Linebackers, Tommy Rees Critical for Notre Dame vs. BYU

Prince Shembo - Notre Dame @ Air Force
Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Prince Shembo (55) during a game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Air Force Falcons at Falcons Stadium on October 26, 2013 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo: Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)

Notre Dame comes off its bye week at 7-3 without hopes of playing in a BCS game but still with an opportunity to put together a solid season.  The Irish will attempt to send their seniors off right with a victory over fellow independent the BYU Cougars.  BYU comes into the game at 7-3 as well with a potent rushing offense that the Irish will need to be at full force to stop.  The following are the key matchups the Irish must win to get their eighth victory of the season:

Prince Shembo versus Taysom Hill

Prince Shembo will need to put forth an excellent effort on senior day to control dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill.  Shembo has had a decent season but will need another Arizona State like effort to disrupt Hill in the pass game and most importantly contain the Cougars leading rusher from making big plays on the ground.  Hill has 956 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns to go along with his 2379 passing yards and 16 passing touchdowns.  Hill is what makes the Cougars offense go so it is a must that Shembo contain him.

Carlo Calabrese versus Jamaal Williams

Irish leading tackler Carlo Calabrese will face another stiff test this week in running back Jamaal Williams.  Calabrese has been a catalyst for the Irish rush defense all season with his physicality and will need to continue that this week.  Williams is a balanced back with 940 yards rushing and six touchdowns on the season.  Williams is going to get his touches but if Calabrese can contain him it could force BYU to pass the ball which is not a strength for the Cougars.

The Irish running backs versus Uani Unga

The stable of Irish running backs will need a big game versus a very stout and extremely physical Cougars defense.  Atkinson III, Folston, and McDaniel will all need to experience success running both between and outside the tackles for the Irish to move the ball successfully.  The leader of the BYU defense is linebacker Uani Unga.  Unga has a team high 106 tackles, 50 more than any other BYU player as well as two forced fumbles.  Unga is a senior leader and will be more than up for the challenge of containing the Irish running backs if they do not play their best.

Tommy Rees verus Kyle Van Noy

Irish quarterback Tommy Rees can’t afford to play a bad game against a predatory BYU defense.  Rees has been prone to turnovers in key situations and lacks the ability to escape the pass rush which doesn’t bode well against Kyle Van Noy.  Simply put Van Noy is a playmaker.  The outside linebacker has 56 tackles, 15 for loss, four sacks, two interceptions, seven pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.  Van Noy fills up the stat sheet and will have a huge day if Rees does not take care of the football.

You may also like


  1. Yeah I wouldn’t mind seeing MZ play. I don’t have much optimism we are going to prevail with how bad our D is banged up. Probably won’t happen but at this point we don’t have any business in big tier money making bowl. We’re just not that good. I guess anything can happen. I just get pissed seeing a long traditional doormat like Baylor now playing like a freaking monster and we with our long tradition look like the keystone cops at times. It just seems this was the year of great misfortune and substandard play. I am tired of it. There was a post earlier about ref calls, well, I understand where that comes but bottom line, we should have won and/or scored the necessary points. Just an example of substandard play, period.

    Go Irish

    1. Beyond the hyperventilating hypotheticals by duranko, Zaire should start today! Now is the time to prepare for next year! Move the program forward now BK! If Zaire is as good as billed he definitely will not play 4 years at ND. If Golson is better than Zaire, Golson will prove it in 2014. Therefore, Yes, we can afford to burn Zaire’s red shirt today! Do the math, does anyone really think Zaire will sit behind EG quietly to start ONE year for ND? Suuure!

      GoooooooooIrish! Smash BYU!

  2. Lets talk about on take refs. Against Navy; hands to head by a love tap from #7 sets up T.D. instead of punt, a pancake block by tight end of N.D. takes away T.D., a targeting call gets overturned but is still an enforced 15 yard penalty and gives Navy a 1st down instead of 4th and 4 and they go on to score. At Pitt; they throw out Tuitt even though Savage lead ( or targetted) with his head and #7 lead with shoulder, Pit went on to score instead of punting, an interference call was changed after the ref saw that the ball had been tipped, but the flag was thrown right at the play and it set up a T.D. instead of a punt, a strip sack that actually led to a T.D. fumble return as the clown refs did not blow the whistle was taken away and the ball given back to Pitt to punt. Six b_llsh_t calls that had a possible difference of 42 points plus in 2 close games. Combine that with all the injuries and Tommy making his usual bonehead plays and you have disaster. I am giving up and no longer following fixed put skirts on them football.

  3. No more Irish Chocolate!?
    Big Lou, it’s been a pleasure to watch you develop into the elite NG
    and ultimate team player you are.
    May you fully recover. I’ll be cheering for you on Sundays, soon.

    Our best ILB vs. run (Grace) gone, as is a superb OLB (Councell), with
    Ishaq unlikely, and Kona and Day hobbled and, I suspect, doubtful, or at best,
    less than what they normally are,
    as are Jarron and Rochell !
    And that’s not even counting no Hounsell or Springman all season.

