones faithful — a huge faction in an announced crowd of 46,948 — responded in the stands, pumped for the way the game began. Meanwhile, Iowa State’s offensive players were equally charged up on the sideline, ready to take the field.

But just a few seconds later, they took a seat on the bench again.

Notre Dame punter Jay Bramblett kicked to Cyclones returner Tarique Milton, and after a short gain by Milton, Fighting Irish safety Alohi Gilman knocked the ball loose. Notre Dame wide receiver and game MVP Chase Claypool came up with the recovery, giving the Irish the ball at the Cyclones 42. Eight plays later, they took an early 3-0 lead on a 39-yard field goal from Jonathan Doerer, one of four on the day for the junior.

On their next possession, the Cyclones drove into Notre Dame territory and appeared to be gaining momentum. On first-and-10 from the Notre Dame 36, quarterback Brock Purdy escaped the pocket and had some room on the left side to run. However, he was stripped from behind by Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who then recovered his own forced fumble, giving the ball back to Notre Dame.

Then Claypool struck once more: a 24-yard touchdown catch put Notre Dame up by 10 points midway through the first quarter. The hole would prove to be too deep for the Cyclones, as they trailed the Irish by two or more possessions the rest of the game and ultimately fell by a final score of 33-9.

“You talk about two fourth-and-ones, we talk about two lost fumbles, and, man, it’s really hard to beat a really good football team not executing in those situations,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said following the game.

Claypool’s touchdown through the air opened the floodgates for the Irish offense, which finished the game with 455 total yards to Iowa State’s 272. And from there, the NFL-bound receiver and his star quarterback, Ian Book, continued to dominate.

By the half, Claypool had over 100 yards receiving to go with the touchdown, and he finished the game with seven catches for a season-high 146 yards. He also had a second touchdown called back because a video review revealed that his knee was down just short of the goal line.

“I was happy we were able to put something on the board right after that turnover,” Claypool said. “Defense kept giving us good field position, good confidence. Because once we get a lead, you know, we start opening up our playbook.”

The dominance continued into the second half, as Irish running back Tony Jones, Jr. broke off an 84-yard touchdown run on Notre Dame’s first offensive play of the third quarter. The run was the longest rushing play in the history of the Camping World Bowl.

“It was the culmination of putting together a running plan that, when you see it hit and then you see him go the distance — he’s been talked about as a guy that doesn’t have the ability to take you over the top,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said of the score. “But you saw him today break down the sideline and have the longest run in Notre Dame bowl history as well.

“He doesn’t really care about that stuff,” Kelly continued. “He was just excited about the ability to run the ball today effectively. And he ran physical and did what he normally does: Help us win.”

Then, with a 21-point advantage in the third quarter, the Notre Dame defense buckled down and protected the lead. They gave up just three points in the second half, holding Iowa State to just four first downs and fewer points total (nine) than the Irish scored off turnovers in the first quarter (10).

“They played a great game, hats off to them,” Cyclones wide receiver Deshaunte Jones said. “Obviously, they’re 10-2 coming into the bowl game, so this is a great team coming out there. They played hard, they fought, and that’s just what happened.”

In a game where Iowa State needed to play nearly flawless to compete with the team on the other side, they made two too many mistakes.

Notre Dame made sure that was enough.

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