Game Notes: Irish defense enjoys historic opener against Texas
Manuel De Jesus | Sunday, September 6, 2015
In its 38-3 rout over Texas, Notre Dame held the Longhorns to just 163 yards of total offense. The last time Notre Dame held an opponent to fewer than 200 yards of total offense was in 2010, when the Irish held Navy to 174 yards on Nov. 20.
The Irish also held the Longhorns to just three points, the first points Notre Dame has allowed in a night game at Notre Dame Stadium since the second quarter of the team’s matchup against USC in 2013.
Notre Dame was able to dominate defensively, even with two first-time players seeing time. Both sophomore Daniel Cage and freshman Jerry Tillery made their debuts tonight at defensive tackle, filling in for the injured senior, Jarron Jones.
Offensively, junior quarterback Malik Zaire had one of the most efficient performances in Notre Dame history. He completed 19 of 22 passes, which ranks him second in school history for highest completion percentage in a single game. Steve Beuerlein completed 10 of 11 passes against Colorado on Sept. 22, 1984. His 313 yards are also only the fifth time an Irish quarterback has thrown for 300 yards or more in a season opener.
Sophomore receiver Will Fuller was the primary target of Zaire, and had a career game as well. Fuller has just 14 career starts to his name, and he has already put himself in the record books as one of the best receivers in Notre Dame history. His performance against Texas included his fourth multi-touchdown game, and his two touchdowns give him 18 total scores, which places him eighth all-time for most touchdowns in a career in program history.
Freshman Josh Adams scored a touchdown on his first carry of the game and of his career. He also went on to score again in the third quarter. It is the first time a freshman running back scored two touchdowns in a game since Darius Walker did so against Pittsburgh in 2004.
Notre Dame did not a commit a turnover against Texas, which improves head coach Brian Kelly’s record to 17-0 when the Irish hold onto the ball. The Irish are also now 5-1 in home openers under Kelly and have won seven of their last eight.
Notre Dame’s 38-3 win is the largest margin of victory in a home season opener since they defeated Nevada 35-0 in 2009.
With their victory over Texas, the Irish prevented the Longhorns from tying them for the second most wins in college football history.