EL PASO, Texas – Notre Dame scored early and often, while racking up 448 yards of total offense on its way to a 40-8 victory over Oregon State in the 90th Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl in front of a sold-out crowd on a clear and sunny Friday afternoon in Sun Bowl Stadium.
The announced attendance was 48,223, the most since the 2010 edition when Notre Dame took on Miami (54,021).
The Fighting Irish (10-3) grinded out 236 yards on the ground. Notre Dame improved to 2-0 in the Sun Bowl after its 32-point win, the biggest margin of victory in a bowl game in program history.
The Beavers (8-5) could only muster up 197 yards of total offense and dropped to 2-1 all-time in the Sun Bowl.
Jordan Faison, the C.M. Hendricks MVP, produced a career-high 115 receiving yards on five receptions and a touchdown. It was Faison’s first career 100-yard output, and he finished the season with 322 yards on 19 catches and four touchdowns.
Steven Angeli set career bests in his first career start under center. The freshman established highs in passing yards (212), touchdown passes (three), completions (14) and attempts (18).
Jadarian Price rushed for a game-high and career-best 106 yards on 13 carries (8.2 avg.) and a touchdown. Jeremiyah Love rushed for 39 yards and added a 13-yard receiving score.
The Fighting Irish struck gold first following an Oregon State punt deep into Notre Dame territory. Jayden Thomas reeled in an eight-yard touchdown reception from Angeli. Notre Dame drove the ball 96 yards on 11 plays (6:09). Faison’s career-long 55-yard reception from Angeli (career-long pass) to the OSU 30 helped set up the score.
After another OSU punt, Notre Dame started at its own 20 before moving the ball down into Beaver territory. On third-and-5 from the OSU 19, Melvin Jordan IV recorded his first career sack, as the redshirt freshman linebacker took Angeli down for a 13-yard loss. ND’s Spencer Shrader, looking to extend the lead, missed on a 50-yard attempt at the 12:02 mark in the second quarter.
The Beavers, on the ensuing drive, got to their own 44 after a Silas Bolden 12-yard reception. But Javontae Jean-Baptiste caused a bit of havoc, sacking OSU QB Ben Gulbranson for a four-yard loss on the following play. Gulbranson fumbled that ball, but it was recovered by teammate Grant Starck. Two plays later, the Beavers were forced to punt for a third time in the half with 9:44 remaining in the second quarter.
On Oregon State’s fourth possession, the Beavers took over at their own 31 and got the ball to the 49. The Beavers tried a little trickery with a fake punt, but the Fighting Irish weren’t fooled and took over at the OSU 44 with 3:29 left in the half.
The Irish took a 14-0 lead on a Price one-yard score untouched into the end zone with 27 seconds left in the half. Notre Dame drove the ball 44 yards on seven plays, taking 3:02 off the clock. Faison converted a third-and-3 into a first down on a 10-yard reception to the OSU 3.
Oregon State took over at its own 25 with 21 seconds remaining in the half and was looking to get on the scoreboard. Gulbranson connected on a 32-yard pass to Jesiah Irish to the ND 38, however on the next play a holding call nullified big gain and put OSU back to the ND 48.
The half ended on a Gulbranson Hail Mary that was picked off by Benjamin Morrison.
Notre Dame extended the lead to 17-0 coming out of the locker room. Shrader, after missing one in the first quarter, hit a 44-yard field goal at the 9:43 mark of the third. The Irish got into scoring position on a Faison 33-yard reception to the OSU 30.
Following another Oregon State punt, the Fighting Irish jumped out to a 24-0 advantage at the 3:28 mark of the third. Angeli threw his second touchdown pass of the contest, this time to Faison on a 13-yard score. Notre Dame drove the ball 60 yards on eight plays (4:19).
The Beavers were able to get a stop after the Irish, starting at their own 28, took the ball to the OSU 1 early in the fourth quarter. On a fourth-and-2, Sione Lolohea stuffed Gi’Bran Payne on a one-yard rush.
Despite being stopped, the Notre Dame defense came up with a safety to take an 26-0 lead at the 10:55 mark. Isaiah Newell got caught behind the goal line as Joshua Burnham and Drayk Bowen tallied the Sun Bowl’s first safety since the 2013 game (Virginia Tech vs. UCLA).
Notre Dame kept pouring on the points as Angeli threw his third score, a 13-yard pass to Love to make the count 33-0 with 9:08 left in the contest.
Oregon State finally got on the board when Jimmy Valsin III reeled in a 33-yard touchdown reception from Gulbranson with 6:19 left in the game. Tyler Voltin, a 6-foot-4, 372-pound offensive lineman took a direct snap and scored the two-point conversion to make the score 33-8.
The Irish, following a failed on-side kick attempt, made the score 40-8 with 2:45 left in the game when Chase Ketterer scored on a six-yard run. It was Ketterer’s first rush of the season and touchdown of his career.
The game took only 3:04 as a total of six penalties were accepted. The Irish finished 8-of-13 on third-down conversions, while the Beavs were 1-for-9.
Gulbranson finished the day 16-of-27 for 180 yards with a touchdown and interception. Irish led OSU with 56 yards on three receptions. The Beavers only gained two yards rushing.
Oregon State DB Kitan Oladapo tallied a game-high 11 tackles, while linebacker Isaiah Chisom recorded 10 stops. Notre Dame totaled four sacks, while Xavier Watts and Botelho led the Irish with five tackles each.
Notre Dame’s 40 points were the most at the Sun Bowl since NC State’s 52 points in 2017. Oregon State’s 197 yards of total offense was the least by a single team since Pitt tallied 178 in 2008.
Shrader earned the John H. Folmer Trophy, and Botelho won the Jimmy Rodgers Jr. Trophy.
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