The Irish kept their undefeated season alive with a thrilling 17-14 comeback win over Stanford on Saturday. Notre Dame overcame turnovers and sloppiness on offense that had very much to do with the bad weather in South Bend to earn the win. The Irish defense had another excellent performance limiting Stanford’s success on the ground and forcing Kevin Hogan to throw the ball 36 times. The Irish’s young players also made several big plays and showcased the depth the team possesses. The following players led the way for the Irish in the victory:
Cole Luke: Sophomore cornerback Cole Luke played the best game of his Irish career on Saturday. Luke was very aggressive in coverage as Hogan would routinely stare down his receivers. The Arizona native’s aggressiveness resulted in two interceptions and the containment of the Cardinal receivers. Luke also had four tackles, a forced fumble, and a sack in the win.
Jaylon Smith: Linebacker Jaylon Smith is a weekly fixture amongst the players of the game for the Irish and this week is no different. Smith was one of the catalysts in shutting down the Stanford run game, which resulted in the Cardinal often facing third and long which is a big problem for them. Smith had a game-high 14 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss including a drive killing sack late in the first half. Smith was a nightmare for Stanford’s offensive line, routinely penetrating into the backfield and creating havoc.
Chris Brown: Junior wide receiver Chris Brown has started the season slowly but had a solid game versus Stanford. Brown made multiple critical grabs including a touchdown catch in the first half. The junior tallied four catches for a team-high 60 yards and a touchdown while also being a steady blocker.
Ben Koyack: Irish tight-end Ben Koyack made the play of the season so far for Notre Dame to keep the team undefeated. Koyack hauled in a 23 yard touchdown pass from Everett Golson with just over a minute left to give the Irish the lead and the win. The senior also did a solid job of blocking in the run game in what was a physical affair.
MR. GOLSON IS A WINNER. PLAIN AND SIMPLE. HE MADE THE BIG PLAYS WITH THE GAME ON THE LINE. THAT LAST PASS TO KOYACK WAS SQUEEZED INTO A SIX INCH WINDOW. I PREDICT NOW, THAT HE WINS THE HEISMAN NEXT YEAR. THE BIGGEST PROBLEM ON OFFENSE IS PLAY SELECTION. KELLY CALLED RUNNING PLAYS UP THE MIDDLE ON ALMOST EVERY FIRST DOWN PLAY. HE NEEDS TO GET MORE CREATIVE, ESPECIALLY ON FIRST DOWN, NO REVERSES, DRAWS, SCREENS? COACH VAN GORDER IS A GOD SEND. I LOVE HIS AGGRESSIVE STYLE. HE COACHES TO WIN, NO FEAR. HIS PLAYERS SHOW IT. BEAT NORTH CAROLINA, THEN WORRY ABOUT FLORIDA STATE. WHEN THAT GAME COMES, COACH KELLY WILL HAVE TO USE SOME IMAGINATION, SHOW F.S.U. SOME NEW LOOKS. START THE GAME LIKE THE 2002 TEAM, GO DEEP ON THE FIRST PLAY AND TRY TO TAKE THE CROWD OUT OF THE GAME. AS FOR GOLSON’S CRITICS, GET REAL. THIS KID GIVES THE IRISH A CHANCE TO WIN EVERY GAME HE PLAYS. GO IRISH!
@JDMack – agreed on the O-line. Hard to believe those physical specimens haven’t been getting the job done, but I guess it takes more than size (and even strength). Sat very close to the o-line seating at the Syracuse game, and saw the lot of them – they were HUGE all around. But I also the o-line coach CHEW into one of them in the 3rd quarter (I think after a personal foul after an extra point, or something). Are they young? This appears to be, by far, the team’s biggest weakness, and it is frustrating, b/c we clearly have some REAL talent at the RB position (more than we’ve had in the last decade, I’d wager, when factoring in the depth), but they need at least competent blocking, which I don’t think they’re getting.
A lot of fun this weekend and undoubtedly our best win in 2 years. I agree with most of the grades given with the exception of the O-Line … It’s still shaky and we have one more game to get it together for Fla State. I think everyone saw the replays of Hegarty missing blocks, guys shooting both the A&B gaps next to the center and basically him getting physically dominated by the Stanford nose guard. That’s a huge concern and I haven’t heard anyone mention it other than Mayock correctly pointing it out during the game. He damn near got Golson killed on two plays where guys came through untouched. Since I trust Kelly / Hiestand to select our best players it scares me that he’s our best option. How about moving Martin back to center and putting Hanratty at left guard?
Balsey rhymes better
Honorable mention: VanGorder. That all-out blitz on last play put exclamation point on a hard fought D game. Should nickname him “Bull” VanGorder, ala Adm. Bull Halsey. Rumor had it he was “B@lls” Halsey around his men.
Good addition, PatrickM.
It’s also revealing that after taking us into position for three scores the last three drives, EG is not mentioned because of some early errors and a few misfires.
We expect more and more from him, and I suspect we’ll get more and more.
Heck Yes, PatrickM. Totally agree. BVG for Prez, hahahaha.