Shamrock Stickers: Michigan ’13

Troy Niklas - Notre Dame TE
Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Troy Niklas (85) dives into the end zone for a touchdown as Michigan Wolverines safety Jarrod Wilson (22) defends in the third quarter at Michigan Stadium. Michigan won 41-30. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Irish were handed their first loss of the season Saturday night 41-30 by the rival Michigan Wolverines.  Notre Dame had opportunities but made far too many mistakes to beat a quality opponent as the offense couldn’t finish off drives and settled for field goals, Tommy Rees turned the ball over, the defense allowed big plays, the secondary took costly pass interference penalties, and the play calling was suspect at times.  The Irish played a poor game and must rebound but the following players did their part against Michigan despite the outcome:

Troy Niklas:  The Irish tight-end looked like the long line of stars at the position before him versus Michigan.  Niklas had six catches for 76 yards and a touchdown, including an excellent effort for the 21 yard score.  Niklas also blocked well for the most part but missed an important block on a screen meant for DaVaris Daniels on a critical third down.  Niklas was a problem for the Michigan linebackers and could’ve been targeted more to improve the offenses success.

T.J. Jones:  Irish captain T.J. Jones had yet another big game as the Irish’s go to receiver.  Jones had nine receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown.  Jones did much of his work after hurting his shoulder, suffering a slight sprain while trying to catch an errant Rees pass.  Jones also had an 18 yard punt return which is a drastic improvement from the usual struggles the Irish experience in the return game.

Kyle Brindza:  Kicker Kyle Brindza had a strong game that likely established him as the undisputed number one kicker.  Brindza was essential as the Irish struggled to finish off drives.  He went 3-3 on field goals from 44, 24, and 40 yards and was effective on kickoffs and punting the ball to give the Irish an advantage in the field position aspect of the game.

Dan Fox:  Irish linebacker Dan Fox led the team in tackles for the second straight game with 10.  Fox also had a tackle for a loss and along with Carlo Calabrese and Jaylon Smith led the way in limiting the damage done by the Michigan running backs.  Fox also did a solid job when charged with shutting down Michigan tight-ends but he and the rest of the front seven struggled mightily to slow down Devin Gardener, which ultimately was the difference.

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  1. Let me preface my comment by first saying ND did not deserve to win thisgame.
    You all know the reasons. However, the referees did not give us a chance
    at the end. The second interference call should be investigated.Michigan
    is the only team that by contract gets there own refs if you want to play
    them. Dont resume the series unless this changes.

  2. I was not excited by the linebacking scheme. The players played hard and didn’t miss too many tackles. But they seemed to be out of position all night and frankly did not help a defensive line that gave a really good effort. Gardner had so much time.

    Kelly and his staff either beat you before the game or they don’t Very little game time adjustment. Or rather, not enough to be noticable.

    Even with a dissapointing game plan, and a sloppy start to the season, the Irish could run the table or come through the season with 10 wins.

    But only if everyone picks up their game, coaches included.

  3. When Dan Fox is your MVP, we know we have MAJOR issues on D. And something tell me Diaco wont be going on too many high profile interviews this off-season. As far as the offense, its just the same old stuff…TR throwing picks. When playing with your second string QB all year long, one honestly cannot expect too much. And it’s only going to get worse. Might as well as start Zaire once he gets back.

  4. Shumate should have been playing as a spy on Gardner all night long. We don’t have the speed at linebacker to contain a running QB. When that’s the case, you make an adjustment and none were made on Diaco’s end. We are back to the defense of old where we just look slow and outmatched.

    I actually thought our offense played alright. The turnover right before the end of the first half was a killer, but other than that, we moved the ball almost all night. You can’t give up 40+ and expect to win.

  5. Why doesn’t Kelly start using a double TE lookand run the ball more? He needs to teach the LB’s containment a d his DE ends how to break down before the hit an elusive QB. The play in the end one by Austin should be reviewed as the proper way to wrap up a QB. I noticed this in the Temple game.

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