LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Ian Book ran for one touchdown and threw for another, Jahmir Smith rushed for two scores and No. 9 Notre Dame beat Louisville 35-17 on Monday night.
Tony Jones Jr. rushed 15 times for 112 yards, including an 11-yard TD, as the Fighting Irish worked harder than expected to put away the rebuilding Cardinals in Scott Satterfield’s debut as coach.
Notre Dame trailed 14-7 in the first before Jones’ score tied it, and Book followed with an 11-yard score just before halftime.
Book’s TD came after a bizarre sequence featuring three consecutive fumbles between the teams, the last of which Notre Dame recovered at Louisville’s 20. The Irish forced five fumbles overall and recovered three.
Book hit Tommy Tremble with a 26-yard TD pass midway through the third for a 28-14 lead. He finished 14 of 23 passing for 193 yards. Smith rushed for touchdowns of 3 and 1 yards and totaled 24 on eight carries.
Louisville junior quarterback Jawon Pass rushed for touchdowns of 8 and 17 yards in the first quarter, but the Cardinals struggled after that and managed only Blanton Creque’s 46-yard field goal midway in the fourth quarter.
Louisville freshman Javian Hawkins rushed for 122 yards on 19 carries.
Playing before a record home crowd of 58,187, the Cardinals were outgained 425-383.
The Irish struggled, but should remain in the Top 10.
Notre Dame: The defense initially looked shaky before adjusting to keep Louisville out of the end zone after the first quarter. Four sacks highlighted that performance, along with the fumble recoveries that stopped drives and momentum. Book’s feet helped set the offensive tone as the Irish rushed for 232 yards. He then threw the key touchdown for a cushion they never lost.
Louisville: The Scott Satterfield Era got off to an exciting start as the Cardinals showed more energy and execution on both sides of the ball than last season in grabbing an early lead. They have more work ahead after failing to sustain the effort, struggling to move the ball and coughing it up five times. They did outrush the Irish by 17 yards, though.
Notre Dame hosts New Mexico on Sept. 14.
Louisville hosts FCS Eastern Kentucky on Saturday night.