SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Before the season, Irish defensive end Julian Okwara said his goal for 2019 was to shatter Notre Dame's sack record with 18.5 total sacks. but before Virginia, Okwara only recorded one sack in the team's first three games.
However, against the Hoos, Okwara broke out recording three sacks and forcing two fumbles.
After his performance, Okwara was named College football's Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week.
"I've never performed like that in a game before," Okwara said. "It was definitely exciting to feel like that was like. We had a good overall game for the d-line. It's definitely expected. We hold ourselves to the standard that we have to be the best defensive ends out there and I think that's something we definitely expect from us."
Brian Kelly says the reason Okwara broke out was due to the fact he got back to playing physical football. Kelly thought Okwara was focused more on hitting his sack numbers and not worrying about helping the defense as a whole.
Okwara quickly got back to his old self and is now focused on playing that physical brand of football and it's paying off. Kelly says that's why he is a leader of this football team.
"At this time last year if you mentioned captain I would've maybe publicly snickered at you," Kelly said. "He just did not have any of those traits developed, and he's developed them because he's wanted to put himself in that position. I couldn't be more proud of him."
Okwara and the Fighting Irish take on the Bowling Green Falcons this Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 PM and you can catch the game on WNDU.