Notre Dame tops Virginia 28-3 behind three TD passes from Jack CoanSun-Times wireson November 14, 2021 at 4:51 am

Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams breaks a tackle by Virginia’s Joey Blount in the first half Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia. | Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

The Irish kept alive their hopes of playing their way into the four-team College Football Playoff.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Jack Coan threw three touchdown passes and No. 7 Notre Dame extended its regular-season winning streak against Atlantic Coast Conference schools to 23 games with a 28-3 victory over Virginia on Saturday night.

Coan connected with Michael Mayer from 6 yards, Braden Lenzy from 4 yards and Kevin Austin from 15 yards for the Fighting Irish (9-1, No. 9 CFP), who also stretched their road winning streak against teams from the ACC to 11 games.

And they did it in a week when a flu bug hit about a dozen players, causing defensive end Myron Tagovalia-Amosa to miss the game because he had a 101-degree fever. Rylie Mills moved from defensive tackle to end and had three sacks.

“They had a mindset with all that that this was the challenge they wanted,” coach Brian Kelly said of his team.

Virginia (6-4) played without quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who leads the nation in total offense with an average of 425.3 yards but did not dress after sustaining a rib injury in a loss to No. 14 BYU two weeks ago.

Jay Woolfolk, the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Virginia since Bryan Shumock in 1977, was ineffective. He completed 18 of 33 passes for 196 yards, two interceptions and was sacked seven times.

“I thought Jay did a nice job,” coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “Jay’s processing takes longer whereas Brennan would have had the ball out much faster.”

The Irish, playing for the sixth time against a team coming off an open date, won for the fifth time in those games, keeping alive their hopes of playing their way into the four-team College Football Playoff. They have two three-win teams remaining on their schedule.

“We’re ascending as a football team,” Kelly said. “Any time you try to put a resume together, it’s about how you play later in the year.”

The Irish led 21-0 at halftime and had outgained Virginia 264-92. The victory was their 40th in a row against unranked opponents.


Notre Dame: Coan, who was benched for ineffectiveness against Virginia Tech before returning in the fourth quarter to lead a comeback, had no such issues against the Cavaliers. He was 15 of 20 for 132 yards when freshman Tyler Buchner replaced him after his third TD pass.

Virginia: The Cavaliers had tackling problems in their 66-49 loss at BYU two weeks ago, and despite a week off to get that fixed, the problem persisted against the Irish as running back Kyren Williams, Mayer and others routinely escaped the first hit. Williams broke three tackles on a 22-yard TD run.


The Fighting Irish wrap up their home schedule against Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Virginia travels to Pittsburgh next Saturday and can pull even with the Panthers in the Coastal Division — and have the tiebreaker — with a victory.

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