Notre Dame v. UMass: Shamrock Stickers

CJ Prosise - Notre Dame RB
Photo: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame overcame a sluggish start on Saturday to cruise to an easy 62-27 victory over UMass in the Minutemen’s first ever visit to Notre Dame Stadium for the first ever meeting between the two schools.  The 62 points were the most of the Brian Kelly Era and the most scored by any Notre Dame team since Lou Holtz’s last home game as the head coach of the Irish.  Notre Dame ran the ball for 450 yards with both CJ Prosise and Josh Adams toping the century mark and freshman quarterback Brandon Wimbush nearly joining them in his collegiate debut.

Here are four players who helped pave the way for Notre Dame’s easy victory over UMass on Saturday.

CJ Prosise

Any of Notre Dame’s three remaining healthy running backs could have been considered for the Shamrock Stickers, but CJ Prosise set the tone early and would have had a monster day had the Irish not opened up a huge second half lead sending Prosise to the sideline for safe keeping.  As is, Prosise ran the ball 15 times for 149 yards and reached the endzone two more times this week giving him 6 on the season to go with his 600 rushing yards.  Prosise lived up to his reputation as a homerun hitter with a 57 yard scamper into the endzone to opening the scoring for the Irish.  At this pace, Prosise will run for 1,800 yards and 18 touchdowns which would put his name prominently in the Notre Dame record books.

Tyler Newsome

While Notre Dame got off to a sluggish start and led just 21-20 as Doug Flutie made sure to mention over and over and over again during the telecast, it was Newsome’s leg that helped turn the momentum back in Notre Dame’s favor.  Newsome’s 52 yard boot that was downed at the one set the stage for another one of this week’s Shamrock Stickers recipient’s shining moment.  Up just one point at the time of Newsome’s punt, the Irish defense rose to the occasion and forced a punt that CJ Sanders used to turn the momentum of the game.  Overall, Newsome punted five times with an average of 52.6 yards a punt.  The one knock of Newsome Saturday was that three of his punts did reach the endzone, but he came through in the clutch when needed.

CJ Sanders

Freshman CJ Sanders has looked like a youngster who could take a punt the distance at some point this year through the first three games.  On Saturday he did just that.  After the Irish defense forced a three and out following Newsome’s punt that was downed at the one, Sanders fielded the ensuing punt at midfield with acres of green grass in front of him and knifed through the UMass coverage team and raced into the endzone to put the Irish up 28-20.  Notre Dame never looked back.  Sanders only picked up 13 yards on his other two returns, but his punt return for a touchdown was just the second such return of the Brian Kelly Era and the first true punt return for a touchdown – the other of the Kelly Era came on a blocked punt which Robert Blanton took to the endzone.

Sheldon Day

Sheldon Day might not have had a busy day on the stat sheet, but his presence was felt from the opening whistle until his day ended early with the Irish comfortably in command.  Day had three tackles and one big sack resulting in a loss of 13 yards but the pressure Day applied on a continual basis forced UMass to get rid of the ball quickly and disrupted several designed screens.  Day was almost unblockable on Saturday afternoon as he has been most of the early season thus far.  Day’s sack was his second of the season after he collected just one a year ago and came into the season with only 3.5 for his career.

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17 Comments

  1. I just finished watching-again- The ND-UMass replay (yes, 5 days later, and some I know accuse me of not “having a life!”). Amir Carlisle and Elijah Shumate also deserve shamrock stickers. Amir had a key run and many key receptions when the game was still close. And Shumate was around the ball all day- even when he didn’t make the tackle or break up the pass, he was close enough to force an errant pass or run the ball carrier/receiver into a tackler. And we probably owe Shumate one from last week’s game vs. GT anyway. After all the blame laid on the safeties last November, and @ VA this year, it’s time to give them some well credit these last two weeks.

  2. CJ “The Colonel” Sanders is the most dramatic upgrade at any position I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a joy to watch him play after years of dismal punt returns.

  3. Thanks
    As I said many times it’s the run that gets you home.
    If you can run at will they fold.
    Run to daylight-Vince Lombardi
    Run to glory-bj
    Run like a rocket and you win a national championships-lou holtz

  4. @BJ,
    UMASS had 148 yards of total rushing and 83 yards of that was on one chunk play by Marquis Young. So besides that one fluke/busted play, they didn’t run well at all against us at all. The defensive adjustments wedre made, at halftime.

