UVA coaches impressed by Irish QB Book

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- If Notre Dame was an ACC school in football, senior Ian Book would rank as one of the top quarterbacks in the league.

Through three games, Book has completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 828 yards, with eight touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. His 276 passing yards-per-game average and 159.52 passing efficiency would both rank second among ACC quarterbacks, while those eight touchdown passes would rank fourth in the league -- despite playing in one fewer game than most of the conference's quarterbacks.

Book is also second on the Fighting Irish with 145 rushing yards, and tied for the team lead with a pair of touchdown runs. On Saturday in South Bend, Book will lead No. 10 Notre Dame against No. 18 Virginia.

"What doesn't he do well. That's the question," UVA co-defensive coordinator Kelly Poppinga said Wednesday after practice. "Great getting out of the pocket, throwing the ball. Very strong arm. Very instinctive, very athletic. We've got our hands full."

Book took over as Notre Dame's starting quarterback four games into last season. He's gone 11-2 as the starter since -- with the two losses coming against Clemson in last year's College Football Playoff semifinals, and last week at No. 3 Georgia.

In that loss to the Bulldogs, Book went 29-of-47 for 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns and both of his interceptions this season. It was only the third time in 23 career games at Notre Dame that Book was picked off twice.

Book has completed less than 60 percent of his passes in a start just twice -- and the semifinal loss to Clemson was the only time he failed to throw a touchdown pass in a start. He has thrown multiple touchdown passes in 10 of his 13 career starts.

"When you're playing Notre Dame it just jumps out really quickly how well-coached, how well-schooled, not only in fundamentals but decision-making, the majority of the team is," UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall said on Monday. "And so at quarterback, that's what I noticed right off this morning, is how quickly plays, or defenses are diagnosed. How fast the ball is out. How effective, once he pulls it down to run it. And then just the competitive spirit that he has."

Poppinga compared Book to the Cavaliers' quarterback, senior Bryce Perkins -- and hoped the UVA defense's experience of playing against Perkins in practice can help the team on Saturday.

"I don't think it's anything different than what we've seen from Bryce, but Bryce is a handful in practice," Poppinga said. "So I would say it's similar to Bryce in how we've got to defend him."

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