No. 7 Notre Dame did not have nearly as much trouble in its second game of the season as it did its first, crushing South Florida 52-0. This game was over quickly. The Irish started with the ball and marched down the field for the first of many touchdowns.
The Irish dominated the Bulls in all phases of the game and also took advantage of plenty of mistakes. Let's take a look at the three biggest takeaways from an afternoon snoozer in South Bend.
1. The Irish offense looked a lot better
It wasn't that things were terrible last week during the 27-13 win over Duke, but they weren't crisp. Outside of Kyren Williams, the offense looked like a unit playing its first game of the season after the strangest offseason of all time. That wasn't the case on Saturday.
After starting last week's game with three consecutive three-and-outs, the Irish opened things up with a 25-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage and never looked back. Notre Dame started the day with four straight touchdown drives. The Irish didn't punt for the first time until late in the third quarter, and that was after Ian Book had been pulled for third-string QB Drew Pyne.
Speaking of Book, his final passing line isn't going to garner much attention. He completed 12-of-19 passes for 143 yards. While he didn't make any mistakes and there wasn't much of a need for him to throw often, he did miss some throws. And while he scored three touchdowns with his legs, odds are Brian Kelly and Tommy Rees will continue harping on the little things with him.
The Irish offense finished with 429 total yards, averaging 6.5 per play. Most of the damage was done on the ground, where the team rushed for 281 yards and averaged 6.2 yards per carry.
And, speaking of the Irish run game ...
2. There's a lot of depth at RB
Last week Kyren Williams was the lead horse in the Irish rushing attack, and it looked like Chris Tyree was going to be an excellent complement to him in the run game. This week, the Irish showed that they have a lot of options to turn to.
While Williams rushed for 62 yards on 10 carries, C'Bo Flemister led the team in rushing. He finished with 127 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown. Tyree had 65 rushing yards of his own on eight carries, and while he wasn't nearly as effective, Jafar Armstrong got seven carries and a touchdown as well.
And, as mentioned earlier, Book scored three rushing touchdowns even though he rushed for only nine yards, meaning the Irish had four different players score rushing touchdowns on the day.
3. A lot went wrong for the Bulls
As you'd expect, when a team loses a game 52-0, it wasn't just one thing that went wrong for the Bulls. The offense was mostly ineffective, finishing with 231 yards on 3.7 yards per play. Defensively, as noted above, they couldn't do much to stop the Irish offense. Notre Dame only punted once in the game, and that was with its third-string QB in the game.
And then there were special teams, which was an absolute nightmare for the Bulls. USF punter Trent Schneider began his day with a 20-yard shank, and things only got worse from there. Later in the game, a snap went over his head, and while Schneider was able to get the kick off, it didn't go anywhere. Later, another snap went over Schneider's head, and he once again got to the ball and got a kick off. Unfortunately, this time he wasn't lucky enough to get more than a foot to the ball as the punt was blocked and recovered in the end zone for a Notre Dame touchdown.
I think it's safe to say that South Florida will go home to Tampa and burn the tape. However, if there's a silver lining anywhere to be found, it would be running back Johnny Ford. He reeled off a couple of nice runs and looked like the kind of playmaker this team will need when it gets into conference play.