Welcome to a new weekly column written by regular contributor Pierce O’Leary. Each week Pierce will dole out stickers to the players of the week for the Irish. At the end of the year we’ll look back at who has found their names among those recognized each week.
Theo Riddick – 19 carries, 107 yards, 2 TDs
Theo Riddick did a fine job filling in as the number one running back in the absence of the suspended Cierre Wood. Riddick rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Riddick looked much more comfortable back at his natural position of running back and will be looked towards to carry the brunt of the load again versus Purdue as Cierre Wood serves the last game of his suspension.
The Offensive Line – 46 rushing attempts, 293 yards, 1 sack allowed
The Irish offensive line was dominant in the season opener. The game plan was for the Irish to capitalize on their size and strength advantage up front, and they did just that. Notre Dame rushed for 293 yards and five touchdowns behind their offensive line that routinely pushed the Navy front back allowing the Irish runners to often make it to the second level untouched. Anytime a team rushes for 6.4 yards per carry the offensive line deserves acknowledgment.
The Front Seven – 1 Fumble Recovery TD, 2 sacks
A lot is expected of the Irish front seven this year, and so far they’ve answered the bell. Anytime you play against an option offense the performance of the front seven is paramount. Notre Dame limited a Navy team that is consistently in the top 3 in the FBS in rushing to only 3.7 yards per carry. The Irish also pressured the Navy quarterbacks, sacking them three times. Furthermore the Irish did something they struggled to do last season, force turnovers. The Irish forced four turnovers (three fumbles and one interception), three of which by members of the front seven, and also scored a touchdown on Stephon Tuitt’s 77 yards fumble return.
Manti Te’o – 6 tackles, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery
The undisputed leader of the Irish defense, senior Manti Te’o had a game to remember. Te’o recorded six tackles, not particularly noteworthy for him, but he also recorded his first interception and fumble recovery in his esteemed Notre Dame career.