  5. ND scored 62 (twice as many as scoring “31 and still not being done”)
    but I already hear the empty din reverberating through cyberspace- ‘yah- but vs. UMass!’ along with ‘yah- but their early schedule is easy’ Yada yada!
    And how ND scored was equally impressive.
    Four supposedly not quite yet ready for prime time Frosh, all in HS last season,- namely, Sanders, and Wimbush, and Williams, and Adams, all made take-it-to-the house plays that looked very prime time to me. And versus the strength of UMass’ D’ (running away from their DBs)

    I haven’t seen this many dominant athletes (on both sides of the ball) on one ND team since Blessed Lou the Holtzer left, the last time they scored 62 on the former sacred sod, 20 seasons ago!

    from:espn.go.com, “ND improved to 4-0 for the second straight season, the third time in six seasons
    (and three of the last four)under Kelly, but just the sixth time since NDs last NC in 1988.”
    THat, coupled with this fact . . .”Kelly has had more starting QB travails with attrition/injury the past six years than the football operation did for almost four decades prior.”
    “Credit where credit is due- it’s an old Jewish tradition!” Maximillan Schell (from: Man In A Glass Booth)
    Now if ND can finish to complement it’s regularly starting success under BK, all is well.
    It gets more challenging- but the talent and depth is there like I’ve never seen in the last 20 years.
    When it was 21-20, I felt that here-we-go-again ND football induced nausea too often felt since Lou left.
    6 TDs later, I felt much better.

  6. I love what I am seeing from CJ Prosise. Is it me or is he improving each week? I’m not sure what you call it but he seems to be a very intelligent runner, i.e., he makes good decisions and waits for the play to develop in front of him rather than trying to force his way. When it comes to one-on-one moves he is looking very sharp. He may not break every tackle but it seems like very few can bring him down on the spot. He seems to drag them along for a few extra yards. BTW – it is so cool to see the offensive line come after him and carry him for another 3-4 yards.

    Finally, I tip my hat to Brian Kelly and his staff. Once again they seemed to be prepared for this game – the one that everyone was calling a trap game. His comment at the end of the game was telling. ‘We’ll celebrate this victory for 24 hours and then it’s time to get ready for Clemson.’ Right attitude. You have to win one game at a time.

    Go Irish

  7. Newsome’s punt near the end of the 1st half fueled the momentum shift in this game. Josh Adams is having a heck of a season in the back-up RB role. He didn’t get much attention in recruiting because of his knee injury two years ago. He has rebounded strong from that knee injury.

  8. The schedule isn’t playing as tough as it looked before the kickoff week one against Texas, but the Irish are still moving in the right direction. They’ve already dealt with most of the challenges of a long season in a short amount of time…injuries to key starters, blow-outs, close come-from-behind wins, uptempo offenses, option offense, etc. Next week is the measuring stick. A win or a very close loss and ND is legit. Getting blown out? It could be the beginning of the end of the season.

    I personally think they drop a very close game at Clemson on their way to 10 wins this season. Not ready for the playoffs just yet…

  9. Combined overall record of the four teams Notre Dame has played so far is 4-12. G Tech is clearly not as good as advertised. Virginia, Texas, and UMASS are horrible. As much as I want to believe that the Irish are a legit playoff contender this year I need to see how the next three weeks plays out. Traveling to Clemson will be a tough test for the Irish as the Tigers will be well rested coming off a bye week. A road win next week should solidify the Irish as legit. But then again I thought the Irish were legit last year even after losing to Fla St and we all know how that ended.

  10. Not taking anything away from Will Fuller who has been nothing but exquisite, but, Prosise right now is performing at a level not seen at this position in many, many years as compared to some good WR/TE play ND has had in the last 8 years or so (Golden T, Mike F, Kyle R, Tyler E as some examples). As a fan, it’s exciting to see him play along with Josh A and Dexter W. and delivering big TD runs. It was great seeing Wimbush and his talent is only beginning. It’s unfortunate of the injuries that have occurred, and I tip my hat to the ND staff in bringing in the talent to sustain this at this point. This was a game ND had no business in having it close, should have been a blow out as it ended up occurring. Clemson will be a different. Georgia Tech losing to Duke today makes me wonder if that quality of win from last week gets reduced.

    Go Irish

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