Sack-happy No. 10 Notre Dame beats No. 18 Virginia 35-20

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Julian Okwara had three sacks of Notre Dame's eight sacks and caused a fumble that was returned for a touchdown as the 10th-ranked Fighting Irish overcame a halftime deficit to beat No. 18 Virginia 35-20 on Saturday.

The Fighting Irish (3-1), coming off a 23-14 loss at No. 3 Georgia, trailed 17-14 at the break and then had the Cavaliers (4-1) complete a successful onside kick to open the second half. The Notre Dame defense held, setting the tone for the second half.

Jamir Jones started the Irish defensive onslaught in the third quarter when he sacked and stripped Virginia's Bryce Perkins of the football and defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa recovered it in midair before rumbling 48 yards to the Virginia 7.

Tony Jones, who had three touchdowns and a season-high 131 yards on 18 carries, scored two plays later from the 2 to give the Irish a 21-17. They never trailed again.

Later in the quarter, Okwara, who finished with two forced fumbles and fumble recovery, stripped the ball from Perkins and defensive end Adetokunbo Ogundeji recovered and ran 23 yards to put the Irish up 28-17.

Virginia scored first as Perkins, who completed 30 of 43 passes for 334 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, threw a 6-yard TD pass to Joe Reed. But the Irish answered with the next two touchdowns, a 5-yard run by Jones and an 11-yard run by C'Bo Flemister. The second TD came after Okwara stripped and recovered the football after a sack of Perkins near midfield.

Thanks to the sacks, Notre Dame held Virginia to 4 yards rushing. Notre Dame got 165 yards on 17-of-25 passing by Ian Book.

THE TAKEAWAY

Virginia: The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Perkins was spectacular in the first half, with help from Reed. Perkins completed 18 of 22 passes (82 percent) for 235 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He was just 12 of 21 for 99 in the second half with two interceptions as the Irish defensive front dominated.

Notre Dame: Virginia came into the game ranking No. 1 with its 20 quarterback sacks and Notre Dame was 108th with four sacks total, none by their defensive ends. The Irish had eight sacks, 6 ½ by its defensive ends. Khalid Kareem had 2½ and Jones one.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Virginia: The Cavaliers, ranked No. 18 coming in, likely will drop after their first loss of the season.

Notre Dame: The Irish, who fell three spots to No. 10 following their 23-17 loss at No. 3 Georgia next week, should stay about there after a solid defensive effort.

UP NEXT

Virginia: The Cavaliers return to ACC Coastal play Friday, Oct. 11 at Miami.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish entertain Bowling Green Saturday.

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9/28/2019 7:31:36 PM (GMT -4:00)