It might not have won Notre Dame many style points, but a win is a win and right now the Irish sit at 2-0 for the first time in 3 seasons. This week’s edition of Shamrock Stickers takes a look at who was responsible for getting the Irish off to such a start for the first time in the Brian Kelly Era.
Louis Nix was a monster in Notre Dame’s 20-17 win over in-state rival Purdue. Nix ate up space in the middle all day and was a nightmare for the Boilermakers offensive line. Nix registered four tackles and 1.5 sacks, as well as two key pass deflections. If Nix continues to play this way he will become a staple amongst the players of the week for the Irish.
Simply put Tyler Eifert is without a shadow of a doubt the best tight-end in college football. Eifert recorded four catches for 98 yards versus Purdue and was the victim of numerous holding and interference penalties by the Purdue secondary. Eifert is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses in the passing game with his size, speed and great hands, but that’s not all, as he is doing the little things such as blocking in the run game, which he did brilliantly against the Boilermakers.
Everett Golson and Tommy Rees
Everett Golson made his first career home start and got the job done with a win. Golson went 21-31 passing for 289 yards and a touchdown, the redshirt freshman quarterback also rushed for a touchdown and kept countless plays alive with his feet. However, Golson had a costly fumble that allowed Purdue to tie the game at 17 a piece with just over two minutes remaining. On the following drive Brian Kelly elected to play the much maligned Tommy Rees in place of Golson who was limited by pain in his throwing hand that caused him difficulty to grip the ball. Rees led the Irish down the field on a beautiful two minute drill culminated by Kyle Brindza’s game winning field goal. Rees perfectly symbolized the Irish’s “Next man in” motto while leading the Irish to a victory.
Another much maligned player that stepped up for the Irish was punter Ben Turk. In a close game field position is crucial, and the Irish have lost games in the recent past as a result of troubles with the kicking game. Turk kept the Irish even or ahead of the Boilermakers in the field position battle and never put the Irish defense behind the eight-ball with a poor punt. Turk averaged 43.6 yards per punt and pinned Purdue inside the 20 yard line on one occasion.
With each passing game Stephon Tuitt is making the loss of Aaron Lynch hurt less and less. Tuitt is only a sophomore and already appears to be too much to handle for most offensive lineman as he registered another four tackles, two sacks, and two quarterback hurries to add to his season totals. It remains to be seen if Tuitt can keep his spectacular play up against higher quality competition, but he shows no signs of slowing down.