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Football: Abiamiri gets it done out West

Heather VanHoegarden | Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Notre Dame defensive end Victor Abiamiri walked off the field drained. His jersey was no longer white, and his face was drenched with sweat as he carried his helmet.

“Huuuuuge, many sighs of relief that the game was over,” Abiamiri said Notre Dame’s 38-31 win Saturday. “Glad to come out of here with a victory.”

He had just sacked Stanford backup quarterback T.C. Ostrander, ending any chance of a Cardinal comeback with his fourth sack of the day.

“We were in a three-man rush and Brian Beidatsch was in getting three guys on him, and I was free on the outside one-on-one,” Abiamiri said. “And you just have to take advantage of the one-on-one matchup, and I did that.”

Abiamiri finished with a team-leading 10 tackles, including six solo tackles, playing most of the game because Ronald Talley sat out with an injury.

The defensive end position was already thin after Chris Frome was injured for the season against USC, and so with backup Justin Brown starting, Abiamiri saw most of the snaps Saturday. The junior responded with arguably the best game of his Notre Dame career.

Abiamiri was around Stanford quarterbacks Trent Edwards and Ostrander the entire game and was one of the reasons Edwards had to leave with an injury.

He credited the interior line with helping him make plays on the outside. Beidatsch, Derek Landri and Trevor Laws fought off double teams all game, leaving Abiamiri isolated on the outside, and he was able to capitalize on the opportunity.

“I think I tried to take advantage of one-on-one matchups,” Abiamiri said. “A lot of times, my teammates were getting double-teamed – my hat’s off to my teammates for hanging in there and throwing punches back and forth. Them getting double-teamed freed me up on the outside to get one-on-one blocking. And you have to win the one-on-one battles to be successful, and we did that [Saturday].”

Landri also said he was pleased with the pressure the Irish got up the middle on Saturday.

“We were able to get good pressure up the middle all day,” the defensive lineman said. “We stayed true to our gaps and didn’t let [the quarterback] run around, and our ends just got upfield, did what they’re supposed to do and made plays, and that’s all you could hope for.”

As a result, Abiamiri had by far the best statistical game of his career. As a freshman, he registered 22 tackles and one sack in 12 games, starting five. Last season, rotating with NFL draft pick Justin Tuck and senior Kyle Budinscak, he played in all 12 games, registering 15 tackles and two sacks. And after Saturday’s game, he had doubled his sack total on the year to eight, and his numbers this year have nearly tripled his career stats.

“He played real solid,” Landri said. “He stuck true to his keys, [and] he played solid. We got push up the middle, the quarterback would flush out and Vic was right there, and he made a play when we needed it.”