Fighting Irish Top RedHawks in Non-Conference Finale

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Sept. 30, 2017

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Miami football team's offense showed some poise in hostile territory, but Notre Dame's rushing attack proved too much as the RedHawks fell 52-17 on Saturday night.

Miami (2-3) posted 377 yards of offense and held the ball for over 35 minutes, but early turnovers proved costly as Notre Dame (4-1) won the second all-time meeting between the schools.

The Fighting Irish took two plays to score as Josh Adams took a handoff and rushed 73 yards for a touchdown to make it 7-0 just 25 seconds in. Miami countered by getting into Notre Dame territory on its first drive on a 22-yard Gus Ragland pass to Ryan Smith that had 15 yards tacked on due to a personal foul. Working in plus territory, that MU drive came to an end two plays later when Ragland had his pass intercepted by Greer Martini, which was returned to the Miami 36.

Defensively, MU nearly stood tall, forcing a 4th-and-11 as Ikeem Allen sacked Brandon Wimbush to start off the drive, but Wimbush on fourth down hit Chase Claypool for 21 yards. UND eventually punched it in from a yard out to up the lead to 14-0 with 11:36 left in the first quarter.

Undeterred, the RedHawks drove down the field again. Ragland made big completions to James Gardner for 21 yards to midfield and converted a 3rd-and-3 with a nine-yard toss to Smith. Facing 3rd-and-10, Ragland found Gardner over the shoulder for a 34-yard touchdown pass to cap an eight-play, 73-yard scoring drive and cut the deficit to 14-7 midway through the quarter.

Notre Dame's ground game continued to pose problems as Adams converted a 3rd-and-2 with a four-yard run before breaking a 59-yard touchdown run and making it 21-7 with 6:06 remaining in the opening frame.

After a Miami drive stalled near midfield, the RedHawks made their first stop of the day, forcing a couple incomplete passes and getting a sack out of Brad Koenig to force a three-and-out. The MU possession could not get on track as pressure forced a fumble that UND recovered at the Miami 30. A personal foul negated a Notre Dame fumble on the first play of the drive and the Fighting Irish eventually scored on a short field five plays later as Wimbush found Claypool from seven yards out to make it a 28-7 ballgame at the end of the first quarter.

The Fighting Irish made it 35-7 with 12:50 remaining in the half when Wimbush found Equanimeous St. Brown for a 14-yard score. That was countered by a 14-yard touchdown connection between Ragland and Gardner, their second respective touchdowns of the day to cut the gap to 35-14.

It appeared the RedHawks might get the ball back to get a bit closer, but on 4th-and-3 a fake punt went for 32 yards and set up a 43-yard field goal by Justin Yoon to up the lead to 38-14. Miami followed by driving into plus territory again, but stalled at the Notre Dame 44. After the punt, the Fighting Irish went 81 yards in five plays with Wimbush hitting Miles Boykin for a 54-yard touchdown to make it 45-14 at the half.

A Samuel Sloman field goal from 38 yards out split the uprights and brought the score to 45-17 with 6:40 left in the third quarter. After a missed Notre Dame field goal, Miami drove into plus territory again, but got stopped on a fourth down conversion attempt at the 18-yard line on the final play of the third quarter. The Fighting Irish made it 52-17 with 8:10 left on a 26-yard touchdown rush by Deon McIntosh, which capped the scoring.

The Fighting Irish finished with a 503-377 advantage in total yards with 333 of those coming on the ground. Gardner hauled in both of Miami's touchdowns and finished with 115 yards on five catches. Ragland led all throwers with 262 yards through the air and a pair of touchdowns with an interception, finishing 19-of-37 passing. Alonzo Smith accounted for 66 of the RedHawks' 115 rushing yards on 10 carries.

Miami returns to Mid-American Conference play for the remainder of the season, beginning on Saturday when it hosts Bowling Green for Family Weekend. Opening kickoff at Yager Stadium is at 2:30 p.m.