Notre Dame christens new football stadium improvements with 49-16 win

(Photo supplied/University of Notre Dame)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Brandon Wimbush, a junior making his first career start, threw for two touchdowns and ran for 106 yards and another touchdown to lead Notre Dame to a 49-16 season-opening victory over Temple on Saturday.

Wimbush threw touchdown passes to Equanimeous St. Brown and Nic Weisher and completed 17 of 30 passes for 184 yards with one interception.

Josh Adams scored the quickest opening-season touchdown for Notre Dame in 24 years and rushed for 112 yards in the first quarter alone to get the Irish started. Adams finished with 161 yards rushing on 19 carries and Dexter Williams added 124 yards rushing on six carries.

Temple, the defending American Athletic Conference champion, didn’t score a touchdown until Logan Marchi connected with Keith Kirkwood in the end zone to cut the score to 28-10 with six minutes left in the first half. Marchi threw another touchdown pass to Brodrick Yancy in the fourth quarter.

Notre Dame, coming off a disappointing 4-8 season, wasted no time taking control. Adams scored on a 37-yard run 33 seconds into the game, the fastest touchdown to open a season for the Irish since linebacker Pete Bercich returned an interception 21 yards on the opening play against Northwestern in 1993. It was the quickest offensive touchdown for the Irish to open a season since at least 1963.

The score on the second play of the game was set up by a 33-yard pass from Wimbush to St. Brown. Adams also had a 60-yard run to set up Notre Dame’s third touchdown, a 12-yard pass by Wimbush to Weisher.

Adams reached the 100-yard mark in six carries, matching his career best. He also needed six runs to pass that mark against Wake Forest in 2015. Six of Adams’ 12 career rushing touchdowns have been for 35 or more yards.

The Irish, with four returning starts on the offensive line, rushed for 422 yards. It was the most yards rushing for Notre Dame since running for 457 in a 62-27 win over Massachusetts in 2015. The Irish finished with 606 yards total offense to 330 for Temple.

First-year Temple coach Geoff Collins had indicated he might use as many as three quarterbacks, but stuck with Marchi, who was 19-of-35 passing for 245 yards.


Temple: It was an inauspicious start for Temple under Collins, the defensive coordinator at Florida the past two seasons. The Owls struggled offensively and defensively and had several costly penalties. It was a disappointing start after posting back-to-back 10-4 seasons under coach Matt Rhule, now coaching at Baylor.

Notre Dame: The Irish looked better in their opener than they did at any time last season, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. The Irish offense went dormant after jumping to a 28-3 lead early in the second quarter until Tony Jones Jr. scored on a 7-yard run with 1:22 left in the third quarter. Justin Yoon missed a pair of long field-goal attempts. He missed four attempts all last season.


Temple: The Owls face crosstown rival Villanova at Lincoln Financial Field, the first meeting between the two Philadelphia schools since Temple beat the Wildcats 41-10 in 2012. The series is tied 15-15-2.

Notre Dame: The Irish host No. 15 Georgia, only the second meeting between the two schools. In the first meeting, the top-ranked Bulldogs beat No. 7 Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl to win the 1980 national championship.

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