UHND Football Friday: Week 2

Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly leads his players onto the field before the game against the Temple Owls at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame won 28-6. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly leads his players onto the field before the game against the Temple Owls at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame won 28-6. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Following last week’s 28-6 win over Temple, Notre Dame announced that they had signed Head Coach Brian Kelly to a five year contract extension. I, like many Notre Dame fans, applauded this move.

Kelly has been every bit as good as advertised since joining the Irish three years ago, compiling a 29-11 record with Irish. Notre Dame has reached a bowl in all three seasons Kelly has been in charge, including their first National Title game appearance in over twenty years.

Coach Kelly has turned Tommy Rees from a wide eyed freshmen to the leader of the Irish offense this season, and also a guy that Kelly leaned on multiple times last season to close out games in the fourth quarter as part of Notre Dame’s perfect regular season. He turned Everett Golson’s arm from a liability at the beginning of 2012 to the focal point of the offensive gameplan in the National Title game just four months later. Add his elite recruiting skills into the mix, and it’s easy to be impressed by Kelly’s accomplishments with the Irish thus far on the football field.

Perhaps even more impressive has been Kelly’s ability to keep his squad focused. Although his first two seasons did not start as well as expected, he still kept his players motivated enough to finish the campaigns strong. He has also kept the program running smoothly in light of some disciplinary issues with his players. Tommy Rees, Carlo Calabrese, and Michael Floyd all ran into some issues during Kelly’s time with the Irish. However, all of these incidents were nipped in the bud and never truly became a distraction because of the way Kelly handled things. He never let the players run wild throughout campus getting into trouble; but he also never cracked the whip and overreacted to these issues, robbing players of a second chance. Kelly found a happy medium in dealing with these things; something much easier said than done.

I realize you’ve probably heard this before; but I really think Notre Dame has found its’ man this time. While the same thing was said about Tyrone Willingham, it was a rushed judgment based on eight games that his defense won for him. The same was also said for Charlie Weis, but that was also an overreaction to a hot start and many of us forgot that Weis was still largely inexperienced in the world of college football. Kelly has won everywhere he’s been. He not only knows how to coach; he knows how to build a successful program that is not just a flash in the pan, but a perennial BCS contender. This program is already in much better shape than it was three years ago when Kelly signed on, and I’m sure it will be in great hands for years to come.


Jameis Winston, QB Florida State:

Was near perfect in his first collegiate start, completing 25 of 27 passes for 356 and 4 touchdowns. Also added another touchdown on the ground in Florida State’s 41-13 victory over PITT.

Derek Carr, QB Fresno State:

Completed 52 of 73 passes for 456 yards and 5 touchdowns in a 52-51 victory over Rutgers

Christion Jones, WR Alabama:

Scored on a 72 yard punt return, a 94 yard kickoff return, and a 38 yard touchdown catch in Alabama’s win over Virgina Tech.  


The Irish will travel to Ann Arbor this weekend for one of my favorite games of the year; the Michigan game. Out of all the rivalries Notre Dame has, few deliver on such a consistent basis as this one does. I really can’t recall the last time this game wasn’t close. And it is almost always an exciting contest.  Both teams will come in at 1-0 and ranked. Throw in that “Gameday” will be on campus and it’s under the lights at the Big House, and you have one of the biggest games of the week. Even given the skill level of Central Michigan, the Wolverines looked very good on Saturday with fifty point victory. Devin Gardner looked shaky at times throwing the football, but did tally 3 total touchdowns on the day. Gardner is a duel threat quarterback who could give the Irish problems. Last week against Temple the defense lost contain on Connor Reilly a number of times as the first time starter rushed for 65 yards and extended numerous drives with his legs on third downs. These two are as evenly matched as ever going into this contest, and I still believe the Irish defense we saw last week was not the finished product. I think this game will come down to the Irish forcing Gardner into a few turnovers; which they are certainly capable of. I’ve gone back and forth on this game all week, and I am far from a negative fan who is overreacting to an underwhelming week 1, but when I see two teams that are as evenly matched as these two, I have to give the edge to the team playing at home with a crowed of people who have been drinking since 6am behind them.

