SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Middle linebacker Nyles Morgan had 10 tackles, but he made a major error. Morgan was ejected for targeting after a helmet-to-helmet hit on quarterback Reggie Bonnafon well after he released the ball. Officials reviewed the play, and the call stood. Because the ejection came in the fourth quarter, the penalty carries over to the first half next week at USC.
“It was a penalty that did not need to occur,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said. “I mean, he had a free shot at him. He did not need to go high. It was a careless, careless mistake.”
Filling the void
Greer Martini had to play a larger role with Morgan out. He collected two tackles and one sack. Fellow freshman Jay Hayes saw his first action of the season to help make up for the loss of lineman Sheldon Day. Hayes made one tackle. He is the ninth true freshman to play defense this season.
“Jay Hayes played well. He gave us what we thought we’d give him, about 30, 35 snaps,” Kelly said. “Plays hard, plays physical, and Greer made a great play tracking down the quarterback with the sack. Smart player, did a nice job.”
This and that
Will Fuller has 14 touchdown catches. He is one shy of tying the school’s single-season mark shared by Jeff Samardzija (2005), Rhema McKnight (2006) and Golden Tate (2009).
◆ Greg Bryant’s 61-yard punt return in the third quarter was the longest since Tate went 87 yards for a touchdown against Pittsburgh in 2009.