Irish close out spring with Blue-Gold game

SOUTH BEND, Ind. Spring football came to a close for the Fighting Irish on Saturday in the annual Blue-Gold Game.

Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book completed 16 of 21 passes for a game-high 220 yards and a touchdown. He ran in for a score as well.

"It feels like spring practice is really long and it feels good, even though we are playing ourselves, to put it all together into a game situation and really simulate what it's like here on Saturdays," Book said. "Just proud of the guys. Glad it worked out the way it did. No one came out with any injuries and I think the whole offense was generally having a lot of fun. Smiles on everyone's faces. That's what we wanted to do today."

But the rushing attack was dominated by running back Jafar Armstrong. In his second spring at the position, Armstrong rushed for 85 yards on nine attempts in the Blue-Gold game.

Meanwhile on the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Khalid Kareem led the Irish with three sacks. Safety and Penn high school alum Paul Moala contributed two sacks on the afternoon.

While many may think spring games are a glorified practice, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly says these games really help in a team's development.

"I think they're important because they are different than practices," Kelly said. "A lot of people say there's not a big deal about playing a spring game, it is a big deal. They give you another measuring stick when you are evaluating individuals that haven't played a lot of football and then those guys that are looking to take that next step for you into championship level football. I think there is a lot of those instances today."

Just 154 days until the Irish return to Notre Dame Stadium for an actual football game. The home opener is on Sept. 14 against New Mexico.