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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, September 02, 2017 7:20 pm

Notre Dame throttles Temple in season opener

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame offered up a dominant performance Saturday en route to a season-opening victory.

In his first collegiate start, quarterback Brandon Wimbush threw two touchdowns and ran for another, and Josh Adams rushed for 161 yards as the Irish battered Temple 49-16 at Notre Dame Stadium.

Adams ran for a 37-yard TD on the second play from scrimmage, setting the tone for a dizzying first quarter that ended with the Irish ahead 21-3. They never looked back on an afternoon in which coordinators Mike Elko (defense) and Chip Long (offense) made their Notre Dame debut under coach Brian Kelly, who is in his eighth year at the school.

Wimbush completed 17 of 30 passes for 184 yards with one interception. Not counting sacks, DeShone Kizer's successor carried 10 times for 113 yards, including an 8-yard TD run on Notre Dame's third drive. Austin Jones' 36-yard field goal cut the lead to 14-3 before Wimbush hit tight end Nic Weishar for a 12-yard TD with 1:13 left in the first quarter.

The game really got away from the Owls early in the second on Wimbush's 5-yard TD pass to Equanimeous St. Brown, who finished with team highs of four catches for 80 yards.

Playing without No. 1 receiver Ventell Bryant, sidelined by a hamstring injury, the Owls' offense sputtered even though they settled on a single quarterback. First-year coach Geoff Collins had suggested Temple might play as many as four quarterbacks, but sophomore Logan Marchi started and went solo, finishing 19 of 35 for 245 yards.

Temple pulled within 28-10 with 6:09 remaining in the first half on Marchi's 12-yard TD pass to Keith Kirkwood, who beat cornerback Julian Love on the play. Notre Dame's lead returned to 25 on Tony Jones Jr.'s 7-yard TD run late in the third quarter, but the Owls answered with Marchi's 11-yard scoring toss to Brodrick Yancy early in the fourth.

The Irish would have scored more points if not for Justin Yoon missing two field goals, one from 44 yards and another from 47.

Adams had 19 carries for 161 yards and two scores. Backup running back Dexter Williams also went over 100 yards, finishing with 124 and a touchdown on just six attempts.

The Irish are also at home next Saturday to face Georgia.