Irish Notch Three ACC Player of the Year Nods
Credit Source: Notre Dame University Athletics
NOTRE DAME, Indiana — Capping off Notre Dame’s first season in a conference, the Irish have claimed three Player of the Year honors from the ACC. Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has been tabbed as ACC Defensive Player of the Year, while running back Kyren Williams earned both Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
The 2020 Butkus Award winner and first-team All-ACC honoree, Owusu-Koramoah is a Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy finalist and is also a semifinalist for the LOTT Impact Trophy. He has totaled 56 tackles in 2020, which ties for the lead among the Irish, also leading the team with 11.0 tackles-for-loss. He has been responsible for forcing multiple turnovers, including an interception, two fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown) and three forced fumbles this season. He has added three PBU.
Against Syracuse, Owusu-Koramoah noted five tackles, 0.5 TFL, one FF, one FR and two pass breakups. He forced a fumble on the opening drive of the first half for his third forced fumble of the season (fifth of his career). He recovered another fumble, forced by the Irish, for his second FR of the season and fourth of his career, which led to a Notre Dame touchdown drive.
His first-career interception came at Pitt, setting up a Notre Dame touchdown drive. In the win over then-No. 1 Clemson, Owusu-Koramoah posted nine tackles (seven solo), 0.5 sack, 2.0 TFL, one forced fumble and the fumble recovery touchdown, which was the first score of his career. Three plays later, he forced a Clemson fumble, which was also recovered by the Irish. For his performance, he was named player of the week for the Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award, and ACC Linebacker of the Week.
Owusu-Koramoah ranks ninth among all FBS players with two fumble recoveries this season. He ranks tied for fifth among all ACC players in forced fumbles (0.3 per game).
A semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, redshirt freshman Kyren Williams has taken college football by storm, reaching the 1,000 rushing yard mark in the regular season finale vs. Syracuse. He currently totals 1,061 yards and 12 touchdowns, adding 27 receptions for 282 yards, in 2020. He has received an ACC weekly honor five times out of ten possible games this season. With the conclusion of conference play, Williams was named second-team All-ACC, and was named honorable mention for the All-Purpose slot.
Williams leads all FBS freshmen in rushing touchdowns (12), total touchdowns (13), and total rushing yards (1,061). Among all FBS players, he tied for 10th in rushing TDs, 12th in total TDs and 11th in rushing yards. In the ACC, Williams ranks fourth in rushing yards per game (96.5), fourth in scoring – TDs (7.1 points/game) and fifth in all-purpose yards per game (122.1).
Of the Top 10 rushers in the ACC, which includes Williams, the Irish have faced six (facing one twice and two in the same game): North Carolina’s Javonte Williams and Michael Carter, Clemson’s Travis Etienne, Duke’s Mataeo Durant, Florida State’s Jordan Travis and Syracuse’s Sean Tucker. Notre Dame’s defense has limited those six Top-10 running backs to an average of 63.0 yards (441 yards total on 94 carries) and just four total touchdowns among the six. Carter, who leads the ACC with 113.2 rushing yards per game, was held to just 57 vs. Notre Dame. By comparison, in those six games, Williams posted at least 100 rushing yards in five, averaging 121.3 yards (728 yards total on 119 carries), with a total of 10 touchdowns.