No. 14 Notre Dame won a Citrus Bowl and may have earned itself a quarterback controversy this offseason for the effort.The Irish beat No. 17 LSU 21-17 in dramatic fashion, and a quarterback change at halftime sparked the turnaround.
As he had all season long, Brandon Wimbush started the game for Notre Dame but was largely ineffective during the first half. He completed only 3-of-8 passes for 52 yards, and though he had 38 yards rushing on only four carries, 31 of those yards came on one carry. As a result, the Irish offense had only three points and 154 yards in the first half. Ian Book, who appeared in spots during the first half, opened the second half as the starter and Wimbush never saw the field again.
Book finished the game 14-for-19 passing for 164 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 36 yards and just seemed to put the Irish offense in a better position to succeed. Of course, Book also received plenty of help, especially from Miles Boykin. The 6-foot-4 receiver only had three catches on the day, but he had the one that counted the most. Notre Dame trailed 17-14 with only two minutes to play following an LSU field goal, but then Book found Boykin along the sideline, and this happened.
Miles Boykin! Ghost of devy's past! pic.twitter.com/AcafE3dIUL— Greg Brandt (@devywarehouse) January 1, 2018
It was a nice ending for a Notre Dame season that put the 2016 season in the rearview. There were plenty of questions about the Irish following a 4-8 season last year, but Notre Dame found itself in the playoff discussion for nearly the entire year before losses to Miami and Stanford in the final three weeks. Getting a win over LSU -- its second straight against the Tigers in bowl games -- to finish the season 10-3 means the Irish will enter 2018 with lofty expectations.
And with the way Book finished the season, they'll be entering the offseason with a QB controversy. It's hard to argue against everything that Wimbush did for Notre Dame this season, but his performance seemed to fade toward the end of the year, and Book became more prevalent. I'm not sure this one game will be enough to earn Book the starting job in 2018, but it's clear that the competition will be wide open this spring and through the summer.
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