NCAA: Louisville 7, (4) Notre Dame 12
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — When it came time to deliver, Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book stopped beating himself up and kept the No. 4 Fighting Irish unbeaten.
“I’m definitely hard on myself, but my job at the end of the day is to get the ‘W’,” said Book, whose 13-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter together with Kyren Williams’ 127 rushing yards helped Notre Dame hold off the Cardinals 12-7 Saturday.
Williams ran 25 times and had his third 100-yard game of the season as the Irish (4-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their 22nd straight at Notre Dame Stadium.
It came against an inspired Louisville 3-4 defense that spent most of the afternoon on the field. Notre Dame controlled the clock for 36:15 including a game-ending 14-play drive that burned the final 7:55.
“When the game is on the line, you can count on Ian Book to come up and make big plays for us,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “The preparation was outstanding, their mindset was great, but when you’re a top-five team, you’re going to get the opposition’s best game, period.”
Book completed 11 of 19 for 106 yards and ran 12 times for 47 yards.
“I felt like I was able to pick myself up and get the energy going,” he said.
The loss was the fourth straight for the Cardinals (1-4, 0-4), who got 118 yards passing and 49 rushing from Malik Cunningham. Javian Hawkins, the nation’s No. 3 rusher coming into the game, was limited to 51 yards on 15 carries.
“I told our guys in our locker room that I was proud of them,” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said. “We were in this game and had an opportunity at the end to get a victory. The guys went out there and competed today.”
The Irish outgained the Cardinals 338-219 and controlled the clock for 21:57 of the first half, running 45 plays and gaining 212 yards to Louisville’s 23 plays for 90. But all that got Notre Dame was a 6-0 halftime lead on Jonathan Doerer’s field goals of 32 and 30 yards.
The Cardinals opened the second half with an 83-yard touchdown drive, including a 29-yard pass to a wide-open Hawkins at the Irish one. Cunningham followed with a 1-yard TD pass to Marshon Ford to make it 7-6.
Cunningham completed 16 of 19 passes and also left for a brief time with cramps but returned.
“They didn’t let us get over the top today so we had to take what we had underneath,” Cunningham said. “Not turning the ball over was something we harped on all week. But the chances we got we have to execute them a little better.”
The Cardinals tried an onside kick after their touchdown but were penalized for an illegal block. After the re-kick, Book drove the Irish 56 yards in eight plays, going the final 13 yards on a cross-field scramble on a third-and-8, escaping the tackle of Chandler Jones and getting into the end zone to put the Irish up 12-7. A 2-point conversion pass failed but Notre Dame led 12-7 going into the final quarter.