As was said during ESPN Chicago’s radio broadcast of the Notre Dame game against Wake Forest; it is not too often you switch quarterbacks after starting 3-0.
However, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish broke this mold by going with redshirt sophomore quarterback Ian Book over regular starter Brandon Wimbush for their week 4 game against the Demon Deacons. Book had started one game during his first season in 2017 (also on the road the state of North Carolina) as well as leading the Irish to a comeback victory over LSU in the Citrus Bowl.
What resulted was Book going 25-for-34 for 325 yards and 2 touchdowns.
For the Fighting Irish, it was their first 300-yard passing game since Deshone Kizer against Syracuse in 2016. Now granted, Wake Forest’s pass defense is one of the worst in the country, but this is still something for the Irish to smile about moving forward, as their passing game is something that needs much improvement. Over the course of the game on Saturday, Book was able to complete a pass to 10 different receivers, giving receptions to some players that have not been featured much this season. One of those receivers was senior tight end Alize Mack who had six receptions for 61 yards. Those six catches helped double his season total. And for Notre Dame to be successful offensively moving forward, they are gonna need a big frame tight end like Mack to be a consistent factor.
During their 56 point outburst against Wake Forest it was not just the passing that looked a lot better. Even though they were outgained in total rushing yards 241-259, the Irish still put together some solid performances. First year running back sophomore Jafar Armstrong had his best outing on the ground so far this season. He had 98 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns. Tony Jones Jr, added 39 yards on seven carries.
Ian Book, who has shown signs of speed and the ability to scramble before, added 43 yards to his total offensive production while adding three touchdowns on the ground.
As many around the Fighting Irish program were already aware, Wimbush definitely excels as a runner, but it is his passing that has always brought him down. Book has shown that he is a superior passer to Wimbush while also having the ability to be an effective runner.
With all this be taken into consideration, look for Notre Dame to stick with Ian Book at quarterback moving forward.