The Irish took the opening kickoff and marched right down the field to the edge of the USF end zone. But on third and goal, Jonas Gray was stacked up on a sweep and had the ball ripped out of his hands. Kayvon Webster picked up the fumble and ran 96 yards for a touchdown and a stunning 7-0 Bulls lead. It was the longest defensive play from scrimmage in school history.
After stopping Notre Dame and getting a bad punt from Ben Turk, USF moved 41 yards in eight plays and just nosed into field goal range. Maikon Bonani hit a 49-yard field goal to extend the Bulls’ lead to 10-0. Then following a three-and-out, Terrence Mitchell returned Tate’s second punt 34 yards into Notre Dame territory. A run by Lindsey Lamar and two consecutive face mask penalties put the ball inside the 10. But the Bulls were unable to punch it in from close range and settled for another Bonani field goal to make the score 13-0.
The Irish are threatening to score early in the second quarter and have not been struggling to move the ball. Despite the early lead, there’s a lot of football left.