Louisville, Ky. — Ian Book ran for one touchdown and threw for another, Jahmir Smith rushed for two scores and the No. 9 Fighting Irish beat Louisville, 35-17, on Monday night.
Tony Jones Jr. rushed 15 times for 110 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown, as the Fighting Irish worked harder than expected to put away the rebuilding Cardinals in Scott Satterfield’s debut as coach.
Notre Dame trailed 14-7 in the first before Jones’ score tied it, and Book followed with an 11-yard score just before halftime.
Book’s touchdown came after a bizarre sequence featuring three consecutive fumbles between the teams, the last of which Notre Dame recovered at Louisville’s 20. The Irish forced five fumbles overall and recovered three.
“We just had to focus on some smaller details,” said Book, who rushed for 81 yards on 14 carries. “They were there. Just had to execute what was called. We trust the coaches to put in the right decision and we just had to execute it. All 11 guys.”
Book hit Tommy Tremble with a 26-yard touchdown pass midway through the third for a 28-14 lead. He finished 14 of 23 passing for 193 yards. Smith rushed for touchdowns of 3 and 1 yards and totaled 24 on eight carries.
Louisville junior quarterback Jawon Pass rushed for touchdowns of 8 and 17 yards in the first quarter, but the Cardinals struggled after that and managed only Blanton Creque’s 46-yard field goal midway in the fourth quarter.
Louisville freshman Javian Hawkins rushed for 122 yards on 19 carries.
Playing before a record home crowd of 58,187, the Cardinals were outgained 425-383.
Satterfield nonetheless found bright spots in the Cardinals’ performance against Notre Dame, which was coming off a College Football Playoff semifinal loss to eventual champion Clemson.
“I was extremely proud of the way our guys played,” he said. “The fight, the energy they had was awesome to see. The one thing coming into this game that we didn’t know about was when they faced adversity, how were they going to react to it. And they did a great job.”
Illinois running back Mike Epstein sustained a season-ending injury for the third straight year. Coach Lovie Smith said the junior hurt his knee in the third quarter of the opener against Akron.
... South Carolina starting quarterback Jake Bentley will be out indefinitely with a broken foot, a person close to football program told the AP.
... Georgia receiver Kearis Jackson will be out three to four weeks after suffering a broken hand in the season-opening victory over Vanderbilt.
... North Carolina State receiver C.J. Riley will miss the rest of the season after tearing a knee ligament on a special teams play.
... Presbyterian has scheduled a game against Mercer after its season opener was canceled due to Hurricane Dorian.