Notebook: Breaking down UVA-Notre Dame

uva notre dameIrish lose starting quarterback: Malik Zaire is out for the season after suffering a fractured ankle in the third quarter of Notre Dame’s 34-27 win at Virginia.

Zaire went down after a three-yard gain on a quarterback draw. Trainers didn’t allow him to put weight on his injured leg while helping him off the field, and he was carted off to the locker room shortly thereafter.

Zaire had a solid day as a dual threat, throwing for 115 yards and a touchdown and running for 87 yards on 10 carries.

Backup Deshone Kizer rallied the Irish to the win with a two-minute drill scoring drive that was capped by a 39-yard touchdown pass to Will Fuller with 12 seconds to go.

 

Notre Dame gashes Virginia run defense: The Irish ran 34 times for 253 yards, 7.4 yards per carry. The bulk of the damage was done on the read option, with Zaire and C.J. Prosise gashing the interior of the UVA front seven between the guards down the A gap for the bulk of their yardage.

Prosise gained 155 yards on 17 carries, 9.1 yards per run, and Zaire averaged 8.7 yards per run on his 10 rushes.

 

Numbers look better for Virginia run game, but what was that exactly? The UVA run game was supposed to be a focus for offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild heading into 2015, but the Cavs ran for just 2.9 yards per rush last week in the 34-16 loss at UCLA.

The numbers looked better this week, with the ‘Hoos gaining 127 yards on 30 runs, 4.2 yards per attempt.

But – and you knew there was a but coming here, didn’t you? – 66 of the yards came on three big runs, two of them coming out of flanker sweeps featuring Taquan Mizzell and Olamide Zaccheaus.

Credit to Fairchild for finding a run play that works, but – there’s that word again – take those runs away, and Virginia gained 61 yards on its other 27 carries.

That’s 2.3 yards per carry. Worse than last week.

 

Pass-rush defenseless: Two sacks, one more than last week, and no quarterback hurries, same as last week. No turnovers, same as last week.

– Column by Chris Graham


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