The Irish started their season off on the right foot with a dominating 48-17 victory over Rice. Offensively the Irish showed balance and explosiveness spreading the ball around and displayed the ability to score quickly and put together a long drive. Notre Dame’s defense looked solid in its first showing under new coordinator Brian Van Gorder. The secondary certainly missed captain Austin Collinsworth and number one corner KeiVarae Russell as some miscommunications in the defensive backfield cost the Irish points. The following players were the standouts in the Irish victory:
Everett Golson: For Brian Kelly and Notre Dame it feels good to have Everett Golson back. The Irish quarterback looked like he didn’t miss a beat because of his time off passing for 295 yards and two touchdowns while running for 41 yards and three touchdowns. Golson gave the Irish offense life by making plays with his feet and using his incredible arm strength to make plays downfield. The Irish will need more big plays from Golson next week in their showdown with Michigan.
Greg Bryant: After a frustrating first season at Notre Dame Greg Bryant finally got an opportunity to show what he can do. Bryant showed his combination of speed, power, and explosive cutting ability to lead the Irish in rushing with 71 yards and a touchdown. The Florida native also got the opportunity to return punts and looked good doing it tallying 31 return yards on three punt returns.
Joe Schmidt: Former walk-on Joe Schmidt looked at home in Brian Van Gorder`s defense. Schmidt led the Irish in tackles versus Rice with eight. The California native had numerous hard hits and did an excellent job on his run fits constantly meeting the Rice running backs in the hole. The Irish will need Schmidt`s veteran presence with a great deal of youth and inexperience on defense.
Sheldon Day: Notre Dame`s leader on the defensive line showed exactly why people expect a big season from him. Day tallied six tackles and one tackle for loss versus the Owls. The junior lineman was extremely disruptive in the run game as his motor and quickness allowed him to penetrate the Rice offensive line routinely.