Just how far has Brady Quinn come in just a years time? Well, on Saturday Quinn completed 57% of his passes (21 of 37) for 270 yards for 2 touchdowns with no interceptions and that is one of his poorer games of the season. Last year those numbers would have made most Irish fans very happy, but against Syracuse Quinn missed some open receivers and was inconsistent at times. This was far from Quinn’s best as we’ve come to see it this year but in the process he went over 3,000 yards and became the all time leading passer at Notre Dame.
Quinn now has 29 touchdowns on the season and should eclipse the 30 touchdown mark easily next week. He could have hit #30 Saturday, but had one called back and had other chances that got away as well.
Darius Walker went over the 100 yard mark for the 2nd week in a row and is within striking distance of 1,000 yards on the season with 920 yards. Walker ended the day with 123 yards on 26 carries. At times Walker looked quicker than I’ve seen him look all year, but at other times he looked like a back without that extra gear. Walker probably could have busted a couple more big runs with the blocking he was getting, but got tripped up.
Travis Thomas saw his role limited this week with just 3 carries which netted only 4 yards. Walker should top 1,000 yards next week against Stanford, but I keep getting the feeling that James Aldridge is going to give Walker and Thomas a lot of competition this Spring and could see a lot of carries next year if he is as good as advertised.
Jeff Samardzija had a few uncharacteristic drops including one in the end zone in the 2nd half, but still finished the game with 7 catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. He now sits just 1 yard short of 1,000 yards on the season — the first for a Golden Domer since Tom Gatewood in 1970. In fact, there has only been two 1,000 yard receiving seasons in Notre Dame history and with 113 yards from Maurice Stovall next week the Irish could have two this season.
Speaking of Stovall, he had 90 yards and a touchdown as well Saturday and had another leaping touchdown grab for the 3rd week in a row. Matt Shelton came up with his best of the year in his last home game. Shelton caught 3 passes for 62 yards and looked a little more like the receiver he was last year before his injury.
The line paved the way for 134 yards which is decent and allowed just 1 sack of Brady Quinn but had a lot of trouble with the Syracuse blitz early on. A tripping penalty on the line also negated a Maurice Stovall touchdown in the first quarter. Mark Levoir and Dan Stevenson played their final games in Notre Dame stadium and played tough as they have all year long. The line does not seem to have the nasty attitude it had earlier in the season. The Irish should have been able to protect Brady better and open up some more room for the Notre Dame backs.
Derek Landri has really improved this year and with another year under Jappy Oliver, he could have a really big season next year. Landri was quick off the line and ended the game with 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 0.5 sacks, and 2 hurries. Trevor Laws combined with Landri on his