    I read we had Day, Nix and Tuitt healthy for about 23 snaps this year!
    The front seven on D for ND
    have been the “walking wounded” like never before.

    Please don’t reply with “Injuries are a part of the game!” This has been like nothing I’ve ever seen
    in the 50 years I’ve been following ND. I’m not making excuses early for this season’s denouement,
    but few teams that don’t score much more than ND also wouldn’t have much of a chance these next two weeks.

    I anticipate full effort, but wounded warriors can only do so much. If ever the “O” can score over 40,
    or at least control the ball and clock enough to keep our D off the field, this is the time!

    Please, Irish, prove me wrong, and forgive my doubting anxiety.

    1. Anxiety is warranted, QB averages almost 6 yds a carry, 1,000 yds on the season,has 8 rushing TDs and 16 passing tds. Has thrown 12 picks so maybe on a crummy weather day that will help us, but those usually come from pressure. Maybe have to take some risk and unleash Jaylon.

  4. How come at USC great back-ups were just great back-ups who, if their talent warranted, went on to the the NFL but somehow we think our unproven young guys are going to bolt for playing time at Toledo or something? NFL success is for the few, I continue to believe that in the game of life an ND degree combined with the notoriety of being on the football team is a game changer. Is Kizer going to bolt before he evens gets on campus if Zaire doesn’t bolt? Based upon his performance against Bama, I will say Golson is at least a top twenty QB we have no idea what Malik is yet.

    1. Yeah, the hell with integrity and fairness only performance matters in life! So now we are definitely USC? Right?

      Nice linguistic contortion though, fxm.

      1. Joe,

        I was being overly sarcastic and/or facetious to make my point. I could not agree with you more! ND has always had a sound moral compass.

        Yet, I realize I could have been a little more gracious in regards to fxm’s viewpoint.

      2. Either/or

        Zaire will stay and wait to compete with Kizer and Barnett to replace Golson


        He will leave.

        Either way, the Irish program will move on. Players leave and qbs leave.

        Kelly makes seven figures because he can deal with adversity and the behavior
        of teenagers. Further, unless you are privy to the conversations between Zaire and Kelly, you have no clue.

        On the second chance for Golson remember this:

        Mark 2:17
        “On hearing this, Jesus said:
        it is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.
        I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

      3. Hahaha! Your so predictable! I thought you were dazed and confused duranko? What was your 1st clue on the obvious? “WE ARE WHO WE ARE!” Like you say: “this ain’t rocket science!” Remember this: you have no clue either pal! With all your uninformed glib swipes, I’m sure your waiting by the phone with bated breath, for NBC to call and hire you as their next ‘NBC (BS GOSSIP) COLOR ANALYST!’ Although you kinda remind me of Chrissey Matthews mentality…Mr. tinckle.

        Amazing? You’re going site scripture to me heretic? How about Teo? How about: “the ten commandments are for childern!” Your pathetic at cherry picking scripture to suit your man-made drivel! Furthermore, I hate to break it to you, your no messiah either! But hey, if you want to continue to be a CoCo Puff tin hat boy, be my guest!

        “Pope Francis warns Against” ‘Adolescent Progressivism’

        In your case, it is waaaaay too late for your recovery!

        GooooooooIrish! Smash BYU!

      4. I don’t think the point is that we are USC, I think it was being a back-up isn’t the end of the world, does not preclude entrance into the NFL, and therefore, go to ND, be an awesome back-up to an awesome qb, if you are NFL caliber you will play there (also see a guy named Brady who had intense competition and did not bolt). The bigger point, get an ND degree and you are set. And finally, if integrity and fairness means Zaire should be QB, then go with it and simply throw Golson off the team. I personally, think he was sufficiently punished.

  5. BYU is excited to be playing ND. Four more games scheduled. ND, like BYU, is principled, a great institution. This will be a fun series.

    Look for a run-first offense from BYU in the cold with a heavy wind. They have 4 good running backs, Williams (you know abou), Paul Lasike (All American from BYU’s NC Rugby team) bruising runner, freshman Algernon Brown, and NCAA leading kick returner, Adam Hine (pronounced Heenay). These guys are punishing runners.

    Hill, you know about, but he’s not only a good runner but has a lot of passing yards. A true dual threat QB, will be in the Heisman conversation next couple of years. Weather will play a factor in his passing game.

    Hoffman just broke all of BYU receiving records. All of BYU receiving records. Nuff said.

    BYU’s defense is not as good as last year but their front seven is very stout and their young corners, particularly Robertson Daniel are pretty good. Their safety Bills is a very hard hitter but they lost a great safety, Sorensen to injury. Van Noy may be the best DE to ever play at BYU. Probably a first-round pick this year.

    They stood up to Wisconsin well, and had they played a cleaner game, could have won it. Ignore the Virginia and Utah losses. Virginia was played in a monsoon and was the first game with a new offense. Utah was game three, a stout defense that stopped Stanford. BYU would crush either of those teams if they were to replay the games.

