Asmar Bilal waited until his fourth year to start a college football game for Notre Dame, and he was even “a little better” than his coach expected.
The senior out of Ben Davis – he has a 2019 season of eligibility, too – plays the rover position in the Fighting Irish defensive scheme. Bilal was credited with four tackles Saturday night in No. 11 Notre Dame’s 24-17 victory over No. 14 Michigan.
“He missed a sack. There’s some things we have to clean up there,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Sunday. “But all in all, he played pretty good. Made some plays that we need him to make.
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“He played physical, played fast. So I think the arrow trends up for me in terms of what we can get out of that position, in particular what he can do for us.”
Kelly said the opener would allow the Irish to evaluate Bilal and improve his “vision” as plays develop.
Bilal was a four-star recruit and a MaxPreps second-team All-America linebacker out of high school. His athleticism was evidenced by the fact he high jumped 6 feet, 5 inches, and threw the discus in track and field.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly addresses the media following the Irish’s big win over Michigan.
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Defensive lineman out
Defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa broke his foot and is to undergo surgery Monday, Kelly announced. Tagovailoa-Amosa might return for games in late November.
Under new NCAA redshirt rules, he could play up to three additional games and not use up an entire season of eligibility. Under the old rule, Tagovailoa-Amosa could not have played another down without sacrificing the season.
The injury moves freshman Jayson Ademilola into a second-team slot in a group that features depth and whose players are often used interchangeably.
“We have a lot of confidence in Jayson. He’s ready to play really good football for us,” Kelly said.
Notre Dame had no other injuries that would keep players out when practice resumes Tuesday, Kelly said. Offensive lineman Robert Hainsey was out for part of Saturday’s game to receive intravenous fluids.
The Irish QB led Notre Dame to a big win over the Wolverines on Saturday night.
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Keeping an open Book
After the Irish scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions, their last seven resulted in one field goal, one interception and five punts. The field goal came after Brandon Wimbush’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Miles Boykin was called back by penalty.
“We wish we could have executed a little bit better in the second half, but we were playing a really good defense,” Kelly said.
He said the Irish would continue to use backup quarterback Ian Book regularly and that they have a package specifically designed for him.
“We want to keep him involved in the game,” Kelly said. “Brandon is going to run the ball a lot this year. He’s going to need a blow here and there. That’s why it’s important we have those packages in there so he’s always feeling the football in some fashion, getting him in the game, keeping him ready.”
Michigan/Notre Dame received a 4.51 overnight rating, tied for the best NBC rating for Notre Dame football in 12 years, the network announced. That tied the 2006 Notre Dame/Michigan game. It was also the best overnight rating for any college football game Saturday. . . . Khalid Kareem was chosen Walter Camp Football Foundation national defensive player of the week. . . . Michigan’s touchdown with 2:18 left was its first offensive TD at Notre Dame Stadium in 178 minutes, a span dating to the fourth quarter of a 2010 meeting.
Email IndyStar reporter David Woods at [email protected] or call (317) 444-6195. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.