Ian Book throws 5 TDs and has only 4 incompletions in ND’s rout of Bowling Green

The Irish had 573 total yards, with senior Tony Jones Jr. rushing for more than 100 for the third time this season.

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Ian Book

Irish quarterback Ian Book throws during the second half Saturday against Bowling Green. Notre Dame won 52-0.

Darron Cummings/AP

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — With USC on the horizon for No. 9 Notre Dame, coach Brian Kelly wanted his team to show explosiveness against Bowling Green on Saturday.

The Irish did — plenty of it.

Ian Book threw a career-high five touchdown passes and had only four incompletions in a little more than two quarters, and the defense earned its first shutout since 2014 in a 52-0 victory over the Falcons.

“I thought Ian did a nice job,” Kelly said after the Irish (4-1) matched their largest margin of victory of the season — a 66-14 win over New Mexico last month. “Obviously, a lot of good things happened as we had an opportunity to do things against an undermanned Bowling Green team today.

“They handled themselves like a team that had a vision of what they wanted to accomplish, and they went out and did it.” 

The Irish had 573 total yards, with senior Tony Jones Jr. rushing for more than 100 for the third time this season. Jones had 102 yards on seven carries. Notre Dame limited the Falcons (1-4) to 228 yards.

Book completed 16 of 20 passes for 261 yards before giving way to backup Phil Jurkovec at the 4:11 mark of the third quarter. Jurkovec, a 6-5 sophomore, added a touchdown pass in the third quarter, a seven-yarder to Avery Davis.

“[Kelly] challenged us to focus on ourselves,” said Book, who did not throw a touchdown pass last week in Notre Dame’s 35-20 victory against Virginia. “We wanted to put up some points and have an attention to details.”

After going three-and-out on their first possession, the Irish drove 80 yards in six plays and 1:58, culminating with Book’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Tremble. Touchdown passes to Cole Kmet (21 yards) and Chase Claypool (34 yards) made it 21-0 after the first quarter. Book then hit Claypool (eight yards) and Javon McKinley (25 yards) with touchdown passes in the second quarter for a 35-0 halftime lead.

Meanwhile, the Irish defense, which had eight sacks and five turnovers in the victory over Virginia, earned its first shutout since a 31-0 blanking of Michigan. The Irish had two sacks and one takeaway but forced seven quarterback hurries.

“I think there’s not a hole on their defense,” Falcons coach Scot Loeffler said. “They’ll be a top-five team. They’re a great football team in my opinion.”

Grant Loy completed 13 of 25 passes for 106 yards and Quintin Morris had 10 receptions for 92 yards for Bowling Green.

The rebuilding Falcons, who came into the game being outscored 149-27 in losses to Kansas State (52-0), Louisiana Tech (35-7) and Kent State (62-20), managed 136 yards in the first half on seven drives, the first three of which were three-and-outs. They had a 14-play drive that reached the Irish 22. But Loy was called for intentional grounding and a loss of 21 yards when pressured by Julian Okwara.

The Irish offense was hardly tested by the Falcons’ defense coordinated by Brian VanGorder, who spent 2¼ years as defensive coordinator at Notre Dame from 2014 to 2016.

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