Pittsburgh, Pa. —Notre Dame is playing on a another level these past few weeks and they have something to prove to the country.
The third-ranked Irish team moved to 5-0 in 2020 with a convincing 45-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers (3-4) Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field.
The Panthers was a 10-point underdog, wasn’t expected to win on Saturday. But the few thousand faithful supporters thought they’d see more of a fight from their beloved team.
Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book looked cool, calm, and collected all game long, accounting for 352 total yards (312 passing, 40 rushing). Panthers quarterback Joey Yellen, on the other hand was never comfortable in the pocket, completing only 10 of 27 passes for 101 yards and three interceptions. And the Pittsburgh’s defense gave up touchdowns of 73 and 34 yards, the ninth and 10th scores of 35 yards or more allowed during ACC play this year.
The Irish punched in two rushing touchdowns on the afternoon, marking the first time the Panthers’ defense has given up multiple rushing touchdowns since Oct. 5, 2019 against Duke.
Notre Dame defense held the Panthers to 97 yards of offense and just two yards rushing in the first half. In the second quarter, Bauer’s interception set the Irish up around midfield as the first half was coming to a close. A two-yard Kyren Williams rushing touchdown finished off the eight-play drive and the Irish took a 21-3 lead. On the final play of the half, Foskey busted through to block the Pittsburgh punt. Foskey scooped the ball in the end zone for a touchdown and Notre Dame led 28-3 at halftime.
Senior linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah snatched his first career interception in the second half that led to another Irish touchdown.
On the next drive for the Irish defense went into full attack mode, Nick McCloud picked up his first interception in an Irish uniform. After allowing just three points, it was the first time since 2012 that the Notre Dame defense has given up fewer than 10 points in back-to-back games.
Pat Narduzzi’s Panthers — one month after being ranked in the AP top 25 — enter their off week at 3-4 overall with a a lot of things to clean up.
Yellen moved the chains on third down twice — an 11-yard pass to Tre Tipton and a 22-yard back shoulder throw to Shocky Jacques-Louis — and the Panthers reached the Irish’s 27-yard line. But Pitt had to settle for a field goal, as Alex Kessman kicked it from 45-yards out.
The Pitt’s defense did manage to keep Kyren Williams, Notre Dame’s star running back in check with 38 yards on 17 carries.
But Notre Dame’s passing game was unstoppable in the first half which set the tone for the game early.
Book got pulled in the third quarter concluded. His day ended after leading a pair of second-half touchdown drives. On the other side, Pitt got Davis Beville and Nick Patti some work after Yellen’s two third-quarter picks. Neither Beville nor Patti did much in the game, combining to go 2 of 6 for 17 yards.
Notre Dame will be back in action next weekend when they travel the road for the second straight week. The Irish will face Georgia Tech on Oct. 31 (3:30 p.m. ET) at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The game will air on ABC.