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Author Archives: Pierce O'Leary

Notre Dame v. Navy ’15: Key Matchups

Jaylon Smith - Notre Dame LB

Notre Dame will look to rebound from its first loss of the season when the Navy Midshipmen travel to South Bend this Saturday. The Irish will need to be ready for Navy’s triple option offense, which they run with excellent efficiency. Notre Dame did an excellent job defending the triple option earlier this season defeating Georgia Tech and could put an end to questions about their ability to defend it with another strong performance this weekend. Despite the talent discrepancy Navy will certainly give the Irish a battle as they always play a full 60 minutes. The following matchups are ...

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Notre Dame v. Clemson – Shamrock Stickers

Deshone Kizer - Notre Dame QB v. Clemson

  Notre Dame saw its dreams of an undefeated season fall apart in Death Valley on Saturday night, falling to Clemson 24-22. The Irish turned the ball over four times, had many costly dropped passes and were handicapped by perplexing play-calling, which combined to cost them the game. The Irish offensive line was also exposed as they could not open up holes for C.J. Prosise until late in the second half. Brian Kelly and the coaching staff also failed to make adjustments offensively, rarely passing on first down to create space despite consistently being stuffed on first down runs. The ...

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Durham Smythe, Ready to Step Out of the Shadows

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the graduation of Ben Koyack the Irish are looking for a new number one tight-end, and Durham Smythe is looking to be that man. Smythe was a member of Notre Dame’s elite 2013 recruiting class and had offers from many elite programs including Oregon, Georgia, Texas and Florida but chose tight-end U. The Texas native did not play in the 2013 season as he sat behind Troy Niklas and Koyack but saw action in all 13 games this past season primarily in a blocking role as he caught only one pass for seven yards. Smythe has cemented himself above ...

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Notre Dame v. LSU – Music City Bowl Match Ups

Will Fuller - Notre Dame WR

Notre Dame had a disappointing end to the regular season but can end the year on a good note with a victory over LSU.  The Irish lost their last four games and five of their last six after starting the season 6-0.  The Notre Dame program has a lot of questions to answer at the Music City Bowl, from who will be the quarterback moving forward to how to improve a subpar defense.  The Irish will need to greatly improve their play in order to beat a quality SEC team like LSU, who possess a massive offensive line and running ...

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Notre Dame v. USC ’14 – Shamrock Stickers

Greg Bryant - Notre Dame RB v. USC

Notre Dame’s regular season came to a brutal end as they were flattened 49-14 by arch-rival USC.  The Irish were never in the game as the Trojans jumped out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter and didn’t let their foot off the gas.  The Trojans were able to do whatever they wanted against the injury riddled Irish defense, throwing over the top of the defense with ease and running the ball with success.  Notre Dame’s offense continued its subpar play which led to Malik Zaire getting an opportunity to show what he can do.  The following players stood ...

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Notre Dame v. USC ’14 – Key Matchups

Tarean Folston - Notre Dame RB vs. Louisville

Notre Dame will look to avoid losing its fourth straight game when they travel to California to take on arch-rival USC.  The second half of the season has been riddled with mistakes, poor decisions and injuries which have led to a vastly different opinion on the Irish than that of six weeks ago.  The Trojans will test the Irish defense as they have many athletes and a talented quarterback capable of putting up big numbers.  Irish signal-caller Everett Golson will also need to get back to his early season form for the Irish to succeed as the Trojans possess little ...

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Notre Dame v. Louisville ’14 – Shamrock Stickers

Will Fuller - Notre Dame v. Louisville

Notre Dame lost its third game in a row and fourth of its last five falling 31-28 to Louisville on senior day.  The Irish were marred by sloppy play yet again with offense, defense and special teams making critical mistakes.  The decision to play Austin Collinsworth and Drue Tranquill ahead of Max Redfield and Elijah Shumate continues to cost the Irish along with injuries that showcase the lack of quality depth and youth of the defense.  The following players stood out in defeat for the Irish: Will Fuller:  Irish receiver Will Fuller has been the most consistent performer for the ...

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Notre Dame v. Louisville ’14 – Key Matchups

Cole Luke - Notre Dame CB v. Northwestern

Notre Dame will look to bounce back from an awful home loss to Northwestern last week when Louisville comes to South Bend. The Irish will have to get back to what made them successful early in the season, which is limiting turnovers and getting stops on defense starting with shutting down the run to have any success down the stretch. It’s also imperative that Brian Kelly puts together a better game plan or a very capable and aggressive Louisville team could hand the Irish their third straight loss. The following are the matchups the Irish must control to get back ...

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Notre Dame v. Northwestern – Shamrock Stickers

Will Fuller - Notre Dame WR vs. Northwestern

Notre Dame put forth another embarrassing effort in a loss to 17 point underdog Northwestern.  The Irish have now lost back to back games and have a litany of problems from turnovers to a defense that can’t get stops.  Brian Kelly also coached an atrocious game from benching Max Redfield, a decision to go for two that could have cost the Irish the game, to playing Cam McDaniel in a critical situation when Tarean Folston has proven to not have a ball security problem.  Notre Dame looked soft and looked as if they didn’t want to win anywhere close to ...

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Notre Dame v. Northwestern ’14 – Key Matchups

Jaylon Smith - Notre Dame LB vs ASU

The Irish will look to bounce back from a devastating loss to Arizona State this week when they host the struggling Northwestern Wildcats.  Notre Dame should be able to have a solid effort defensively as the Wildcats rank last nationally with just three 30 plus yards plays all season and rank second last nationally in yards per play.  As always the emphasis for Everett Golson and the Irish offense will be to eliminate turnovers from their game.  If the Irish play a clean game they should get back on track as they possess advantages in virtually every facet of the ...

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Notre Dame v. Arizona State – Shamrock Stickers

Cam McDaniel - Notre Dame RB TD vs. ASU

The Irish saw their national championship hopes go up in flames as they lost 55-31 to Arizona State.  Notre Dame was overwhelmed by the Sun Devils blitz which led to five Irish turnovers and 28 points for Arizona State.  Everett Golson struggled mightily as he was under pressure most times he dropped back to pass because the Irish offensive line was absolutely dominated.  The Irish also took far too long to adjust to the Sun Devils blitzes as even when they started to experience success by attacking the middle of the field, utilizing screens and moving the pocket the hole ...

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Notre Dame v. Arizona State ’14 – Key Matchups

Nyles Morgan - Notre Dame LB

The Irish will face another tough road test this week when they travel to Tempe to tangle with Arizona State.  The Sun Devils are slight favorites over the Irish but Notre Dame possesses all the tools to get the win and move to 8-1 on the season.  With Joe Schmidt now out for the season with an ankle injury the Irish will need a big game from freshman Nyles Morgan as the Arizona State offense is high-powered.  The Irish will also need to stay mistake free as turnovers will cost them against a team the caliber of Arizona State.  The ...

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Notre Dame – Navy ’14 Shamrock Stickers

Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson (5) throws in the first quarter against the Navy Midshipmen at FedEx Field. (Photo: Matt Cashore - USA TODAY Sports)

The Irish held on after squandering a big lead to defeat Navy 49-39 and move to 7-1 on the season.  After opening up a 28-7 lead and being able to do virtually whatever they wanted to do on offense the Irish struggled and allowed Navy to score 24 unanswered points to take a 31-28 lead before the Irish took control again.  Notre Dame struggled with the Midshipmen’s option attack, especially after leading-tackler Joe Schmidt went down with injury.  The Notre Dame offense bailed the defense out however, by racking up over 500 yards of total offense on root to a ...

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