ND men’s football rules out Clemson on the road // The Observer
The Notre Dame men’s football team recorded a huge ACC victory as they upset ninth-placed Clemson by a 2-0 road score on Saturday, October 9. It is the fourth consecutive victory for the Irish (7-4-1, 3-1-1 ACC) and their sixth victory in their last seven games.
Notre Dame was on the defensive for most of the first half, as the Tigers (9-3, 3-2 ACC) outscored the Irish 8-2 ââin the opening 45 minutes. Notre Dame sophomore goalie Bryan Dowd was called in early and often to make big saves, and he’s delivered time and time again. He made a spectacular diving save in the 29th minute to preserve the scoreless tie and was ultimately responsible for the scoring line at half-time.
Everything head coach Chad Riley said at halftime worked. Notre Dame came out as a completely different team offensively, almost scoring in the first minute of the second half action. First-year forward Matthew Roou hit the crossbar just 38 seconds into the second half, but it wouldn’t be the last time the Irish heard from Roou in this game.
Continuing Notre Dame’s recent dominance on set pieces, second-year forward Daniel Russo scored a goal from a corner to open the scoring in the 64th minute. Senior midfielder Mohammed Omar redirected first-year defender Kyle Genebacher’s corner to Russo, and he did the rest.
Just over 20 minutes later, Roou hit the woodwork again, but this time the ball found the back of the net after glancing at the post. The Irish defense were able to consolidate the victory and keep a quality Clemson attack off the scoresheet for the 90 minutes. This ability to close games is something Coach Riley is very happy with.
âWe just cleaned up some details of the game – closing games when we got the lead – I think that was a great thing,â Riley said. “I think it was a pretty natural progression for the team as they took care of certain details a bit better in the last few games.”
The victory was significant for the Irish, placing them tied for third place in the ACC Coastal Division. Notre Dame and Virginia Tech are 3-1-1 in conference, just behind Duke and Pitt, who are 4-1 in the ACC.
Coach Riley told UND he was “[v]very proud of the team tonight. Clemson are a very good team and we did what we needed to do to win and thank the guys they faced at a very high level. We were a little hesitant in the first half but we were solid. In the second half, we came out much more aggressive and got the win away from home.
Notre Dame will look to maintain their four-game winning streak when they host No.13 Pitt at Alumni Stadium on Saturday, October 16. Given that the Irish are just behind the Panthers in the ACC Coastal standings, this will be a huge seed game as the ACC tournament approaches.