In his first career start at Notre Dame Stadium, quarterback Ian Book showed what a difference-maker he is for the now 5-0 Fighting Irish team. The redshirt sophomore went 24-for-33 with 278 yards and four touchdown passes.
His most impressive stat from this game, however, was that he completed a pass to 10 different receivers for the second straight game.
Even though he’s only made two starts so far, it would be pretty hard to argue against Ian Book’s play at quarterback adding a whole new aspect to Notre Dame’s offense.
Inevitably, the team feels much more complete now that they have a solid passing game. But, their running game also stepped things up in the past couple weeks with sophomore Jafar Armstrong and junior Tony Jones Jr. both improving. Last week’s game against Stanford also saw the return of senior running back Dexter Williams, who made an instant impact to the offense with 161 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Earlier in the season, this team was getting plenty of praise for their opening weekend victory over rival Michigan. The ESPN College Football Playoff Predictor was even giving the Fighting Irish a greater than 50 percent chance to make the playoffs. As a fan, I did not like the early hype; I thought Notre Dame did not even look that great in the Michigan game, and over the next couple weeks, that same thought continued.
But now, the college football playoff predictor is giving the No. 6 Irish a 47 percent chance of making the playoff and I have to say I am content with those chances.
This week Notre Dame is going on the road to Blacksburg, Virginia for the first time ever to take on the No. 24 Virginia Tech Hokies. While it does seem like a game Notre Dame should not have a problem with, it could also very well be a trap game. Despite their shocking loss to Old Dominion in week four, the Hokies are still a solid football team this season.