SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Ian Book threw five touchdown passes and had only four incomplete passes in a little more than two quarters of work as No. 9 Notre Dame rolled over Bowling Green 52-0 on Saturday.
The Fighting Irish (4-1) had their way with the Falcons, a first-time opponent from the Mid-American Conference whose campus is just 164 miles away. The winning margin matched Notre Dame’s winning difference in a 66-14 victory over New Mexico earlier this season and was Notre Dame’s first shutout since 2014.
“I thought Ian did a nice job,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “Obviously a lot of good things happened as we had an opportunity to do things against an undermanned Bowling Green team today.”
The Irish had 573 total yards, with senior Tony Jones Jr. rushing over 100 for the third time this season. Jones had 102 yards on seven carries. Notre Dame limited the Falcons (1-4) to 228 yards.
Book, who matched his previous high of five touchdown passes against New Mexico last month, completed 16 of 20 for 261 yards before giving way to backup Phil Jurkovec at the 4:11 mark of the third quarter. Jurkovec, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, added a TD pass in the third quarter, a 7-yarder to Avery Davis.
“I am definitely happy with the performance this week,” Book said after not throwing a touchdown pass last week in Notre Dame’s 35-20 victory over Virginia. “We wanted to go out there and put up some points and have an attention to details.”
After going three-and-out on their first possession, the Irish drove 80 yards in six plays and 1:58, culminating with Book’s 17-yard scoring pass to Tommy Tremble. Scoring passes to Cole Kmet (21 yards) and Chase Claypool (34 yards) made it 21-0 after the first quarter. Book then hit Claypool (8 yards) and Javon McKinley (25 yards) with scoring passes in the second quarter for a 35-0 halftime lead.
Meanwhile, the Irish defense, which had eight sacks and produced five turnovers in a 35-20 victory over Virginia last week, earned its first shutout since a 31-0 blanking of Michigan. The Irish managed two sacks and one takeaway but had seven quarterback hurries of Bowling Green’s two quarterbacks.
“I think there’s not a hole on their defense,” Falcons coach Scot Loeffler said. “They’ll be a top-five team. They’re a great football team in my opinion.”
Grant Loy completed 13 of 25 passes for 106 yards and Quintin Morris had 10 receptions for 92 yards for the Falcons.
Bowling Green: The rebuilding Falcons, who came into the game being outscored 149-27 in losses to Kansas State (52-0), Louisiana Tech (35-7) and Kent State (62-20), managed 136 yards in the first half on seven drives, the first three of which were three-and-outs. They had a 14-play drive that reached the Irish 22. But QB Grant Loy was called for intentional grounding and a loss of 21 yards when pressured by Julian Okwara.
Notre Dame: The Irish offense was hardly tested against the Falcons’ defense coordinated by Brian VanGorder, who spent 2¼ years as Brian Kelly’s defensive coordinator at Notre Dame from 2014-16. The Irish had 339 of their yards by halftime.
Notre Dame: The ninth-ranked Irish, who moved up a spot in last week’s poll, probably will remain there after entering the game as 45½ -point favorites and leading 35-0 at halftime.
Bowling Green: The Falcons entertain MAC rival and I-75 neighbor Toledo.
Notre Dame: Irish play host to long-time rival Southern California on Saturday night.