ACC honors given to Notre Dame football

Notre Dame football is experiencing conference recognition this week, a fairly new occurrence for the previously independent program. The ACC awarded two Irish players for their 45-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers this past weekend. Fifth years Ian Book and Liam Eichenberg were the receivers, with Book earning ACC Quarterback of the Week and Eichenberg earning ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week. Prior to these selections, the Irish have received three honors this season.

A weekend for Book

Not only did Book receive ACC Quarterback of the Week, but he was also named to the “Davey O’Brien Great 8 List” for Week 8. Book was the only ACC representative to be featured on the list, which gave Notre Dame football the spotlight in the conference. Pitt was ranked as the ACC’s top ranked rushing defense, so it was an impressive accomplishment for Book, as well as the Irish offense.

So, what did Book do so well to receive these honors? There was no doubt his presence at Heinz Field was visible. He completed 16 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns. Book rushed for 40 yards, including three first downs.

The chemistry was finally there for the Irish offense. Book’s 73-yard pass to Ben Skowronek was not only the second-longest pass among ACC quarterbacks for the week, but the third-longest pass in the FBS. While this was the longest pass of the game, most of Book’s passes presented accuracy and were well-executed.

I hope Book’s performance at Heinz Field marked a new chapter. The last time I spoke on Book, I was concerned about his consistency. Irish fans should be watching to see if Book can continue his momentum into the upcoming Georgia Tech game. Time is running out, as Clemson is less than two weeks away.

Eichenberg’s Leadership

Eichenberg and the Notre Dame offensive line really guided the way for success against Pitt. For a total of 434 yards of offense and 115 rushing yards, the Irish claimed the spot as the ACC leader in time of possession per game. Holding the ball for almost 41 minutes, the Irish reclaimed their ability to be aggressive after a weak performance against Louisville.

Eichenberg stood out specifically, as he was excellent in the run game and pass game. As a team captain, he embraced the role of setting high standards and ensured his teammates played their part. Weighing in at 302 pounds, Eichenberg has the ability to be competitive. He can capitalize when need be, and that surely showed at Heinz Field.

What is Next?

Can Notre Dame football continue this momentum? I have a hard time answering that question. It is hard to overlook the past four games. The Irish have been inconsistent and hard to read. My top three questions for next week are the following:

  1. Can Notre Dame capitalize on Georgia Tech the way it did against Pitt?

  2. Can Ian Book continue to be comfortable being aggressive?

  3. Can the Irish offense maintain chemistry?

If these three questions are answered against Georgia Tech, I might have some closer predictions for the Clemson game. There is no doubt Notre Dame football is a well-trained football program. The question is can it deliver what its been trained to do. Time will only tell.

Photo by Anna Mason | The Observer

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