South Bend, Ind. —Notre Dame will agree that they did not play its best game but a win is a win.
The University of Louisville Saturday went toe to toe with the fourth ranked Irish (4-0, 3-0 ACC) at Notre Dame Stadium and ND escaped with a 12-7 victory to remain undefeated in front of 10,182.
The Fighting Irish were able to have success moving the ball against Louisville (1-4, 0-4), but had a problem punching it in the red zone. Notre Dame’s first two trips to the red zone ended with 32- and 30-yard field goals by Jonathan Doerer. ND had a 6-0 lead late in the second quarter but left some points on the field.
ND had a excellent game on the ground (232 yards), no turnovers and a third-down conversion rate 57.1% (8-of-14) allowed Notre Dame to control time of possession (36:15 to 23:45).
Irish running back Kyren Williams had 127 yards on 25 carries, marking his third 100-yard rushing game on the season.
“Offensively, we didn’t have very many plays at all today,” Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield said. “Some of the fewest plays I think I’ve ever ran in a game. I think 45 plays. They did a great job of staying on the field. And we didn’t do as good of a job with that.”
Ian Book had an stellar third-quarter 13-yard rushing for a score to regain the lead accumulating 47 yards on the ground. Book finished with the game 106 passing yards, completing 11-of-19 attempts.
In the second half, the Cardinals took its first lead of the game after taking the opening drive 83 yards to pay-dirt. Louisville converted a fourth and two from midfield on the drive and Marshon Ford caught the one-yard dart for the touchdown to end the drive.
The Irish immediately responded with a 66-yard drive, eating up 3:49, Book finished the drive off with a 13-yard touchdown run which put ND back out on top 12-7, the two-point conversion attempt failed.
“Louisville threw some new looks at us,” Book said. “They did a good job with some movement and they had a good D-Line and they were able to get home a couple of times. It might look like one of the O-linemen missed and maybe I should have gotten the ball out. Got to go watch the film. Shouldn’t blame anybody for that.”
Notre Dame will be back in action next weekend when they hit the road for the first time in 2020. Notre Dame will face Pittsburgh on Oct. 24 (3:30 p.m. ET) at Heinz Field. The game will air on ABC.