Notre Dame football: An undefeated season complete

Notre Dame football

A 45-21 victory over the Syracuse Orange gives Notre Dame football the completion to its undefeated regular season. What was a cold winter day in South Bend turned into a heartwarming ending, as Irish seniors finished their final game under the lights. For Notre Dame, this win extends the program’s home winning streak. At 24 wins, the Irish are just six wins away from setting a new record.

More to celebrate

The Irish are not necessarily celebrating a victory over Syracuse but more celebrating what this win means to certain players, as well as the future of Notre Dame football. To start, this win is extremely meaningful to Ian Book. Now completing his 30th career win for the Irish, Book set a record for most all-time in school history. For as much as Notre Dame went through this year especially, this is the complete story tale ending for Book.

Kyren Williams has become the first sophomore since Darius Walker in 2005 to reach 1,000 yards for the season. Against Syracuse, Williams finished with 110 yards on 20 carries. There is no doubt William’s career has just begun with the Irish. His future is very bright and Irish fans should be excited to see how he carries the team carrying on.

Irish’s performance

Defensively, this was Notre Dame’s best game. Although giving Syracuse 21 points seems contrary to what I just stated, the Irish forced four turnovers. Multiple players had career bests, as well as contributing to team bests. Clarence Lewis had quite a game, having a personal and team best of 12 tackles, as well as a forced fumble. Furthermore, Daelin Hayes had his first career interception, and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa totaled for a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Offensively, Javon McKinley stole the show. Finishing with 111 yards on seven receptions and three touchdowns, McKinley ended his career with the Irish with a career high in receptions and touchdowns. For Book, his final show in South Bend was exceptional. Ending the game with 24-for-37 for 285 yards and five touchdowns, Book played beyond expectations and has put himself in a great position moving into the postseason.

Clemson revenge

It is no secret that Clemson is seeking revenge after a tough loss in South Bend early November. After a win against Virginia Tech, Clemson now secured the second spot in the ACC Championship. The championship is scheduled to happen on Dec. 19. This gives Notre Dame and Clemson two weeks to practice, as well as rest injuries and develop new strategies. Although the Irish won the first round, Clemson will gain back Trevor Lawrence, which has a high probability of changing the dynamic of the game.

Although Lawrence is back, Notre Dame should not be counted out of this game. Right now, the Irish are playing at full potential. With limited injuries, Notre Dame should not have a dramatic change in the roster come Clemson. The offensive and defensive units are playing as one, which is something that has been progressing all season.

Notre Dame football has always received backlash for being independent. As the pandemic pushed the Irish into joining the ACC, Notre Dame was challenged with new guidelines and new competitors. Ironically, the first time the Irish join a conference they come out undefeated in the regular season. Going forward, that might be enough to silence the issue.

Photo by Michael Yu | The Observer