Notre Dame vs. Arizona State – Shamrock Stickers

Prince Shembo
Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Prince Shembo (55) in action during the game between the Shamrock Series Arizona State University Sun Devils and the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Notre Dame wins against Arizona State, 37-34. (Photo: Patrick Green / IconSMI)

Notre Dame finally put together an inspired effort in the 2013 season and it resulted in a hard fought 37-34 victory over Arizona State.  The Irish turned up the intensity after leading tackler Jarrett Grace and senior receiver Daniel Smith went down with devastating injuries.  Notre Dame still made mistakes with turnovers and penalties but the offense was clicking as multiple pieces were involved in moving the ball.  The Irish defense also began to look like a big time unit again forcing turnovers and pressuring the quarterback.  The following players were the catalysts in the Irish victory:

Jaylon Smith

True freshman Jaylon Smith played hands down his best game of the season versus the Sun Devils.  Smith was flying around the field making plays and showing the potential everyone talks about.  Smith had a team leading nine tackles, including 1.5 for a loss as well as a forced fumble and pass breakup.  Smith did a good job of containing Taylor Kelly and the Sun Devils outside run game, making two touchdown saving tackles.

Prince Shembo

It had been a slow season for Irish linebacker Prince Shembo until Saturday night when he showed up in a big way.  Shembo simply could not be blocked in the second half causing Taylor Kelly all sorts of headaches as the whole Sun Devils offense was thrown off by his pressure.  Shembo had seven tackles and three sacks in the win and was instrumental in emotionally leading the Irish defense.

T.J. Jones

Irish receiver T.J. Jones put together another great effort in the Irish victory.  As Tommy Rees’s favorite target Jones had a team-high eight receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown.  Jones continued to be reliable when the Irish needed a big play and led a pass-heavy attack in the second half as the run game was struggling.  Jones also had a 27 yard punt return in which he ran through arm tackles and looked explosive.

Kyle Brindza

Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza stepped up after an early missed field goal and was clutch for the Irish.  After shanking a kick in the first quarter Brindza connected on his next three field goals, including a career-long 53 yarder.  Brindza’s field goals came at crucial times as they always kept the Sun Devils just out of reach.  Brindza was also strong on kickoffs, kicking seven touchbacks on eight kicks and averaged over 50 yards per punt to help keep the Irish in control of the field position game.

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  1. Rees was awful again and simply can not consistently make throws when needed. He played better but not much better. He easily could have been picked off three times. He also takes so damn long to get the play called and it leads to procedure penalties and time outs. I agree with another writer above he needs to look for his TEs. On the Td throw to Niklas, he was open right from the snap of the ball and Rees waited until he was covered to throw up a ball that could have been intercepted.

    We will not beat Stanford if Rees doesn’t improve.

    I’m worried about the defense still…they gave up too many points. I do like our tackling. Arizona State is a terrible tackling team!

  2. Toulmin, I think that it’s hard to undo three plus years of mediocrity and incompetence in a couple of weeks. The USC team is soft and dispirited. There’s a lot of toothpaste that spilled out of the tube even since the locker room fight after the pathetic loss to Georgia Tech. I trust you do know why Lane wore shades on that overcast day in El Paso.

    Notwithstanding, I’d guess that Orgeron, even if he has success will not be retained as head coach. There’s baggage there, and he may be okay as an assistant, but he’s not Haden’s cup of tea as the face of SC football, (so I opine!)

  3. USC may6 really play for coach Ed Orgeron. If they excel he will be retained IMO. SC is talented through the air.

  4. We need to use the TE’s much much more especially over the middle. Cam is the best north south runner we have. GAIII needs blinders on his helment so he can only run north south. WE ARE STILL BEATING OURSELVES! Atleast there was some passion moving forward, we will need even more for USC. USC won’t rollover just because ASU wacked them for 62 points.


    1. I suspect we’ll see more and more of the two TE set, an extra blocker at the LOS and now Koyack has finally gotten the chance to show he can catch as well.

      Our predictability limits our effectiveness, and execution becomes easier when the element of surprise is included in the game plan on both sides of the ball.

    2. I agree JC. The mismatch that usually results from Niklas and his DB is huge. I thought Saturday was a true TEAM WIN. I give Rees credit where it is due for bouncing back from the Oklahoma performance. Had the pick six and very nearly had another, which would have changed things alot. But, we got the luck on that telegraphed pass in the flats. The O Line was excellent and the defense held a legit offense in check (2 TDs were garbage).

      TJ and DD are beasts.

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