Indianapolis Star
College Football
Notre Dame 52, Miami (Ohio) 17
When: 5:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 30, 2017
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
Temperature: 66°
Head Official: Jerry Magallane
Attendance: 77622

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame scored two touchdowns within the first four minutes and was never challenged from there as the Fighting Irish blew out Miami (Ohio) 52-17 on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.

The biggest concern for No. 22 Notre Dame (4-1) by game's end was an injury to Josh Adams.

The running back left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury and did not return, tapping out after eight carries for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Tony Jones Jr. replaced Adams, but the sophomore lasted barely a quarter before sustaining a head injury. The Irish were already without junior back Dexter Williams (ankle).

Despite losing backs, Notre Dame's ground game rolled to 333 yards, the third time it's hit that mark this season after doing it just twice in the previous seven seasons combined under Brian Kelly. The Irish coach said he expects all three backs next week.

Notre Dame's revitalized run game seems to function regardless of who's carrying the ball. That charge was one Kelly put to his team during practice this week, bent on making sure the Irish didn't overlook a MAC opponent.

"I challenged them on Monday to show me mental toughness and they were expecting that getting validated today," Kelly said. "More than anything else, it's a special group in that it's how they play the game that's more important than really what the score is."

Still, Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush continued his uneven first year as the starter, finishing 7 of 18 for 119 yards and three touchdowns to go with 11 carries for 36 yards and another score. He sat for the fourth quarter, giving way to backup Ian Book, who later gave way to former walk-on Montgomery VanGorder.

"I think things can be clicking at a higher level," Wimbush said. "As a quarterback you know that. I have another level of my game that I haven't hit yet. I know I'm on my way to doing that."

Miami's only competitive hope came from wideout James Gardner, who put up five catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns during the first half. The rest of the Miami offense was a virtual no-show until the game got out of hand as the RedHawks fell to 2-3.

Miami quarterback Gus Ragland completed 19 of 37 passes for 262 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception.

The Irish have held all five of their opponents to 20 points or fewer under first-year defensive coordinator Mike Elko. Notre Dame finished with three sacks.

"I don't think you can look at this team and say it's a dominating defense or it's a dominating offense or it's the special teams," Kelly said. "We don't hurt each other. We complement each other. Our defense takes it away, we go and score. It's a good group and it's working well together."

Notre Dame and Miami celebrated connections both historic and recent Saturday.

Kelly welcomed back his former offensive coordinator Chuck Martin, now the fourth-year head coach of the RedHawks.

"We'll be rooting for Chuck Martin and Miami," Kelly said. "He's a special friend of mine."

The two programs acknowledged a deeper tie that binds too, each wearing decals honoring the late Ara Parseghian, a two-time national championship head coach at Notre Dame who graduated and broke into the profession at Miami.

"We owe it to Ara Parseghian to play football the right way today," Martin said. "No matter what the score is.

"They have a very good team this year. They're playing the game the right way, and they're only going to get better, I think."

Notre Dame heads to North Carolina next weekend before taking a week off, with rival USC coming to visit Oct. 21.

NOTES: RB Josh Adams is now Notre Dame's eighth all-time leading rusher, passing George Gipp, Phil Carter and Randy Kinder on Saturday. … Notre Dame Sophomore WR Kevin Stepherson returned to the lineup after being benched during the season's first four games. He made one catch. … Miami (Ohio) RB Alonzo Smith rushed 10 times for a team-high 66 yards. ... The Irish forced their 11th turnover of the season and have turned 10 of them into touchdowns, outscoring opponents 70-3 off turnovers this season. … Notre Dame is plus-116 in scoring differential through five games, its third-best margin of the modern era and best since the national championship team of 1966, coached by Ara Parseghian. … Notre Dame became the second FBS program to reach 900 all-time wins. ... Irish safety Devin Studstill missed the game with a foot injury but is expected back for North Carolina.
Top Game Performances
Miami (Ohio)   Notre Dame
Alonzo Smith Player Josh Adams
10 Attempts 8
66 Yards 159
6.6 Avg Yards 19.9
0 Touchdowns 2
0 Long 0
Miami (Ohio)   Notre Dame
James Gardner Player Miles Boykin
5 Receptions 1
115 Yards 54
23.0 Avg Yards 54.0
2 Touchdowns 1
0 Long 0
Team Stats Summary
  Yards Scoring Defense
Team Tot Rus Pas TD FG INT Sck FF
Miami (Ohio) 377 115 262 2 1 0 2.0 0
Notre Dame 503 333 170 7 1 1 3.0 1