In 2012 the Irish defense allowed opponents only 3.47 yards per carry(16th best) and only surrendered an average of 105.69 yards per game, which was good for 11th best in the country. What makes these accomplishments even more impressive was the fact that Notre Dame spent the first half of the season dealing with injuries and inexperience in the secondary. The domination on the line of scrimmage during last year’s magical run can be mostly attributed to the front seven, with occasional help from secondary.
The good news for Irish fans is that most of the personnel that were responsible for those impressive numbers are back in 2013. Notre Dame will once again have a powerful cast of performers on the defensive line and in their linebacking corp. With names like Nix, Tuitt, Day, Shembo, Calabrese, and Williams, this year’s defense has the potential to be as good, if not better than their predecessors.
With Irish fans well aware of what their team will hit the field with, we wanted to take a look at what the opponents will be offering up in the way of running attacks, to try and counteract the talent and experience Notre Dame will possess and display on a weekly basis. These are who we consider to be the top five running-backs the Irish will face in 2013, and the talents they bring to the field.
5) Jamaal Williams (BYU)
|Jamaal Williams Career Statistics|
As a true freshman, Williams had three games in which he broke the century mark, if he would have been the starter at the beginning of the year, most likely would have toppled the 1000 yard mark for the year. He had 6 games in which he went over the 100-yard mark for combined yards, and Irish fans might remember him grabbing 7 balls through the air for 46 yards, and rushing for another 64 last year in South Bend. Williams finished the year with 166 carries for 775 yards and 12 touchdowns, the most ever in all 3 categories by a freshman at BYU. While the Cougars may not lean heavily on the running attack, having a talent like Williams in the backfield for the whole year might force a change over in Provo.