SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Kyren Williams ran for 127 yards and Ian Book had a 13-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter proved that gave No. 4 Notre Dame the lead for good as the Fighting Irish held off Louisville with a 12-7 Saturday.
Williams ran 25 times and had his third 100-yard game of the season as the Irish (4-0, 3-0 ACC) who won their 22nd straight at Notre Dame Stadium.
It came against an inspired 3-4 Louisville defense that spent most of the afternoon on the field. Notre Dame controlled the clock for more than 36 minutes, including a game-ending 14-play drive that burned the final 7:55.
Book completed 11 of 19 for 107 yards and ran 12 times for 47 yards.
The loss was the fourth straight for the Cardinals (1-4, 0-4), who got 134 yards passing and 48 rushing from Malik Cunningham. Javian Hawkins, the nation’s No. 3 rusher coming into the game, was limited to 51 yards on 15 carries.
The Irish, who outgained the Cardinals 339-234, controlled the clock for 21:57 of the first half, running 45 plays and gaining 212 yards to Louisville’s 23 plays for 90. But all that got Notre Dame was a 6-0 halftime lead on Jonathan Doerer’s field goals of 32 and 30 yards.
The Cardinals opened the second half with an 83-yard touchdown drive as Cunningham rushed three times for 26 yards and completed all five of his passes for 52 yards, including a 29-yarder to a wide-open Hawkins at the Irish one. Cunningham followed with a 1-yard TD pass to Marshon Ford to make it 7-6.
The Cardinals tried an onside kick but were penalized for an illegal block. After the re-kick, Book drove the Irish 56 yards in eight plays, going the final 13 yards on a cross-field scramble on a third-and-8, escaping the tackle of Chandler Jones and getting into the end zone to put the Irish up 12-7. A 2-point conversion pass failed but Notre Dame led 12-7 going into the final quarter.
Louisville: The Cardinals, who entered the game with a turnover margin of minus-2 and having allowed 14 sacks, moved the ball when they were able to get it from the Irish. With the Irish defensive attention on Hawkins, Cunningham shouldered most of the Louisville offense.
Notre Dame: The Irish marched up and down the field on three of their four first-half drives, totaling 42 plays and 219 yards and taking 20 minutes off the clock. On their third drive just before half, holder Jay Bramblett came up 2 yards short on a faked field-goal attempt at the Louisville 6.
A week after rushing for 353 yards in a 42-26 victory over Florida State, No. 4 Irish could take a tumble after their lowest offensive output of the season.
Louisville: Cardinals home to play Florida State Saturday.
Notre Dame: Irish on road for first time at Pittsburgh on Saturday.
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