Prediction: Michigan 24 Notre Dame 21


#12 Florida @ Miami
Few players impressed more than Miami running back Duke Johnson in the opening week of college football. The Sopohomore rushed for 186 yards and a touchdown in Miami’s opening game win, but now he will face a much stiffer test in Florida’s defense. Because the SEC may be moving to an extended conference schedule in the next few years, this may be the last meeting between the two rivals for a while, so it is fitting that this is the most evenly these two teams have been matched up in quite some time. The Florida defense is outstanding, and they will get numerous defensive players back from suspension for this game. Duke Johnson can carve up Florida Atlantic, but can he have success against one of the SEC’s top defenses? It’s a very intriguing matchup in one of my favorite rivalries in college football, and who knows when we’ll actually see these teams play again?

#6 South Carolina @ #11 Georgia
Georgia had visions of a National Title at this time last week, but now they will be fighting for their lives to avoid an 0-2 start when the Gamecocks come to town. Georgia’s defense full of youngins struggled big time with Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers, and it won’t get much easier this week as Mike Davis and Connor Shaw will come into this game following an impressive home victory over North Carolina. It will be interesting to see how the young Georgia defense responds following a week of the national media telling them how overmatched they looked against elite talent. While the Bulldogs may be inexperienced on the defensive side of the ball, they are very experienced at two of the most important positions there are; Head Coach and Quarterback. I think the desperation factor may be a good thing for this Georgia squad as far as this week goes.


Last week I hit on Bowling Green -4 (34-6 win over Tulsa, pick was posted on Twitter) and Virginia +1 (19-16 win over BYU, pick was posted in last week’s article) This week I have the following:

Illinois +7.5. Hosting Cincinatti.

 Memphis +4.5 over Duke

Many times I will come up with a pick after my weekly article had been posted, in that case I post them on Twitter as well (@TylerDonchez).

Any feedback? Contact me on Twitter (@TylerDonchez) and let me know what you thought of this week’s article. Thank you!

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  1. Rees isn’t the answer and our secondary can’t hang with the talent they’re playing. It’s 2011 all over again. Simple as that.

  2. we obviously miss gholston and can’t be to hard on a back up qb reese. I am still proud that Notre Dame put Education before Athletics and it put these games in perspective. Also Kelly handed the play calling over to the off coord. which is a process and there is a learning curve there that we have to deal with. Notre Dame battle the whole game and we were in till the end.. Proud of ND we could won that game with our BU QB. I would love to see some of the freshmen RB’s # 3 runs hard but didn’t impress much.

  3. “Rees is better than I thought”……HUH? You must not have thought too highly of him from the beginning….give me a break!

  4. Rees is better than I thought.
    D is much worse than I thought.
    Gardner was sensational in 1st half.
    Interference on 2 late was a bad call but you can’t play that bad of D and expect to win on the road. Don’t get caught up on the bad call late.

    I don’t think the sky is falling but they do have some issues to get cleaned up.

  5. I find myself seeing this offense is built for speed and having the fair hair wonder not running it is like running a NASCAR car with a governor on it to slow it. I find myself fretting very annoyed with Golson, who would have given this team the intended offensive look, who let this team down by his poor decision making off the field. I know, I have to get over it. The other thing and I have to acknowledge I have been mistaken, this D is not what I thought it would be. Looks like there may be an issue of on the field leadership.

    Go ND

    1. And Brian Kelly doesn’t make bad decisions “off the field” sorry boys and girls this crap isn’t the way to win ball games you have 4 or 5 very strong very capable backs and a good chance at 2 o lineman to be drafted in the first round run the damn ball just like Georgia and Alabama runs the ball when you are perfectly capable of doing so. Even if bk pulled this crap of a game out of his hind end still they’re not even close to holding their own against uga, bama, Stanford or any other decent teams in the nation um is not even close to a top 10 nd lucky to be top 25 as said preseason they win 8 games nd got owned tonight especially secondary

  6. the visitor has a 10-18 record in the modern series.

    Home field has, in most of the ames, been less significant than the disparity in the teams.

    For what it’s worth, the Irish performed better on the road last year than at home, easily handling solid opponents Michigan State, Oklahoma and Southern Cal. Yet, at home, the Irish struglled against Purdue, Pitt, Stanford and BYU. I think I understand the reasons for that syndrome.

    1. When the lights are on the stars will shine!

      Personally, I am looking forward to this battle. (Isn’t this exactly why we play the game?) I wish I could earhole a skunkbear, again!

      Go IRISH.


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