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If you didn’t think this game was a dog fight waiting to happen, you haven’t see enough of both Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. The two teams are similar, both hit hard and make plays on defense to keep them in games while having average offenses. The two teams slugged it out over four quarters but the Irish prevailed with a quality and exciting, 32-29 road victory. Here are the best, 5 stars, and worst, 1 star, performances from the Irish this week.
5 ⭐️ - Kyren Williams
Oct 9, 2021; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Kyren Williams (23) runs as Virginia Tech Hokies defensive back Jermaine Waller (2) gets set for the stop during the second half at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Yeah, he’s not breaking off the big runs like he did last year, but who is going to complain when Williams accounts for two scores, and 100 total yards from scrimmage. It’s not what many of us had imagined for the sophomore after a huge season last year, but you can’t deny that Williams has been wildly productive as the offensive line continues to figure things out.
4 ⭐️ - The defensive backs minus Kyle Hamilton (surprising right?)
TaRiq Bracy had a much needed interception in the third quarter that led to an Irish score. Cam Hart got tested early and we didn’t hear about him after that. Clarence Lewis was fantastic in run support. A very dumb penalty by Hamilton late in the fourth quarter, getting called for roughing the pass in a crucial situation hurt. The Hokies would score a few plays later and almost put a dagger in the Irish’s hopes. This group as a whole has really improved as they limited the Hokies to just 184 passing yards today, making the hosts one-dimensional while contributing in other areas as well.
3 ⭐️ - Logan Diggs
Another true freshman has been called upon early in his Irish career and Diggs answered the bell. Spelling Williams and Tyree, he showed what we saw he did in his school, the ability to wait for a hole and use his impressive speed to bust through. Diggs had six attempts for 29-yards and added a catch for 15-yards. Football at every level is about depth, the more you have the better off you’ll be, especially with Williams getting dinged up late. Diggs now adds to the already impressive running back room depth.
2 ⭐️ - The quarterback rotation
Oct 9, 2021; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan (17) drops to throw a pass as Virginia Tech Hokies defensive lineman Amare Barno (11) gets through the line during the first quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Is there any rhyme to the coaches reason for continuing to just go with a completely random way of who should lead this team? Going with the hot hand works, when you have three options, but not one of them can get a rhythm. Of the group, Tyler Buchner is the best runner, Drew Pyne is the best pocket option in my eyes. Many of us thought Pyne would be next up if Coan failed, but it was Buchner first off the bench. When Buchner went down with an injury, it was Coan that was called back upon and produced late, no sign of Pyne. It’s been a wild ride for this position group this year and who knows what will happen as the season progresses.
1 ⭐️ - Game plan for Buchner passing
Oct 9, 2021; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Tyler Buchner (12) throws a pass during the second quarter against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
We all know what the true freshman does best, it’s run the ball. Buchner shows a lot of freshman in his game like not getting the team lined up properly after a time out. He rolled his ankle after throwing his second pick, who knows if Buchner will be ready to play next week. He went 0/5 with two interceptions on third down and didn’t complete a pass in the second half before he got hurt. The next time Buchner sees a quality amount of playing time, Rees has to have a better plan to get him easier throws, some quick screens, rolling the pocket, and misdirection. It wasn’t good and it showed.