No. 8 Notre Dame runs past No. 14 Georgia Tech

Al Lesar
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND – Dominant on defense, at least until the final couple minutes. Good enough on offense.

Eighth-ranked Notre Dame’s (3-0) convincing 30-22 college football victory over No. 14 Georgia Tech (2-1) Saturday was a pivotal step in the right direction for the Irish.

Entering the game – at home – as an underdog, was just the wake-up call the Irish defense, which struggled last week against Virginia, was assignment specific and locked in to whatever the Yellow Jackets and their triple-option offense sent in their direction.

Georgia Tech, which had scored 134 points in its first two games, came up empty on its first nine third-down tries.

Irish running back C.J. Prosise was special. He scored three touchdowns, including a 91-yard fourth-quarter burst that put the cherry on the top of the victory.

Three plays into the fourth quarter, Notre Dame scored its game-clinching touchdown from a yard out by Prosise, his second, taking the lead, 23-7.

The Irish defense was dominant through three quarters – allowing just 195 total yards.

Notre Dame safety Matthias Farley, replacing Drue Tranquill, who suffered a right knee injury while celebrating a broken up pass, made an impact play early in the second half. Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas was carrying the ball on his own 37. He was hit by Farley and the ball was stripped. Jaylon Smith recovered the fumble and advanced it to the Yellow Jacket 18. That set up Justin Yoon for a 29-yard field goal and a 16-7 advantage.

Notre Dame owned a 13-7 lead at halftime, and it could have been more.

Will Fuller, who had his third straight 100-yard receiving game, caught a 46-yard pass from quarterback DeShone Kizer to break the ice and put the Irish on the board with 8:20 left in the first quarter.

Notre Dame was poised to grab a two-touchdown lead midway through the second quarter with the ball on the Georgia Tech 5. Making his first career start, Kizer tried to float a soft fade pass to Corey Robinson in the end zone, but the ball sailed over his head and into the hands of Yellow Jacket D.J. White.

From there, Broderick Snoddy had two big plays – runs of 17 and 48 yards – to set up Patrick Skov for a five-yard run to tie the game.

Instead of the Irish being up 14-0, the game was tied.

Notre Dame answered that score with one of its own. A 36-yard connection between Fuller and Kizer was critical in the Irish going 82 yards in 10 plays to go ahead. Prosise ran 17 yards for the score. Justin Yoon missed the PAT.

Georgia Tech kicker Harrison Butker misfired on field goals of 30 and 43 yards in the first 30 minutes.

Notre Dame’s C.J. Prosise (20) breaks away from defenders on a run during the Notre Dame-Georgia Tech NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN