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September 28, 1986|VINCE KOWALICK

Notre Dame 27, St. Genevieve 3--Notre Dame's defense converted two blocked punts into 13 points and the Knights went on to post an easy nonleague victory at Birmingham.

Notre Dame (2-1) took a 21-3 halftime lead when linebacker Kevin Houston blocked Alfonso Gutierrez's punt in the end zone and Brian Greenfield fell on the loose ball with 1:46 left in the second quarter.

Quarterback Morgan Shepherd, who completed 9 of 19 passes for 135 yards, opened the scoring by hitting running back Jere Deranja with a 20-yard scoring pass that capped a six-play, 55-yard drive.

After Gutierrez gave St. Genevieve (2-1) its only points with a 35-yard field goal in the second quarter, Notre Dame's defense again came up with a big play. Valiant quarterback Dion Contreras fumbled on the St. Genevieve 18-yard line and Houston recovered. Three plays later, Deranja scored on a two-yard plunge.

In the second half, Notre Dame's defense continued to dominate, sacking Contreras and his replacement, Leo Cortez, four times for minus-24 yards. The Knights limited the Valiants to seven total yards in the second half.

Steve Hamilton came up with the Knights' second blocked punt at the St. Genevieve 12-yard line on the last play of the third quarter. It took Shepherd, who was intercepted three times--twice by linebacker Jack Leighton--two plays to put six more points on the board.

ND--Deranja 20 pass from Shephard (Greenfield kick)

SG--FG Gutierrez 35

ND--Deranja 2 run (Greenfield kick)

ND--Greenfield recovered blocked punt in end zone (Greenfield kick)

ND--Cowles 6 run (kick failed)

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