LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Monday night’s game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Louisville Cardinals featured a sequence of three plays near the end of the first half that summed up the game for the hosts.
On 3rd-and-10 from his team’s own 20-yard line, Louisville quarterback Juwan Pass fumbled at the end of a 6-yard run to set the Irish up deep in Cardinals’ territory with a 1st-and-10 and just 1:20 remaining before halftime. One play later, Irish quarterback Ian Book returned the favor fumbling the ball back to the Cardinals. Tied at 14-all, it appeared to be a big break for the Cardinals who took over on their own 24 just needing to run out the clock to head to the lockers tied with the Top 10 Irish. But on a night when mistakes would ultimately prove to be the Cardinals’ undoing, Pass was sacked and fumbled for the second time in three plays giving the ball back to the Irish once again. This time the Irish would cash in scoring four plays later to take a 21-14 lead into halftime en route to a 35-17 win. Both teams relied heavily on the run game with Tony Jones, Jr., leading the way for the Irish with 110 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown. Irish quarterback Ian Book was also effective with 14 carries for 81 yards and a score of his own while adding 193 yards through the air with another score. Pass, meanwhile, was only 12-of-27 passing for just 134 yards, and his three fumbles would prove costly. Cardinals’ running back Javian Hawkins was a more reliable threat on the ground with 19 carries for 122 yards.
— Kendall Webb