Notre Dame rides an all-around effort to a 33-9 victory against Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl for its 11th win.
ND closes out 11-win season, brings momentum to 2020
ORLANDO, Fla. — So much for the notion that No. 15 Notre Dame didn’t have anything to play for in the Camping World Bowl.
A year removed from an appearance in the CFP national semifinals, the Fighting Irish closed out another double-digit-win season with arguably their best all-around performance in a 33-9 victory over Iowa State on Saturday.
“I’m just so proud of our football team,” coach Brian Kelly said. “2019 will be one that I’ll always remember, for a group of guys that just loved to play the game. They had such a strong brotherhood.
“They did not listen to what the naysayers had to say about them. The negative tone, the negative people out there. All they cared about was playing the game. It was clean. It was about competing. Always looking to better themselves.”
Ian Book threw for 247 yards and a touchdown, Tony Jones Jr. scored on an 84-yard run and game MVP Chase Claypool had seven receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown for the Irish (11-2), who finished with a six-game winning streak after losing to Michigan to tumble out of contention for a playoff berth.
Notre Dame also lost to Georgia in September. But Kelly said the team remained focused.
“Even this week (we heard) ‘Notre Dame is not ready to play,’” he said. “(We) used that as another form of motivation to show people wrong. They just read this team wrong. It’s just so satisfying that this group has been rewarded with 11 wins. They overcame adversity, lived the life lessons of it. They’re not perfect. They never pretended to be perfect and never wanted to be but always strived for excellence.”
Book completed 20 of 28 passes without an interception, including a 27-yard touchdown throw to Claypool, who went over 1,000 receiving yards for the season and recovered a fumble on special teams to set up an early field goal.
Iowa State (7-6) lost to four ranked teams — Iowa, Oklahoma, Baylor and Oklahoma State — by a combined 11 points and was hoping to end its fourth season under Matt Campbell with a signature win for a once-downtrodden program.
“When we got here there wasn’t even a thought that we could compete with teams like this,” Campbell said. “There was no thought that we could compete with the best teams in our conference. And to be quite honest with you, I don’t know if there were a lot of people that thought we could compete with our rival in our own state.”
Brock Purdy was 17 of 30 for 222 yards and no interceptions for the Cyclones, but he was unable to get his team into the end zone after throwing for a school singleseason record 27 touchdowns. The sophomore quarterback left the game in the closing minutes with what Campbell described as a high ankle sprain.
Connor Assalley kicked field goals of 41, 26 and 42 yards.
“I think why you’re so disappointed is because you feel how close you really are to where you want to be,” Campbell said. “Getting over that hump, taking that next step, that’s a great challenge.”
The Irish, who won 10-plus games in three consecutive seasons for the first time since 1991-93, outrushed the Cyclones 208-45.
Penn State 53, Memphis 39: All-America linebacker Micah Parsons led the big blitz for Penn State, and he had Brady White all wrapped up when the Memphis quarterback suddenly flipped away the ball — right into the hands of Garrett Taylor.
On a day when the Nittany Lions’ defense gave up its most points and yards all season, Taylor turned that gift into a 15-yard interception return for a touchdown on Saturday in Arlington, Texas, in the highestscoring Cotton Bowl ever.
“A huge momentum shift,” Taylor said. Journey Brown ran for 202 yards with two long touchdowns, but the Parsonscreated pick six came three plays after Brown was stopped short on a fourth-and-1. Taylor put the 10th-ranked Nittany Lions (11-2) up 45-36 going into the fourth quarter.
Notre Dame running back Tony Jones Jr. is knocked out of bounds by Iowa State linebacker Mike Rose on Saturday.