    I think the weather will be a major factor, cold and windy. Hill is a little off in adverse conditions. So they will run a lot. Hill is not running as much himself as he did earlier. OC Anae doesn’t want him hurt again. But he has break-away speed, so if you miss him, he’s gone.

    This will be a fun, frustrating game for both teams. My pick? Toss up.

    1. Thanks for the balanced congenial preview. I only wish we were both at full strength. But, at this time of the year, that’s asking too much, I guess.

    1. Zaire without question, should be the starter next year by ethical default. If he does not perform then bring in Golson. That’s not going to happen either (my prediction)! Up until Golson was expelled, we were headed for an apples to apples fair competition derby. Now, that dynamic has changed! I’m all for Golson returning just not automatically starting him in lieu of Zaire. In my opinion, there should be no QB derby next year either. Zaire should be named the starter for the new season! Zaire has played by the rules and he should start! BK said: “Golson would have to win the starting position back.” So let Golson win it back during the season behind Zaire. I’m sure the best QB will emerge! Otherwise if Golson starts the new season, I stand by my prediction Zaire will leave and I don’t blame him. Choose wisely BK!

      1. I completely disagree with your belief that you just make Zaire the starter. If EG is admitted he paid for his crime and there should be an open competition for the position. ND is a college football team and you play your best 11. If Golson is the best QB he should play period. If he is not he should be second string. If you were not going to start him than you should have told him to go somewhere else and move on.

      2. We don’t even know if Golson is the best and that is the point. Now, granted Jack, BK’s typical vague statement:

        “Golson will have to win back the starting position!”

        Definately, leaves a lot of wiggle CYA room, but, how is EG going to win back the position? Or is that the usual BK vaporous double speak?

        Just like his infamous: “If your throwing interceptions you won’t be playing!” Like duranko says: “Words matter!”

        By the way, Jack, I understand your position, no worries either! Your entitled to yours too!

        GooooooooIrish! Smash BYU!

      3. I have not problem with your position, if Ziare is better than start him.

        By the way I don’t see them winning their last two games which will send people on this board into a downward spiral. Like it or not we are stuck with BK for at least two more years.

  6. Sad to hear of your injuries. We had several in the Wisconsin game as well. Looking forward to what I hope is a good competitive game. Bring it Irish.

    1. Next we will lose Zaire, he definitely won’t stick around for clip board duty behind Golson. Rest assurded, Golson is now the immediate starter. Once Zaire figures this out he’s gone just like Kiel.

      1. Zaire has given absolutely no indication that he is anywhere near as flighty as Kiel.

        Knowing that, what woud prompt your wild speculation other than unfounded fear?

      2. So how did you arrive to your conclusion of: “Zaire has given absolutely no indication that he is anywhere near as flighty as Kiel.” Did you do an indepth psychological study on Zaire vs Kiel? Or did you not hear rumors of Zaire transfering on this board and others? Further, not to worry, I do not have unfounded neophobic fear concering this matter. Fact, management of the QB’s have yet to come to fruition. Especially, after almost four years under BK’s highly advertised spread offensive system.

      3. JC,

        If you are a good program you lose players. Remember under Lou Dorsey Levens transferred because of no playing time.

      4. Im pretty sure Charlie Fiesinger will be carrying the clipboard his senior year. He’s earned it. Maybe next year we see a true dual threat QB system where Zaire and Golsen split time. haha

      5. Jeff,

        There’s always fast pitch softball to watch! Do you remember the King and his court? It was a miracle if anyone could get even get a foul tip off his underhand (100+ mph) sling shot pitching!
        Vicious if he managed to hit you too!

        GoooooooooIrish! Smash BYU!

      6. JC, Yeah I remember that team. They played an exhibition game in San Luis Obispo, CA. back in the late 80s. I recall there pitcher being pretty much unhittable. Never played against that team but faced a couple pitchers on a team from Salt Lake City/Larry Miller Toyota that were absolutely filthy. Good Times

      1. Son of a b—h! Just another unfavorable thing to happen to this team this year. Not much more to say.

      2. HUGE loss. Stanford and BYU’s running backs just smiled.

        Lou has had a heck of a career and we love him.

  7. A balanced offensive attack will be the key to victory. TR needs to throw half the passess he threw in the Pitt game and he will be fine. Of course leave out the interceptions and fire up the running game. The passion is on the coaching staff, we will have a problem if they don’t rally the players for the final games and act like it. Now that Golson has reapplied and will return and start! I suspect BK knew all along the depth of the commitment by Golson to return, which explains clearly why BK was unwilling to play Zaire this year. Yes indeed, with Golson returning there can be no doubt the depth of his talent, only the sky is the limit for Golson . Perchance, if we are lucky Mom’s rule over money and two of our famous defensive players might return too. Yes, highly unlikely when it comes to money but I reserve the right to wish for the Championship year that hangs in the balance if any.

    GooooooooIrish Smash BYU!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button